Country Report: General Last updated: 31/05/23


Felicia Nica

Specific measures until 9 March 2022

IGI-DAI reported the following measures: distribution of sanitary and protection materials, disinfection of premises, isolation of persons detected as testing positively for COVID and their direct contacts, rapid testing and PCR testing, carrying out Covid vaccinations. Before being detained, foreigner nationals were quarantined in spaces specially designated for this purpose.[1] Detainees in Arad and Otopeni receive masks from IGI and CNRR.

Specially designed closed spaces

Before the recast Reception Conditions Directive, Romania only detained foreigners subject to removal. An asylum detention regime was established following the transposition of the Directive, taking the form of a specially designed closed place i.e. locked rooms in each Regional Centre, except Giurgiu.

Detention in a specially designed closed space is ordered in writing, for a period of 30 days, by an order motivated in fact and in law by the designated prosecutor within the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Court of Appeal territorially competent for the area where the Regional Centre is located, upon a motivated request by IGI.[2]

In 2022 in Rădăuţi a woman Russian national was detained in the specially designed closed space for 30 days on national security reasons. The detention order was appealed against and the court decided to maintain the detention order. She was granted refugee status.

In Galati, a Russian national was also detained in this specially designed closed space also due to national security reasons. The order was appealed against and the court rejected the appeal. According to the director of the centre the reasons were communicated to the applicant. He was detained for approximately 20 days. He later withdrew his asylum application and voluntary left Romania to Turkey.

IGI-DAI reported that in 2022 four orders to place asylum seekers in specially designed closed spaces were issued.[3]

Capacity of specially designed closed spaces: 2022
Centre Capacity
Timișoara 15
Şomcuta Mare 15
Rădăuţi 10
Galaţi 30
Bucharest 0
Giurgiu 0
Total 70

Source: IGI-DAI, 22 February 2023.


Public custody centres

The 2015 reform also amended the provisions of the Aliens Ordinance regarding the situation of foreigners who lodge an asylum application from detention. Whereas prior to 2015 the Aliens Ordinance required the release of foreigners from detention as soon as a first application for international protection was lodged, the Aliens Ordinance now prescribes that an asylum seeker is only released when he or she is granted access to the regular procedure in Romania.

The law defines the measure of taking a person into “public custody” as a temporary restriction of the freedom of movement on the territory of Romania, ordered against foreigners in order to accomplish all the necessary steps for removal or transfer under the Dublin Regulation under escort.[4] In practice, however, it constitutes a measure of deprivation of liberty.

There are 2 detention centres, known as Centres for Accommodation of Foreigners Taken into Public Custody (Centrul de Cazare a Străinilorluaţi în Custodie Publică), located in Otopeni, near Bucharest, and Arad, near Timișoara. The centres are managed by IGI and are specially designed for the temporary accommodation of foreigners taken into public custody.[5]

Detention (“public custody”) is ordered in writing by an order, justified in law and in fact by the designated prosecutor within the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Court of Appeal of Bucharest, upon a motivated request by IGI.[6]

In general asylum seekers are not detained. The main categories of asylum seekers detained are those who have applied for asylum from detention and whose application has been assessed in the accelerated procedure.

During 2022, 110 asylum applications were made from public custody centres, 92 in Arad and 18 in Otopeni.[7]

In 2022 a total of 936 foreigners were detained in the public custody centres, compared to 1,327 in 2021, 1,241 in 2020 and 377 in 2019, of whom 589 persons were detained in Otopeni and 446 in Arad.

Arad: During the author’s visit to the Public Custody Centre of Arad on 16 March 2023, there were 32 foreigners, all men, in detention out of whom two were asylum seekers from Pakistan and Guineea. According to the representative of Arad, a total number of 92 asylum applications were made in Arad, out of which 33 were granted access to the regular procedure. In addition, 26 subsequent applications were made, out of which only five were granted access to the regular procedure. The majority of applicants were Turkish nationals. However, the Director of Timișoara Centre reported that 84 asylum applications were made in 2022 in Arad, out of which only 16 were assessed in the regular procedure.

Otopeni: According to the director of the Otopeni Public Custody Centre 589 persons were detained in Otopeni in 2022. The majority of detainees were from India (106) and Pakistan (83). 18 first time asylum applications were made in 2022.[8] No statistics on the number of migrants who lodged a subsequent application were provided, nor the number of asylum seekers who were granted acces to the regular procedure.

The law prescribes a deadline of 3 days for IGI-DAI to assess the asylum application of an applicant who is in detention and to issue a motivated decision.[9] Therefore, in these cases the procedure is rapidly conducted. Asylum seekers cannot prepare for the personal interview, as they have no time to contact an attorney or a legal counsellor in order to be counselled or assisted at the interview.

According to the JRS representative many of the asylum seekers in Arad detention centre were relying on information received from the other detainees, saying that the legal counsellor from Timişoara is not providing legal counselling anymore to asylum seekers in Arad. This was also confirmed by the detainees interviewed by the author. Conversely, the director stated that legal counselling is provided by the legal counsellor from Timişoara, however, he never saw her in the detention centre in 2021, but he stated that he saw her at an interview conducted through videoconference.




[1] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 22 February 2023.

[2] Article 19^7(1) Asylum Act.

[3] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 22 February 2023.

[4] Article 101(1) Aliens Ordinance.

[5] Article 103(3) Aliens Ordinance.

[6] Article 19^14(1) Asylum Act; Article 101(2) Aliens Ordinance.

[7] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 22 February 2023.

[8] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 22 February 2023.

[9] Article 19^15(1) Asylum Act.

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