Place of detention


Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 31/05/22


Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

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 wereno 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: 2021
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 2021, Arad centre reached the maximum capacity of 206 places for 1, 2 days. According to an employee from Arad 220 persons were detained in the centre at one point. The occupancy rate of the center for the whole year was 73. Extra mattresses were placed in rooms on the floor

The JRS representative reported no problems of overcrowding in Otopeni.

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 and the JRS representative in Otopeni. The director of Arad stated that they try to take this into account, however, in reality it really depends on the availability of places and in practical terms the separation of asylum seekers from the other migrants would be only for a few days, as the asylum procedure in their case is swift and practically it would burdensome.

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.

According to the directors of public custody centres and JRS families are detained separately.


Transit zones

Romania has an airport transit zone in Otopeni Airport in Bucharest, with a capacity of 22 places. Three people were detained in Otopeni during 2017.[3] No information was available for 2018 and 2019.

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 2021 there were 16 airport transit zones, with a total capacity of 101 places.[4]

Capacity airport transit zones: 2020
Airport Refusal of entry Asylum seekers
“Henri Coandă” Bucharest 4 4
Băneasa Bucharest 2 4
Baia Mare 0 0
Suceava 1 2
Iași 2 2
Bacău 3 3
Craiova 4 4
„Delta Dunării” Tulcea 1 1
Timișoara 2 12
Arad 2 4
Oradea 4 4
Cluj-Napoca 4 4
Satu Mare 4 4
Târgu Mureș 2 2
Sibiu 3 3
„Mihail Kogălniceanu” Constanța 4 6
TOTAL 42 59

 Source: Border Police, 2 March 2022.




[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 IGI-DAI, 14 February 2018.

[4] 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 first report
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation