Frequently asked questions

What is international protection?

International protection is a commonly used phrase in European Union law that refers to both refugee and subsidiary protection statuses. A person who claims asylum in Romania is seeking international protection from persecution or serious harm in their home country. 

Who is a refugee?

A refugee is someone who is outside of their country of origin and cannot return because they have a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. 

Refugee status is a form of international protection that is granted to people who fall in one of the above-mentioned situations. 

What is subsidiary protection?

Subsidiary protection is another form of international protection, complementary to refugee status. It means that someone cannot be returned to their country of origin or habitual residence because they face a real risk of serious harm.  

Serious harm means (i) the death penalty or execution; (ii) torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; (iii) serious and individual threat to life by reason of indiscriminate violence in a situation of international or internal armed conflict. 

What is Statelessness?

The international legal definition of a stateless person is “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. In simple terms, this means that a stateless person does not have the nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, but others become stateless. 

Statelessness can occur for several reasons, including discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups, or on the basis of gender; the emergence of new States and transfers of territory between existing States; and gaps in nationality laws.  

Can I apply for international protection if I am stateless?

Yes, you can apply for asylum in Romania if you are stateless and cannot return to your country of habitual residence for protection reasons. Your application will then be examined in relation to your country of habitual residence i.e. the country you previously lived in. 

What does non-refoulement mean?

This principle means that the Romanian authorities cannot deport or return any person, in any manner whatsoever to a territory where (a) the life or freedom of that person would be threatened for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion or (b) there is a serious risk that the person would be subjected to the death penalty, torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 

What if I have a disability and/or other special needs?

You should inform the asylum authorities, the General Inspectorate for Immigration, as soon as possible of any disability or other special needs you may have so that, where feasible, they can accommodate your needs. 

Where will I stay during the asylum procedure?

You will be offered accommodation in one of the 6 Regional Reception Centers, however, if you have the financial means to support yourself, you are free to live elsewhere.  

Can UNHCR give me legal advice?

Unfortunately, due to limited resources and the nature of our role in Romania, UNHCR can provide only limited support in relation to individual cases. However, we do work with NGO partners who offer free legal counselling throughout the country.