Reception Conditions


Country Report: Reception Conditions Last updated: 21/04/22


The Chapter: Reception Conditions in Spain contains sections on:

A. Access and forms of reception conditions

  1. Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions
  2. Forms and levels of material reception conditions
  3. Reduction or withdrawal of reception conditions
  4. Freedom of movement

B. Housing

  1. Types of accommodation
  2. Conditions in reception facilities

C. Employment and education

  1. Access to the labour market
  2. Access to education

D. Health care

E. Special reception needs of vulnerable groups

F. Information for asylum seekers and access to reception centres

  1. Provision of information on reception
  2. Access to reception centres by third parties

G. Differential treatment of specific nationalities in reception


Short overview of the reception system

The coordination and management of the reception of asylum seekers falls under the responsibility of the State Secretary for Migration (Secretaría de Estado de Migraciones, SEM) of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration. The SEM also supervises the Directorate General of Migration (Dirección General de Migraciones) and the Directorate General of International Protection Programmes and Humanitarian Assistance (Dirección General de Programas de Protección Internacional y Atención Humanitaria – DGPIAH).[1] The SEM is competent for developing the Governmental policy on foreigners, immigration and emigration. In addition, through the DGPIAH, it develops and manages the comprehensive system for reception and integration of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, stateless person, persons with temporary protection, and beneficiaries of the subsidiary protection.

The Asylum Act provides that reception services shall be defined by way of Regulation.[2] However, detailed rules on the work within the Spanish reception system for asylum seekers are provided by a non-binding handbook, as the Regulation implementing the Asylum Act has been pending since 2009.

The first version of the Reception Handbook was published in January 2016. The 2018 version of the handbook (Version 3.3) has been in use since November 2018,[3] and was updated in early 2019.[4] It was updated again in June 2021, thus the version in use at the time of writing is the Version 5.0, which has not been made public at the time of writing.

In principle, applicants for international protection are granted reception conditions and thus referred to a shelter as soon as they apply for asylum. Nevertheless, there have been major shortcomings in the reception system in recent years, rendering the access to reception difficult in practice (e.g. waiting periods reaching up to 1 month) and resulting in homelessness in certain cases.

The duration of reception conditions is independent from the asylum procedure and the possible grant of international protection, as it foresees an 18-month period of accommodation, assistance and financial support, that can reach a maximum of 24 months for vulnerable cases.

The reception system is currently divided into three phases. However, a new Instruction was adopted in January 2021 by the SEM, establishing that persons can access the second phase (i.e. the last phase) only if they have been granted international protection, while the rest of asylum applicants will – as formulated in the instruction- “complete the full itinerary” in the previous phase. Depending on each phase, asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection receive different forms of reception conditions (i.e. assistance, accommodation, financial support, etc.), with the aim to increase the integration process.

The State Secretary for Migration of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, directly manages four reception facilities for asylum seekers, which are collective centres. In addition, more than 20 NGOs run reception centres for asylum seekers, through funds granted by the State Secretary for Migration. Many of these facilities are apartments.

In order to improve the asylum reception system, the Government foresees to allocate a total of 190 million Euros between 2021 and 2023 within the Recovery and Resilience Plan.[5]

In February 2022, the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration started to implement, together with the UNHCR, an action protocol for gender-based violence within the asylum reception system. The protocol provides for concrete guidelines on how to act in cases of gender-based violence and provides for the creation of a specialized group to monitor its implementation.[6]

A draft of the Royal Decree for the approval of a Regulation on the international protection reception system has been published and opened for collecting inputs in February 2022.[7]




[1] Article 21 Royal decree 139/2020 of 28 January; Royal Decree 497/2020 of 28 April 2020.

[2] Articles 30(2) and 31(1) Asylum Act.

[3] DGIAH, Sistema de acogida e integración para solicitantes y beneficiarios de protección internacional – Manual de gestión (“Reception Handbook”), Version 3.3, November 2018, available in Spanish at:

[4] DGIAH, Instrucción DGIAH 2018/12/19 por la que se modifica el manual de gestión del sistema de acogida para solicitantes y beneficiarios de protección internacional en lo relativo al reingreso en el sistema de acogida de personas devueltas a España en aplicación del Reglamento Dublín, 20 December 2018, available in Spanish at:

[5] Europa Press, ‘El Gobierno prevé invertir 190 millones hasta 2023 en la mejora del sistema de acogida a refugiados’, 5 May 2021, available at:

[6] Ministerio de Inclusión, Seguridad Social y Migraciones, ‘Inclusión implementa junto a ACNUR el Protocolo de actuación sobre violencia de género en el sistema de acogida’, 23 February 2022, available at:

[7] Ministerio de Inclusión, Segurida Social y Migraciones, ‘Audiencia e información pública’, 25 February 2022, 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
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation