Asylum-seekers are persons (foreigners) who legally reside in the territory of the Republic of Serbia because they have submitted their intention to seek asylum in the country. The duration of this status is in direct correlation with the duration of the asylum procedure. These persons often enter Serbia as migrants without a legal basis for entering the country. However once they express their intention to seek asylum, their status changes and is no longer irregular. The intention should be expressed to any police officer on the territory of the Republic of Serbia: at the border, at the reception center or at a police station. The intent must be expressed orally, pronounced: AZIL (eng: ASYLUM) or POMOCH (engl: HELP).
Types of Asylum
Refugee protection is granted to a foreigner due to a justified FEAR OF PERSECUTION as a result of their race, gender, language, religion, nationality or membership to a particular social group or because of his/her political beliefs in their country of origin (e.g. persecution as a result of differentiating political views, persecution of religious differences, persecution of people who are of other nationalities or skin color)
Subsidiary protection is granted to a foreigner who, in case of their return to his/her state (country of origin) WILL be EXPOSED, ASSIMILATED or their LIFE and SECURITY would be compromised by the VIOLENCE OF GENERAL CONDITIONS caused by external aggression or internal armed conflict or massive violations of human rights (e.g. violence caused by invasion, civil war etc.) This form of protection is granted after the asylum procedure is conducted.
Rights of an Asylum Seeker
- to legally stay in the territory of the Republic of Serbia, for as long as the asylum procedure takes place
- that during the duration of the asylum procedure, they are placed in an Asylum Center, or to stay in private accommodation if they have their own funds available
- to obtain an identification document (identity card for asylum seekers)
- to move freely in the territory of the Republic of Serbia if they have obtained a valid ID card
- to have the right to health care
- to have the right to a free interpreter and legal representative during the entire asylum procedure
- to have the right to free primary and secondary education
- to have the right to financial welfare assistance if not accommodated in the Asylum Center and are staying in private accommodation
After a refugee has contacted police and declared their intent for asylum in Serbia, police officers make evidence of this and issue a CERTIFICATE on the expressed intention of asylum, containing personal data that the asylum seeker gave about themselves, that is, the data from the documents presented (if applicable). This certificate serves as evidence of an asylum seekers expressed intention for asylum in the Republic of Serbia and enables their right to stay in the territory of the Republic of Serbia for 72 hours. During this time, the asylum seeker must report to one of the five existing asylum centers – Banja Koviljaca, Bogovadja, Sjenica, Tutin and Krnjaca.
The asylum procedure in the Republic of Serbia formally begins by completing the application form for asylum, i.e. the official filing of an asylum application. This will most likely be done on the premises of the Asylum Centers, approximately 15 days and up to 2 months from its receipt. Asylum Department officials (police) assist in the formal filing of the asylum application form. Filling in this form is an official initiation of the procedure for the decision of granting asylum.
After some time, (about a month and a half, or two months after the first interview), a hearing (oral hearing) is held at which the asylum seekers detail the reasons for leaving their country of origin and for having applied for asylum in the Republic of Serbia, to representatives of the Asylum Office.
This interview (hearing) with the police lasts much longer than the application for asylum (that is, several hours) and the questions are to be answered thoroughly and with as much detail as possible.
The decision for the asylum application is issued by the Asylum Office – police, within two months of filing an official asylum application.
If the decision is granted positively to the seeker, protection is granted in the Republic of Serbia. However if it is a negative decision, the asylum seeker has the right to file an appeal with the Asylum Commission, which will issue a following decision within the next two months from the date of filing the appeal.
The decision of the appeal to the Asylum Commission if positive, grants protection to the asylum seeker in the Republic of Serbia. However in the case of a negative decision on the appeal, a determined time limit for the asylum seekers exit out of the Republic of Serbia is issued, and in such a case the asylum procedure officially ends.
The initiation of a legal dispute delays the decision to leave the Republic of Serbia.