Protection and Asylum

How do I apply for asylum?

You may apply for asylum immediately at your first contact with the Border Police. The procedure for seeking asylum in Serbia is as follows:

  • You may express the intention to seek asylum in Serbia by addressing the police officers inside the Serbian territory (at the local police stations) or at any border crossing (including at international airports) and informing them that you would like to seek asylum); 
  • The police will register your intention (this will include taking your biodata and fingerprints – if you are older than 16) and you will be issued a certificate in the Serbian language;
  • You will then be referred to the designated asylum accommodation centre where you need to show up within 72 hours following registration;
  • If you apply for asylum at the airports in Serbia, you can access free legal aid by contacting UNHCR partner organization IDEAS at + 381 69 5657254 or sending an email to [email protected]. There are also posters with information on legal aid and contact details at the airport.
  • After you reach the designated accommodation facility you should take the next step in the asylum procedure – submit an application for asylum to the Asylum Office no later than 3 weeks from your arrival to the center. For this you can get free legal aid from UNHCR partner organization – please see THE IDEAS BROCHURE)
  • You can also ask the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration (KIRSor UNHCR staff in the accommodation facility to give you a form in a language you understand that you can fill in (explaining reasons why you had to leave your country of origin and why you are afraid to go back). You may ask the staff to help you send it to the Asylum Office or you can do it via post to the following address: Ministarstvo unutrašnjih poslova, Uprava granične policije, Kancelarija za azilBulevar Mihajla Pupina 2, 11070 Beograd;
  • One of the measures of restricting movement of asylum-seekers provided for in the Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection is their accommodation in the Shelter for Foreigners as per decision of the Asylum Office. If you are temporarily placed in the Shelter for Foreigners, make sure you stay in contact with the lawyer assisting you in the asylum process. If you did not apply for asylum and you wish to do so in the Shelter, you may express your intention to apply for asylum to any police officer in the Shelter. Make sure you contact the organisations providing legal aid to asylum-seekers (contacts available at the Shelter) or, if you wish, contact UNHCR. 

For more information about the asylum procedure see THE IDEAS BROCHURE.

What happens after I apply for asylum?

The Asylum Office will invite you for an interview where you will be asked to explain in more detail your reasons for leaving your country of origin, why you are afraid to return, etc. You have the right to an interpreter who will assist you, together with your lawyer (if you have one).   

For more information on asylum interview, please see THE IDEAS BROCHURE.

Based on your interview, and submitted information and evidence, and after applying the national law, the Asylum Office will decide whether you can get protection and what kind of protection you can receive in Serbia. It usually takes 3-6 months for the Asylum Office to reach a decision (sometimes longer if there are special reasons).  

For more information about the asylum procedure, please see THE IDEAS BROCHURE.

What happens if my application is rejected?

In case you receive a negative decision on your asylum application, you have the right to appeal. You should seek the assistance of a lawyer (if you do not have one already). For more information, please see 

Free legal assistance

Legal assistance provided by UNHCR partner IDEAS is FREE OF CHARGE. 

UNHCR partner Centre for Research and Policy Development (IDEAS) provides free legal aid to asylum-seekers in Serbia. Lawyers of IDEAS will inform you of your rights and obligations, and will accompany you throughout the asylum procedure. In case you receive a negative decision, the lawyers of IDEAS will help you file an appeal. 

For more information, please see THE IDEAS BROCHURE.

My rights as an asylum seeker

A person who has submitted an asylum application to the Asylum Office is entitled to: 

1) reside safely in and move freely within the territory of the Republic of Serbia;  

2) accommodation and food in government centres;  

3) social assistance;  

4) healthcare;  

5) primary and secondary education;  

6) information and legal aid (free of charge);  

7) freedom of religion;  

8) labour market access six months after submitting asylum application;  

9) personal documents – asylum-seeker’s ID card.  

If you have the means to sustain yourself, you can also live in private accommodation.  However, to be able to do that, you will require approval from the Asylum Office. Your lawyer can help you and explain this procedure.    


Asylum centres and reception/transit centres in Serbia are managed by the Serbian Commissariat for Refugees and Migration. These centres are situated in various locations across the country.