Country Report: General Last updated: 02/05/22


Nikola Kovačević

The possibility of placing asylum seekers under detention in Serbia is prescribed by the Asylum Act. In 2021 the Asylum Office did not resort to such measure. Asylum seekers are detained in long-standing Detention Centre for Foreigners in Padinska Skela. In addition, in 2021, a new centre was opened in Dimitrovgrad, at the green border with Bulgaria, but is yet to become fully operational. It is still not clear what is the capacity of the Detention Center in Dimitrovgrad.

Besides asylum seekers, also, persons who are likely in need of international protection (and who are not recognised as asylum seekers) can be detained in the Detention Centre for Foreigners in Padinska Skela on grounds which are set in the Foreigners Act, mainly for the purpose of forcible removal.[1] However, the Ministry of Interior has stopped providing statistical data in 2018.[2] Overall, persons who are likely to be in need of international protection can be detained on various grounds. This may occur as a result of a conviction for irregular entry or stay in Serbia without having invoked the benefits of Article 8 of the Asylum Act or being held in the airport transit zone in a completely arbitrary manner (see Access to the Territory).

Detention Centre for Foreigners in Padinska Skela is the main official institution established for the purpose of detaining migrants and asylum seekers. It is located in Belgrade and has the maximum capacity of 80.[3] In 2020, the reconstruction and expansion of the centre’s capacity continued, and it was concluded during 2021. As of April 2022, the capacity of the centre is 180. The bedrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, and Detention Centre management offices were renovated in 2019.

The cooperation between CSOs and the Detention Centre for Foreigners continued to be rare during 2021. One of the reasons was the fact that all foreigners usually do not wish to apply for asylum.

Not a single foreigner detained was issued with the registration certificate in 2021 (as they did not apply for).

The Padinska Skela Detention Centre for Foreigners does not have translators, medical experts and psychologist as members of permanent staff.




[1] Articles 87 and 88 Foreigners Act.

[2] However, according the Ombudsman reports, it can determine that at least 13 foreigners were forcibly removed to third countries or countries of origin in 2020. The MoI forcibly removed citizens of Turkey (1), China (1), Afghanistan (1) and Croatia (1) to their countries of origin, and 1 Pakistani to Romania and 3 Iranians and 1 Iraqi to Bulgaria.

[3] Article 3(1)(28) Foreigners 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