Duration of detention


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


Felicia Nica

Specially designed closed spaces

According to Article 19^7(1) of the Asylum Act, detention in specially designed closed spaces is ordered for a period of 30 days. IGI may request the territorially competent Court of Appeal to prolong detention for an additional 30-day period.[1] Accordingly, the total period of detention in those spaces may never exceed 60 days.[2]

IGI-DAI has to carry out the examination of the applicant’s identity and establishment of the elements of the asylum claim expeditiously in order to maintain the measure of detention as short as possible. Delays due to the administrative procedures that cannot be imputed to the applicant cannot justify a continuation of detention, except for situations where it is necessary to continue to apply the measure for reasons of national security, without exceeding the 60-day limit.[3]

Detention (“public custody”) centres

Detention in public custody centres is also ordered for an initial period of 30 days[4]and it may not exceed 6 months.[5] However, this period may be extended exceptionally for an additional period no  longer than 12 months, in cases where IGI-DAI is unable to transfer the asylum seeker to the responsible Member State due to delays in obtaining the necessary documentation for the transfer to the respective Member State.[6] Therefore, detention in public custody can last up to 18 months.

Specifically, as regards detention in the Dublin procedure, the Asylum Act recalls that detention ceases if the time limit of six weeks set out in Article 28(3) of the Dublin Regulation is reached.[7]

When asylum seekers lodge an application in detention centres and are assessed under the accelerated procedure, they spend the whole asylum procedure in detention.

The duration of detention in Arad in 2022 was as follows:

Duration of detention – Public Custody Centre Arad: in 2021
Duration Number of persons
> 5 days 10
> 10 days 31
>20 days 46
>30 days 65
> 6 months 61
> 1 year 9
<1 year 0

Source: IGI, Director of Arad Public Custody Centre, 16 March 2023.


A foreigner from Tunisia detained in Otopeni declared during the author’s visit that he had been detained for one year in Arad.

According to the directors of Otopeni the average duration of detention in 2022 was 3-5 months.

According to IGI-DAI, in 2019, the average duration of detention was 1-5 months.[8]  In 2020, IGI-DAI reported an average duration of detention of 264 days.[9] In 2022 IGI-DAI said they had no statistics regarding the average duration of the procedure.[10]

Detention in border and transit zones

Detention upon apprehension cannot exceed 24 hours under the Romanian Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code.[11] According to the ITPF Timişoara persons apprehended were not held for more than 24 hours in Border Police custody.




[1] Article 19^7(3) Asylum Act.

[2] Article 19^7(5) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 19^7(6) Asylum Act.

[4] Article 19^14(1) Asylum Act.

[5] Article 19^14(6) Asylum Act.

[6] Article 19^14(7) Asylum Act.

[7] Article 19^14(10) Asylum Act.

[8] Information provided by IGI-DAI, 20 February 2020.

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

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

[11] Article 23 Romanian Constitution; Article 209 Criminal Procedure Code.

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