Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions


Country Report: Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20


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The Commissariat for Refugees and Migration (CRM) is mandated with providing material reception conditions to asylum seekers and persons granted asylum in Serbia.[1]

During the course of asylum procedure, asylum seekers are entitled to be accommodated in one of the 5 Asylum Centres or other designated facility established for that purpose.[2] These other facilities are 14 Reception Centres (see Types of Accommodation).

Persons issued with a registration certificate are expected to present themselves at the centre indicated via a central mechanism between the Ministry of Interior and the CRM so as to be registered and lodge their asylum application. At the point of reception, the Commissariat shall confirm reception by indicating it in the registration certificate.[3]

The vast majority of foreigners accommodated in Asylum Centres and Reception Centres enjoy the status of asylum seeker. However, the most of them are not genuinely interested in staying in Serbia and to apply for asylum. This fact is especially problematic in Asylum Centres where a significant number of persons are on the waiting list to enter Hungary[4] or are trying to leave Serbia irregularly through other ways. Thus, genuine asylum seekers are very often accommodated in Reception Centres where they have to wait for up to several weeks before they are transferred to one of the Asylum Centres where they would be allowed to lodge an asylum application (see Registration).

Also, there are several reception facilities in which there are persons who are not registered as asylum seekers, nor do they enjoy any other status in line with the Foreigners Act or other legislation. Thus, their stay is tolerated by the Commissariat. For instance, a lot of people who are staying in the Western camps (Adaševci, Šid and Principovci) are not registered, or their certificates have expired, but they are attempting to cross the border with Croatia, even on a daily basis. Their legal status is unregulated, and for that reason, they can be subject to different arbitrary practices such as denial of access to the reception centre during the night or denial of access to food or even medical care. Also, there is a significant number of persons which are residing in the informal settlements in Belgrade and border areas with Croatia, Hungary and Romania. Many of them are UASC.[5]

In principle, every foreigner has the possibility to be accommodated in one of the reception facilities. Those who have clear aspirations to attempt to irregularly cross to Croatia, Hungary and Romania are usually allowed to reside in the Reception Centres close to the border with said countries. Also, those who are on the waiting list for Hungary are placed in different Reception Centres, and sometimes Asylum Centres. When their turn on the list comes, they are transferred to Kikinda or Subotica Reception Centres which are close to the border. Those interested in seeking asylum in Serbia are accommodated in Asylum Centres, while unaccompanied children are all placed in Sjenica and Krnjača Asylum Centres.

If the asylum seeker possesses his or her own financial assets, he or she may stay outside the reception facilities at his or her own cost, and exclusively with prior consent of the Asylum Office, which shall be given after the asylum application has been lodged. Exceptionally, consent may also be given beforehand, if that is required for reasons of security of a foreigner whose intention to seek asylum has been registered.[6] Thus, in practice, the asylum seeker usually has to wait to lodge an asylum application and then submit the request to stay at a private address which will be included in his or her ID card as a place of his or her residence. The living conditions in many Asylum and Reception centres are unsatisfactory.


[1] Article 23 Asylum Act; Chapters II and III Migration Management Act.

[2] Article 51(1) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 35(12) Asylum Act.

[4] The vast majoritiy of refugees residing in Serbia are on the waiting list to enter Hungary at Rozske and Tompa. Hungarian authorities were admitting several persons per week. 

[5] BCHR, Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia, 130-132.

[6] Article 50(8) 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