Alternatives to detention


Country Report: Alternatives to detention Last updated: 10/07/24


Nikola Kovačević

The Asylum Act foresees several alternatives to detention, which will be imposed based on an individual assessment prior to detention. Alternatives to detention are the following:

  • Prohibition on leaving the Asylum Centre, a particular address, or a designated area;[1]
  • Obligation to report at specified times to the regional police department, or police station, depending on the place of residence;[2]
  • Temporary seizure of a travel document.[3]

The above-stated measures can last as long as there are Grounds for Detention under Article 87 of the Asylum Act but no longer than 3 months, and exceptionally could be extended for additional 3 months. An asylum seeker who has violated residence or reporting obligations can be detained in the Detention Centre for Foreigners.[4] The Asylum Office is the authority in charge of ordering alternatives to detention with regard to asylum seekers.

Such measures, however, have never been taken in practice as of the end of 2022. In general, Serbia can still be considered a country that does not resort to systematic detention of asylum seekers or other foreigners that might be in need of international protection. Still, those detention decisions which were rendered in 2022 did not contain in its reasoning why alternatives to detention in these particular cases were not applied instead of detention.

Alternatives to detention is also possible in line with the Foreigners Act and Article 93. This provision outlines that MoI can render a decision imposing mandatory stay in a particular place (mandatory stay) if the foreign national will not be available to the competent authority for the execution of forcible removal. It is also outlined that assessment needs to be based on the proportionality principle in terms of mandatory stay as less intrusive measure for the foreign national in case.

Mandatory stay may be approved for a period of up to one year and may be extended to the same period of time, depending on the existence of reasons for which the mandatory stay is ordered. A foreign national foreigner who has been imposed with the mandatory stay, must stay at a particular address and report to the competent authority in accordance with the schedule stated in the decision on mandatory stay. When there are valid reasons for this, the competent authority may issue a decision approving that the foreigner temporarily leaves the place of mandatory stay. If foreign national disrupts forced removal or does not respect the schedule of reporting, he can be detained in immigration detention facility. It is possible to challenge this decisions before the MoI as the second instance, and before the Administrative Court as the third instance. A foreigner imposed with the measure of mandatory stay and who has no travel document shall be issued a temporary identity card.




[1] Article 78(1)(1) Asylum Act.

[2] Article 78(1)(2) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 78(1)(5) Asylum Act.

[4] Article 79 Asylum 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