Detention of vulnerable applicants


Country Report: Detention of vulnerable applicants Last updated: 30/04/21


Felicia Nica with support from JRS Romania Visit Website

Specially designed closed spaces


Asylum detention, i.e. placement in specially designed closed spaces, cannot be ordered against unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, except for cases where the unaccompanied child cannot prove his or her age and, due to serious doubts thereon, IGI-DAI requests an age assessment.[1]

Detention (“public custody”) centres

The Public Custody Centres Regulation explicitly provides that children cannot be detained in these centres, unless they are accompanied by at least one of the parents or their legal representative, who are taken into public custody.[2]

According to the amended Aliens Act, in case the foreigner declares that he or she is a minor and cannot prove his or her age, if there are serious doubts about his minority, he or she will be considered an adult.[3] In this situation, IGI requests an age assessment, with his or her prior consent.[4] As a consequence the child will be treated as an adult and placed in detention pending the age assessment, until his or her age is confirmed.

CNRR reported that in 2020, 35 accompanied children (by a single parent or his or her family) were detained in 2020. JRS was aware of 9 accompanied children detained in Arad.

According to the Directors of Otopeni, 3 single parent families accompanied by 5 underage children were detained in 2020. The families were transferred from Arad in order to return them to their country of origin; they stayed in Otopeni around 2 nights.

In 2020, in Arad, 43 accompanied children were detained for a period between 30 to 60 days. The youngest child was only 3 weeks old, according to the psychologist of Arad. The majority of these children were accompanied by a single parent.

According to the Director of the Public Custody Centre of Arad, a total of 21 single parent families and 2 families were detained in Arad in 2020. Also 34 single women were detained in Arad during the year.

According to IGI-DAI, 31 minors accompanied by both or one of the parents were detained in 2020.[5]

Romanian law does not prohibit detention of other vulnerable asylum seekers. IGI-DAI noted that detention of persons with special needs such as victims of torture or trafficking has not been applied in public custody.[6]

The JRS representative reported that there were vulnerable persons detained in both centres, with medical and psychological issues. They were identified as such by the NGOs. IGI granted tolerated status to those considered by them as vulnerable. The average duration of detention in case of vulnerable persons identified as such by the NGOs was 1-7 months. According to the Director of Otopeni there was a migrant with psychological issues, who was returned to the country of origin within 3 months. Another migrant suffering from diabetes was released within 1 month.

According to the director of Otopeni there were 5 children (from 1- 12-year old) detained in 2020, they were accompanied by their parents.

Save the Children stated that IGI doesn’t officially take children in public custody, but children can be in public custody when they are sent there together with their parents – considering that it is in their best interest not to be separated from their family.




[1]        Article 19^5 Asylum Act, in conjunction with Article 42(2) Asylum Act.

[2]          Article 29 Public Custody Centres Regulation.

[3]          Article 131^1(1) Aliens Act, as amended by Act 247/2018 of 6 November 2018.

[4]          Article 131^1(2) Aliens Act, as amended by Act 247/2018 of 6 November 2018.

[5]        Information provided by IGI-DAI, 16 February 2021.

[6]        Information provided by IGI-DAI, 14 February 2018.

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