Asylum Seekers

As a registered asylum seeker in Portugal, these are your rights and obligations (these rights are maintained throughout the entire procedure, including at the appeal stage): 

Rights

Information about your case

You have the right to receive information about your asylum application, as well as about your rights and obligations in a language you can understand.

Interpretation throughout the asylum procedure

You have the right to be provided with interpretation services in a language you understand.

Free legal assistance

You have the right to receive legal counselling throughout the entire asylum procedure. At the appeals stage, you have the right to receive free legal aid by a state-funded lawyer if you do not have sufficient means to hire a private lawyer.

Suspension of any criminal proceeding for irregular entry

As an asylum seeker, you cannot be penalized for having entered the country irregularly, for example without adequate documents. Any such penal procedure is suspended until the asylum procedure is concluded. After you have been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection status, any such penal procedure is archived (closed).

Basic assistance

As an asylum seeker, you are entitled to basic assistance if you do not have sufficient financial means, which includes accommodation, food, legal, medical and psychosocial assistance. Reception as well as assistance in accessing other services is provided by different institutions, depending on the stage of your asylum procedure:

  • The Portuguese Refugee Council (CPR) is the entity responsible for the provision of reception and social support if you are an asylum seeker in the admissibility procedure.
  • The Social Security Institute is the entity responsible for the provision of reception and social support if you have been admitted to the regular procedure.
  • The Santa Casa da Miseric√≥rdia de Lisboa is the entity responsible for the provision of reception and social support if your application has been rejected and you have lodged an appeal.

Work

You have the right to work as soon as you register your asylum application.

Education

Children between the ages of 6 and 18 are entitled to free education and education-related allowances in specific cases. For more information, visit the section dedicated to Education.

To stay in Portugal until a final decision on your application is taken.

Responsibilities

Respect Portuguese laws

Any person residing in the Portuguese territory must obey Portuguese laws, including asylum seekers. Those that commit crimes will be prosecuted and may face detention or even be at risk of having their refugee of subsidiary protection status revoked.

Notify the Portuguese authorities of any changes in your address

You must inform the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) about your place of residence, and notify SEF in case your place of residence changes.

Cooperate

You are obliged to cooperate fully with the Portuguese authorities.

Remain in the territory until a final decision on your application is taken

This means that you are not allowed to travel to another country during your asylum procedure. 

Children between the ages of 6 and 18 are obliged to go to school.

For more information, visit the section dedicated to Education.