There are several ways of entering Romania for non-citizens: Without authorisation by crossing the border from one of the neighbouring countries, or with authorisation in the form of a visa (e.g. a student or tourist visa). In all cases, it should be possible to apply for asylum.
The asylum procedure in Romania has several steps. The whole procedure can take between several months and several years, depending on the circumstances of the case.
1. Making an asylum application
The intention to seek asylum can be expressed orally or in writing to one of the designated authorities. The authorities responsible for receiving asylum applications are: The ministry for migration, the border police, the police and the ministry of justice. The asylum application has to be completed in writing and signed. The application includes taking a picture and taking fingerprints.
2. Temporary authorisation to stay in Romania
After the application for asylum, the authorities issue a temporary document authorising the asylum-seeker to stay in Romania until a certain date specified on the document. If the date expires, the authorisation is renewed with a stamp on the same document.
3. The asylum procedure
There are two interviews.
In the first interview, the authorities ask for personal details and the travel route until Romania. The aim is to find out whether a person has already applied for asylum in another country or had their fingerprints taken in another country. If this is the case, the Romanian authorities start a Dublin procedure.
The second interview is about the reasons for applying for asylum, so the questions focus on persecution.
The waiting time for the first decision is around one month.
If the first decision is negative, there are only 10 days to lodge an appeal to the court of first instance. If the appeal is rejected, it is possible to continue with the court of second instance. If this is also rejected, it is possible to ask for toleration instead of asylum.
Persons who are rejected and who receive no form of authorised stay in Romania, are interdicted to enter Romania for a period of 5 years. This period can be reduced from 5 years to 2,5 years if the person concerned accepts “voluntary return” with IOM (for further info, see: Deportation).
Currently, almost all people from Syria receive a form of protection in Romania (either refugee status or subsidiary protection). For persons from Iraq, the record is mixed.
There are different forms of protection, which entail different rights.
• no travel rights within the EU, no authorisation to cross into the Schengen zone
• right to travel within the EU, authorisation to cross into the Schengen zone