Hungary > Asylum

Info leaflets for asylum seekers in Hungary

last update: November 2016

Information leaflets for asylum seekers in 9 languages (arabic, pashto, farsi, french, hungarian, somali, english, udru, kurdish, spanish) are now available on the Website of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. Published with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee.


Asylum in Hungary

last update: November 2016

You are now in Hungary (Magyarország). The official language is Hungarian (magyar). Hungary is a Member State of the European Union (EU) and is in Central-Eastern Europe.

In the refugee camp you get a bed and food every day. You have to get a humanitarian residence card (hum.tart) with your personal data. You can ask for the doctor if you have medical problems, and you should get basic health care.

If you need a lawyer in the camp, look for the lawyer of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. The lawyer is for free, you do not have to pay anything.

In Bicske the Helsinki lawyer is there every Wednesday. In Vámosszabadi, Balassagyarmat, Békéscsaba, Körmend, Nyírbátor, Kiskunhalas, Győr and Fót the Helsinki lawyer is there once every week. Please ask the social workers about the exact days.

If you cannot sleep, have bad memories ask for Cordelia Foundation’s psychologists. Please ask the social workers in the camp about the exact days.


Since 1 August 2015 there are new rules for asylum seekers in Hungary. The Hungarian-Serbian and the Hungarian-Croatian border is closed now with a border fence. There are four transit-zones along these borders (in Röszke, Tompa, Letenye and Beremend) consisting of containers where you can enter and ask for asylum if you arrive from Serbia or Croatia. If you do not enter Hungary through these transit-zones but you come through the border fence, then you commit a crime. As a punishment you can be sent back to Serbia or Croatia and expelled from the EU for several years. You will be in prison while waiting to be returned. If you want to ask for asylum, please say it to the judge at the court, but you can also ask for asylum later in prison. Unfortunately, it is possible that you will be in prison during your asylum procedure.


There are 4 types of asylum procedures:

1) Border procedure:

if you ask for asylum at the transit-zone, then the Asylum Once will make a decision in your case within 8 days. During this time, single men stay in the transit-zone, while families with children are transferred to one of the refugee camps. You can be detained in the transit-zone for maximum 4 weeks. At the border you will be only asked which way you travelled and whether you have asked for asylum in Serbia or Croatia.

2) Inadmissible claims:

If you have refugee papers from another country, if this is not your first asylum claim and you cannot give any new information or if you came through a so-called “safe third country”.

“Safe third country”: Hungary considers now Serbia a safe third country, which means a country that can provide protection to asylum seekers. According to the Asylum Office, those asylum seekers who have travelled through Serbia cannot get protection in Hungary because they should have asked for refugee status in Serbia. If you do not want to be sent back to Serbia, make a written statement to the Asylum Office explaining why Serbia is not safe for asylum seekers and why you could not get protection there. You have to sign this and give it to the Asylum Office in 3 days! The authorities have 8 days to decide and they do not have to have an interview with you. Make sure that you tell the Asylum Office why Serbia is not safe for you!

3) Fast procedure:

The Asylum Office can decide to use the fast procedure in your case for several reasons. For example, if you do not tell the Asylum Office why you had to leave your country, if you come from a safe country of origin, if you give false information about your name and country of origin, if you got rid of your travel document to hide your identity, if you do not give your fingerprints, if you came to Hungary without papers and then did not ask for asylum in time, or if you present a risk to Hungary’s security.

4) Normal procedure:

In all other cases, the Asylum Office will most probably make a decision only in a few months. If you give your fingerprints in an EU country then you can be sent back there (Dublin system). Therefore, if you leave Hungary, you can ask for asylum in another EU country, but that country can send you back to Hungary, however this does not always happen and people can stay where they are. If you stay 3 months outside the European Union you cannot be deported back here. You need evidence (ticket, money) that you stayed outside the EU so the authorities believe you.


You will have an interview where you have to tell your problems in your country and why you had to leave home. It is important to talk about everything in detail, even the painful memories. You will have a translator. Don’t be shy and say if

you do not understand each other! At the end of the interview the translator has to read the interview record back to you. If something is recorded differently from what you said, please ask the case officer to correct it. Make sure to ask for a copy of the interview’s record. The case officer and the translator will not tell your story to anyone else, you can speak openly.


At the end of the asylum procedure 4 types of decisions are possible. You will receive:

1) Refugee status:

you get an ID card, you can work, you can bring your family here, your children can go to school.

2) Subsidiary protection:

you get an ID card, you can work, your children can go to school.

3) Humanitarian protection:

is a 1-year status, you cannot work, you cannot bring your family here.

4) Negative decision:

your claim is rejected and you have to go back to your home country. If you do not accept the negative decision, in maximum 8 days (but as soon as possible) after the decision you can appeal to the judge (bíróság). Do not miss the deadline! You can write down in your language why you do not agree with the decisions and why you cannot return to your home country.



you can be put in prison (jail) as a refugee in Hungary if the Asylum Office thinks that you will escape and not wait until your decision. This can be maximum 6 months. You have to tell the judge if you had serious problems in your home country or if you have health problems. Look for the lawyer of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee for help.



PDF-version of the leaflet here.

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