Short overview of the asylum procedure


Country Report: Short overview of the asylum procedure Last updated: 30/11/20


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The right to asylum is enshrined in Article 57(1) of the Constitution of Serbia.[1] The asylum system and procedure stricto sensu, however, are mainly governed by the Act on Asylum and Temporary Protection (“Asylum Act”) that came into force on 3 June 2018.[2] Additionally, relevant are the Foreigners Act[3] and the General Administrative Procedure Act (GAPA),[4] both of which act as legi generali with regards to the Asylum Act in their respective subject matter, as well as the Migration Management Act,[5] which regulates certain issues relevant to the housing and integration of asylum seekers and refugees.

The Asylum Act introduced in 2018 several legislative novelties such as accelerated and border procedures, as well as the “first country of asylum” concept. One of the most significant changes concerned the “safe third country” concept. The Asylum Act foresees that Serbian asylum authorities are obliged to obtain a certain type of guarantees that an asylum seeker, whose claim might be rejected for having passed through a safe third country prior to entering Serbia, will be allowed to access the territory and asylum procedure of that country. Otherwise, their claim must be examined on the merits. However, the effects of these new provisions are yet to be seen.

The procedure for seeking asylum in Serbia is as follows: a foreigner may “express the intention to seek asylum in Serbia” within Serbian territory or at border crossings (including the Nikola Tesla Airport in Belgrade), following which he or she is recorded by the officials of the Ministry of the Interior before whom he or she has expressed the intention and receives a certificate of having done so. The asylum seeker is then expected to go to his or her designated asylum centre, or to notify the Asylum Office should he or she wish to stay at private accommodation.

Upon arrival at the centre or private accommodation, the asylum seeker waits for the Asylum Office to facilitate the lodging of the asylum application and then to issue him or her personal identity documents for asylum seekers. The Asylum Office is under the legal obligation to decide on the application within 3 months of its submission, during which time one or more hearings must be held in order to establish all of the facts and circumstances relevant to rendering a decision. This deadline could be extended to up to 9 months.

It should be added that, Serbia being neither a member of the European Union nor a party to the Dublin Regulation, there is nothing equivalent to a Dublin procedure in the country.


[1] ‘Any foreign national with reasonable fear of prosecution based on his race, gender, language, religion, national origin or association with some other group, political opinions, shall have the right to asylum in the Republic of Serbia,’ ‘Constitution of the Republic of Serbia’, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, no. 83/06, Article 51(1).

[2] Official Gazette no. 24/2018.

[3] Official Gazette no. 24/2018.

[4] Official Gazette no. 18/2016 and 95/2018.

[5] Law on Migration Management of the Republic of Serbia, Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia, no. 107/2012.


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