Persons entering the asylum procedure in Serbia are usually accommodated at one of the 5 asylum centres spread out across the country, but those asylum seekers who can afford to stay at a private residence may do so, should they so desire. On 10 January 2021, 127 persons granted asylum and asylum seekers were residing at a private address. These “asylum centres” should not be confused with the temporary reception centres that had been set up by the Government throughout 2015 in response to the mass influx of refugees and migrants transiting through Serbia, as they were not foreseen for the housing of persons seeking asylum in Serbia.
The major issue in 2020 continued to be a lack of profiling and differentiation between those persons with a genuine interest in applying for asylum in Serbia, and those who were in need of a shelter in one of the centres close to the borders with Hungary, Romania and Croatia. In fact, asylum seekers have been referred by immigration officers from all police departments to camps based on available capacity, and not on the basis of the assessment of their genuine wish to remain in Serbia. This practice has caused a situation in which genuine asylum seekers have been referred to reception centres where asylum procedure is rarely or (in some reception centres) never conducted.
There were 5 active Asylum Centres in Serbia in 2020:
Only the Asylum Centre in Banja Koviljača is formally speaking a permanent centre; the other centres are ‘temporary’ locations for the housing of asylum seekers. The overall reception capacity of the Asylum Centres according to the Commissariat is 1,920. However, the capacity of the centres is estimated only by the number of available beds, rather than their overall facilities, including toilets, bathrooms and kitchens. Most of the enumerated Asylum Centres were not overcrowded during 2020, except for Asylum Centre in Tutin which was overcrowded throughout entire year, with the resulting lack of privacy and poor hygienic conditions.
Temporary reception centres
Concerning the temporary reception centres, a number of these were opened by the Government of Serbia in the second half of 2015 in order to provide emergency reception conditions for persons who were entering Serbia in an irregular manner and are transiting towards their preferred destination countries in the European Union.
Reception Centres established in Serbia are the following: Preševo, Bujanovac, Vranje, Pirot, Dimitrovgrad, Bosilegrad, Obrenovac, Šid, Principovac, Adaševci, Sombor, Subotica, Kikinda and Bela Palnaka (‘Divljana’).
The respective capacity of the temporary reception centres is as follows:
|Temporary reception centre||Border location||Capacity|
 Article 51(2) and (3) Asylum Act.
 Article 51(4) Asylum Act.
 Except during the COVID-19 lockdown.