What is asylum?
Asylum is a form of protection provided by a foreign state to an individual whose own country of origin does not provide protection. All people have the right to seek asylum, to ask for the protection of a country if they cannot return to their own country of origin or residence if they fear persecution, harm due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or because they belong to a certain social group (such as LGBTI).
Seeking asylum outside Hungary ⬇️
If you wish to seek asylum in Hungary and you are outside Hungary, you first need to submit a so-called statement of intent at the embassy of Hungary in Belgrade (Serbia) or in Kiev (Ukraine). You need to make an appointment with the relevant embassy to submit your statement of intent there.
Hungarian Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia
Address: 11000 Belgrade, 72 Krunska Str., Serbia
Phone: +381 11 244 3739, +381 11 244 0472, +381 11 244 7479 (in English or Hungarian)
Email: [email protected]
Hungarian Embassy in Kiev, Ukraine
Address: 01901 Kiev, 33 Rejtarszka Str., Ukraine
Phone: +38 044 230 8001, +38 044 230 8002 (in English or Hungarian)
Email: [email protected]
In addition to the submission of the statement of intent, you might be called into the embassy for an interview. Interpreter should be provided at the interview. If the Hungarian authorities approve your statement of intent, you will get a so-called travel document with which you can travel to Hungary where you can submit your asylum application.
If you need legal assistance after you have submitted your statement of intent at one of the embassies, please contact:
Seeking asylum inside Hungary ⬇️
If you are already staying in Hungary, you do not need to submit a statement of intent at the embassy if you belong to any of the below groups:
a) recognized beneficiaries of subsidiary protection staying in Hungary (and you would like to be recognized as a refugee);
b) family members of recognized refugees or beneficiaries of subsidiary protection who are staying in Hungary at the time of the lodging of the asylum application; and
c) any person who is in detention, custody or imprisoned, except for those who have crossed the state border of Hungary in an illegal manner.
If you do not belong to any of the above-mentioned groups, but you would still like to apply for asylum in Hungary and you are already in the country, you may contact the Hungarian Helsinki Committee for legal assistance at their site (information in English, Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, Russian, Spanish, Urdu) or at the email address [email protected].
Please note that if you enter Hungary without a legal basis authorizing your entry and stay, even if you are entering because you are trying to seek asylum, authorities may stop you and remove you from Hungarian territory through the border fence.
You may find further information about the procedure at the site of the immigration authority (National Directorate-General for Aliens Policing) in English. If you have questions regarding the application procedure, you may also contact the immigration authority at [email protected].
The asylum procedure ⬇️
If you have successfully registered your asylum application in Hungary, the immigration authority will examine your application in approximately 2-3 months.
At the beginning of the asylum procedure, you will have an interview with a case officer where you need to talk about the problems you faced in your country (or you would face in case of return) and why you had to leave home. It is important to talk about everything in detail. You will have an interpreter. If you do not understand the interpreter well (due to a different dialect, or for another reason) indicate it to the case officer, as you have the right to ask for another interpreter. At the end of the interview the case officer and the interpreter must read the record of the interview 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 record. The case officer and the interpreter will not tell your story to anyone else, so you can speak openly.
At the end of the asylum procedure 4 types of decisions are possible. You may receive one of the following decisions:
1) Refugee status (menekült státusz in Hungarian)
= a protection status granted based on persecution in your country of origin or habitat; the status falls under mandatory review every three years if the status was granted after 2016; for information on rights of refugees, please see below.
2) Subsidiary protection (oltalmazott státusz in Hungarian)
= a protection status granted based on you being at risk of grave harm and violence in your country of origin or habitat; the status falls under mandatory review every three years if the status was granted after 2016; for information on rights of subsidiary protection holders, please see below.
3) Humanitarian protection/tolerated status (befogadott státusz in Hungarian)
= a humanitarian protection status is granted if you cannot get any other protection status but cannot be sent back to your country of origin, because the immigration authority considers that dangerous. This is a 1-year status and does not allow you to work or bring your family to Hungary.
