Place of detention


Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 31/05/23


Felicia Nica

According to the law, asylum seekers may be detained in specially designed closed spaces within the Regional Centres, as well as in public custody centres. Asylum seekers are only detained in prisons if they are convicted of a criminal act or if they are sentenced to imprisonment.


Specially designed closed spaces in Regional Centres

All Regional Centres except Giurgiu contain specially designed closed spaces. In Bucharest, in 2021 there were no such places at the IGI-DAI Tudor Gociu. Rădăuţi has 10 places in closed spaces, Galaţi has 30, Timișoara has 15 and Şomcuta Mare has 15 places located in a closed space in the basement of the building.


Detention (“public custody”) centres

There are two Accommodation Centres for Aliens Taken into Public Custody (Centrul de Cazare a StrăinilorluaţiînCustodiePublică) in Romania with the following capacity:

Capacity of detention centres: 2022
Detention centre Capacity
Otopeni 114
Arad 160
Total 274


Capacity in Arad may be extended to 206 places but only for limited periods.

Capacity in Otopeni can be extended to 132 places.

In 2022, in the Arad centre the highest number of foreigners detained was 156. In Otopeni the highest number of persons was 54.

Asylum seekers placed in public custody centres shall be detained, as far as possible, separately from other categories of foreigners.[1] In practice, this not the case according to the directors of the Arad and Otopeni centres.

Persons who are convicted of crimes are also to be accommodated in separate rooms from other categories of foreigner nationals. Foreigner nationals considered ‘undesirable’[2] are accommodated separately from the others, according to the Directors of Otopeni and Arad. Those who are convicted of crimes are only accommodated separately in Otopeni.


Transit zones

Romania has an airport transit zone in Otopeni Airport in Bucharest, with a capacity of 22 places. Eight people were detained in Otopeni Airport in 2022.[3] According to the Border Police they were held for 36 hours and eight asylum requests were made from airport transit zones.[4]

According to a lawyer appointed as the representative of a foreigner detained at the airport transit zone in Otopeni airport, they had no access to the client. The lawyer declared that she sent a permission request to the Border Police in Otopeni airport and contacted Border Police officers, who afterwards did not answer her calls, she also tried to discuss with the officers in charge in the transit zone without success.   In the 5 hours she spent in the airport she was not granted access to her client detained in the transit zone. The lawyer learned afterwards that it depends on the officer in charge of the shift whether access is granted. The foreigner was returned on the second day after midnight.

In 2022 there were 16 airport transit zones, with a total capacity of 108 places.[5]

Capacity airport transit zones: 2022
Airport No. places
“Henri Coandă” Bucharest 8
Băneasa Bucharest 8
Baia Mare 0
Suceava 3
Iași 8
Bacău 4
Craiova 8
„Delta Dunării” Tulcea 0
Timișoara 14
Arad 6
Oradea 3
Cluj-Napoca 14
Satu Mare 8
Târgu Mureș 6
Sibiu 8
„Mihail Kogălniceanu” Constanța 10

Source: Border Police, 6 April 2023.




[1] Article 19^16(1) Asylum Act.

[2] Article 86(1) Aliens Act defines undesirable foreigner as a foreigner who has carried out, carries out or there are solid indications that he/she intends to carry out activities likely to endanger national security or public order.

[3] Information provided by Border Police, 6 April 2023.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Information provided by the Border Police, 3 March 2021.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation