Rights and obligations

As an asylum seeker, a refugee, or a person granted subsidiary protection, you will have certain rights and obligations, as defined by law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are outlined below. You can contact UNHCR or Vaša Prava (UNHCR’s free legal aid partner) for additional information or clarifications.


Rights and obligations of asylum seekers

Rights

  • You can legally live in Bosnia and Herzegovina until a final decision on your asylum case has been made. This means you cannot be returned to another country against your will while you wait for the decision.
  • You have right to accommodation in the centre for asylum-seekers or at a registered private address if you can arrange this for yourself.
  • You have the right to receive information about the asylum process, your asylum application, and your rights and duties in a language you understand.
  • You can access primary health care at no charge. For secondary and tertiary services, you may have to pay a fee.
  • Access to primary and secondary education.
  • Access to free legal aid.
  • You have the right to work if a decision on your asylum application is not made within nine months, and the burden of failure to make a decision cannot be placed on you.
  • You have the right to access available basic assistance including shelter, food, legal, medical and psychosocial assistance from the Ministry of Security, UNHCR, and other organizations.
  • You can contact a representative of UNHCR.

Obligations 

  • You must respect and follow the law of the country.
  • You must cooperate with the competent authorities in order to have your identity established.
  • You must cooperate with the authorities who are examining your application throughout.
  • Submit all available documents which are necessary for assessing your asylum application.
  • File the application for the extension of your asylum seeker card 15 days before its expiry.
  • Report loss of your asylum seeker card within three days of losing it.
  • You must register any changes in residence with the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs and within three days of changing the address and inform the Sector for Asylum.
  • Comply with the house rules of the reception centre that you reside in.

Rights and obligations of persons granted subsidiary protection

Rights

  • You will receive a residence permit that is valid for one year and which can be renewed.
  • You will have access to a full range of educational services including schools, universities, and vocational training programmes under the same conditions as nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • You have access to health care and social welfare benefits under the same conditions as nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Family unity: The Law on Asylum stipulates that “The same status shall be approved at request of a family member of a refugee or an alien under subsidiary protection, who is in BiH, provided that the family relationship existed in the country of origin and the applicant does not fall under the exclusion clauses of Articles 21 and 23 of this Law.” (art.14).

Obligations 

  • You must respect and follow the law of the country;
  • You must apply for the extension of subsidiary protection status 60 days before the expiry of the previous approval;
  • You must apply for the replacement of subsidiary protection card 30 days before the expiry of its validity or immediately upon loss of the card, damage of the card, or your substantial facial changes;
  • You must report loss of your subsidiary protection card not later than three days after discovering the loss;
  • You must report any change to your address within three days if you are under subsidiary protection;
  • You must report any changes that may affect the exercise and the scope of your rights as stipulated in Article 78 of the Law on Asylum;

Rights and obligations of recognised refugees

Rights

  • You will receive a residence permit that is valid for three years and which can be renewed.
  • You can apply for a travel document that allows you to visit other countries as a tourist.
  • You will have access to a full range of educational services including schools, universities, and vocational training programmes under the same conditions as nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • You have access to health care and social welfare benefits under the same conditions as nationals of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Family unity: The Law on Asylum stipulates that “The same status shall be approved at request of a family member of a refugee or an alien under subsidiary protection, who is in BiH, provided that the family relationship existed in the country of origin and the applicant does not fall under the exclusion clauses of Articles 21 and 23 of this Law.” (art.14).
  • You have the right to family reunification.
  • If you are granted refugee status, you can apply for citizenship of Bosnia and Herzegovina after you have lived continuously and legally for at least 5 years in the country.

Obligations 

  • You must respect and follow the law of the country;
  • You must apply for the replacement of a refugee card 30 days before the expiry of its validity or immediately upon loss of the card, damage of the card or your substantial facial changes;
  • You must report loss of your refugee card not later than three days after discovering the loss;
  • You must report any change to your address within eight days if you are a recognized refugee;
  • You must report any changes that may affect the exercise and the scope of your rights as stipulated in Article 78 of the Law on Asylum;
  • You must inform the Ministry of Security if you will stay outside BiH more than six months continuously.

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