Border procedure (border and transit zones)


Country Report: Border procedure (border and transit zones) Last updated: 15/05/23


Nikola Kovačević

The Asylum Act foresees a border procedure which is regulated by Article 41. This provision states that the asylum procedure can be conducted ‘at a border crossing, or in a transit zone of an airport or an inland port’, but only if the applicant is provided with adequate accommodation and subsistence and:

  1. The application can be rejected as unfounded for the grounds set out in the Accelerated Procedure;[1]
  2. The application is a Subsequent Application.[2]

The representatives of the organisations providing legal aid, as well as UNHCR, are guaranteed effective access to border crossings, or transit zones in airports or inland ports in accordance with the state border protection regulations.[3] However, for reasons of national security and public order, an attorney at law or a representative of an organisation providing legal aid could be temporarily restricted access to an asylum seeker.[4] This has not happened in practice so far.

The deadline for the Asylum Office to take a decision is 28 days from the lodging of the asylum application.[5] In case the deadline is not met, the asylum seeker shall be allowed to enter the territory of Serbia in order for the regular procedure to be conducted.[6]

The border procedure foresees different rules for appeals compared to the Regular Procedure: Appeal. The deadline for the appeal to the Asylum Commission is 5 days from the notification of the decision.[7]

The border procedure was not used in the course of 2022 and it is unlikely that this will change in the near future since there are no adequate facilities for that purpose within the transit zone of Nikola Tesla Airport or any other border-crossing point. The planned reconstruction of Belgrade Airport have been finalised but the premises provided still do not meet the criteria for the longer stay.[8]




[1] Ibid, citing Article 38(1)(5) which refers inter alia to Article 40.

[2] Article 41(1) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 41(2) Asylum Act.

[4] Article 41(3) Asylum Act.

[5] Article 41(5) Asylum Act.

[6] Article 41(6) Asylum Act.

[7] Article 41(7) Asylum Act.

[8] The Ombudsman, Представници компаније Belgrade Airport у посети Заштитнику грађана, 16 December 2020, available at:

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