4) Negative decision
This means that your asylum application is rejected. If you do not accept the negative decision, you can appeal to the court in maximum 8 days (but as soon as possible) after the decision. Do not miss the deadline! You can write down in your language why you do not agree with the decision and why you cannot return to your home country and submit it to the immigration authority (your case officer), who will forward it to the court. A lawyer can help you with this, but the appeal has to be signed and submitted by you. The court decides about the appeal in approximately two months’ time. The court can agree with the authority’s decision, in which case the rejection becomes final, or can reject it and order the authority to re-start the asylum procedure.
You can find further information about the asylum procedure at the site of the immigration authority in English. You can also find an information leaflet on the asylum procedure by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee in English at this site.
If you are a registered asylum-seeker in Hungary, the authority can decide to place you in asylum detention for a maximum of 8 months:
- to ascertain your identity and nationality,
- if the authority believes that you only applied for asylum to delay their deportation procedure,
- if you applied for asylum after arriving at the airport,
- to ensure that you are transferred back to an EU member state if you have an already ongoing asylum procedure or status there (as part of the so-called Dublin procedure), if the authority has reason to believe that you would otherwise leave Hungary on your own,
- to assess whether you can enter Hungary.
To seek free legal assistance in case of asylum detention, please turn to:
Rights and obligations of asylum-seekers ⬇️
If you are an asylum-seeker in Hungary, you have the right to:
- stay in Hungary during the asylum procedure;
- get accommodation in an open reception centre, or in a detention centre if the immigration authority decides to detain you, where you receive bed and food (for a maximum time of 8 months);
- receive basic health care in the asylum centre, or in case of need, specialized health care is provided outside the centre in nearby hospitals;
- receive basic health care at a local doctor (general practitioner) if you are accommodated at a private address (see the Health care page for further information on access to health care);
- contact UNHCR or other organizations during the asylum procedure;
- get a humanitarian residence permit until your asylum application is decided;
- work within the open reception centre, if conditions allow, or at a public employment position within nine months from applying for asylum;
- work outside the centre if you find an employer, after nine months from the submission of your asylum application.
UNHCR partner organizations and other NGOs and service providers offer further assistance to asylum-seekers: see details under the Where to find help section.
If you are an unaccompanied child (= below the age of 18 years without parent or adult caregiver) you have special rights, such as:
- accommodation and care in a children’s home;
- receive a guardian who is representing your interests as a child;
- right to have your asylum application examined within a prioritized procedure, meaning that the immigration authority should examine it as soon as possible.
As an asylum-seeker you are required to:
- cooperate with the immigration authority during the asylum procedure, among others to give your personal identity and travel documents to the authority, if you have any;
- tell the reasons why you left your country of origin;
- stay at the centre the immigration authority has designated for you and to keep the rules of that centre, or to stay at the private address the authority approved as your place of residence;
- allow the doctor to examine you and to receive the necessary vaccinations prescribed by the doctor.
Accommodation for asylum-seekers ⬇️
After submitting an asylum application, the immigration authority transfers you to an open reception facility for the rest of the procedure. You receive food or daily cash-allowance and basic health care in the reception facilities. You may leave the facility, but only for up to 24 hours. If you want to be outside the facility for longer than that, you need to ask for prior permission in writing. If you fail to ask for permission and leave the facility for a longer period, the authority can terminate your asylum procedure. You must respect the house rules of the facility, which you are informed about upon arrival. Children should have access to kindergarten, primary and secondary school education up to 16 years of age, in the vicinity of the facility. Management and staff of the reception centre should take steps to ensure children’s access to kindergarten and schooling.
Upon request, there is a possibility that the immigration authority (National Directorate-General for Alien Policing, NDGAP) allows you to stay at a private accommodation for the time of the asylum procedure. It is important that if you change your address, you must notify the authority.
If you are an unaccompanied child (without a family member or a caretaker), the immigration authority can place you in a child-care facility for the duration of your asylum procedure.