How to apply for asylum

If you are afraid to return to your country of origin, or country of previous residence, because you are in danger of suffering serious harm for reasons related to your race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group or you flee war torture, or inhumane and degrading treatment, you can apply for asylum in Moldova.

You can apply for asylum at the General Inspectorate for Migration (IGM), Border crossing points, police offices or at detention centres. It is necessary that the person is within the Moldovan territory, it is not possible to apply for asylum from abroad.

To start your application the first step is to manifest your desire to seek protection in Moldova. Then you will have to fill out a form. Once you file your application, you become an asylum seeker, and you will receive a temporary identity document.

As an asylum seeker while the IGM process your case, you will need to hand over identity documents, including your travel documents. Upon written request, you can take your documents for specific needs.

The process is free of charge.

Remember the Asylum and Integration Directorate, part of the General Inspectorate for Migration under the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), is the refugee authority in the country. They are responsible for:
– Implementing the asylum policies.
– Examination of applications for asylum.
– Examination of applications for statelessness determination procedure.
– Granting and withdrawing international protection / stateless status.
– Coordination of integration activities for foreigners.
– Creation and managing of accommodation centres.
– Issuing identity documents.

What happens after I apply for asylum?

Once your application is submitted, the Asylum and Integration Directorate will analyse your case and eventually make resolution. According to the Moldovan law, two different types of protection can be granted: Refugee status and Humanitarian Protection.

After your application is registered, you will receive a temporary identity document, which is valid for a period of 30 days, with the possibility of being extended for subsequent 30-day terms, until a final decision is made. You will also be accommodated at the Temporary Accommodation Centre (TAC) during the refugee status determination procedure within the General Inspectorate for Migration. Examination of asylum applications takes in average 6 months. If a decision cannot be taken within 6 months, for reasons beyond the control of the General Inspectorate for Migration, this period may be extended 1 month, for a maximum of 3 consecutive times (3 months).

Approximately 21 days later you will be called for an interview. They will ask you questions to get to know you, to understand how you arrived to Moldova and the reasons of why you left your country of origin. At the interview, you have the right to have a translator and lawyer.

Once they reach a decision, they will communicate it to you. If you are recognized as a refugee, you will be issued an identity card valid for 5 years; if you are granted humanitarian protection, the identity card will be valid for 3 years.

You will be able to remain in the country and granted free access to:

  • The social security system (like disability allowance, pension, unemployment benefits).
  • Primary and secondary education.
  • The medical insurance system.
  • Socio-cultural adaptation sessions (training on values and national traditions, political and administrative organization system of the country).
  • State language courses.
  • Information and counselling on ways to access the labor market.

You have the obligation to respect the Republic of Moldova laws.

You should know that the IGM’s decision could be negative, which means that they will refuse any form of protection, and you will have to leave the country. If this is your case, if you want you may appeal their decision. Seek legal advice immediately, call the Centrul de Drept al Avocaților (CDA).