The asylum procedure for unaccompanied children will consist of several steps, and your legal representative and the NGOs will help you throughout this process. 

Please ask for advice and information as soon as possible! See our contacts section for information about organizations which can help you and read the next sections to find out about each of these asylum procedure steps.

Step 1: Registration

Where do I register?

After you ask for asylum in Romania, you will initially be taken to a Regional Centre managed by the General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII, or IGI in Romanian). Once you arrive here, you will have to register.

How will I be registered?

You will met an officer from GII/IGI who will ask you to provide some personal details about yourself, such as name, country of origin, date of birth, religion, language, ethnicity, travel route. 

Remember it is very important you say the truth about your age, as children and adolescents are treated differently than adults. If you have any documents with you that show your age, share it with the officer. 

A translator may also be there when you register. Please mention any needs you might have so that you receive as soon as possible appropriate support.

The officer will take your photo and your fingerprints (images of your fingers). This may not be the first time you are fingerprinted, because different authorities have different procedure. It is important you don’t try to run away from Romania. If you leave Romania to apply for asylum in other country which applies the Dublin Regulation, you will be identified based on these fingerprints and you may be sent back to Romania.

Will I receive an identity document?

Yes, you will receive a temporary identification document which proves you are an asylum-seeker in Romania. Please take care of if and carry it with your everywhere you go.

As you are a child travelling without your parents, GII/IGI will contact a specialised authority called Child Protection, which will provide you with a “legal representative”

Step 2: Preliminary interview

What is the preliminary interview?

The next step after you register is the preliminary interview, also know as questionnaire or short interview. You will be informed about the date of this short interview in advance. Usually it takes place a few days after the state will provide you with a legal representative. This person will come with you at the interview.

What will I be asked?

The purpose of the short interview is for the asylum authority to obtain more details about you (your name, your age, your family members and where they are, how you travelled from your home country to Romania, if you applied for asylum in other countries). This is a good opportunity to present any documents you consider relevant and might help the authorities to decide on your asylum application. Therefore it is very important to be honest and to tell the truth. 

It is also important to tell the officer if you have family in Europe. This information will help them decide whether you can reunite with your family under the so-called Dublin Regulation. Click below to find out more about the Dublin Procedure. 

Who will attend the preliminary interview?

The preliminary interview will be filled in the presence of an officer of the General Inspectorate for Immigration, a translator, and your legal representative. 

Dublin Procedure

What is the Dublin Procedure?

Although you asked for asylum in Romania, it might be that another country is responsible for looking at your case. This is based on a set of rules called the “Dublin Regulation”, which decide what country should look at your case. 

What happens if I run away?

If you first apply for asylum in Romania and then run away to another country to apply for asylum there, it is very likely that you will be returned to Romania. In this time that you are away, you will lose precious time and it could also affect your asylum application.

Can the Dublin Procedure help me reunite with my family?

Tell the authorities as soon as possible if someone from your family (mother, father, sister, brother, uncle/aunt, grandfather/grandmother) is staying legally in another country in the European Union. They can help you go to them or help them come to you. You should show any documents you have which prove they are your family. But remember! The General Inspectorate for Immigration can help you only if you tell all these details as soon as possible and before they issue a decision on your asylum case. 

At registration you will be given an information material with details about the Dublin procedure. Please read it carefully and ask your legal representative, the asylum authority or an NGO for more information. 

Step 3: Interview

After the questionnaire, you will be invited for an interview with a specialized officer from the General Inspectorate for Immigration, usually a few days later. You will be informed about the exact date in advance. The interview is the most important step in the asylum procedure and you will have to talk about the reasons for your escape

Who will attend the interview?

The legal representative will be with you at the interview. Another person can also be present if you want to. For example an NGO representative from the centre you feel comfortable with, or an UNHCR representative. Tell the officer in advance if you want another person to also be present at the interview. 

An interpreter will also be there to translate the conversation between you and the officer. You can speak with the interpreter before the interview to see if you can understand each other. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell the officer if you cannot communicate with the interpreter, do not understand him/her, or do not feel comfortable with him/her.

How does the interview work?

The officer will ask you to explain in detail why you fled your home country and what would happen if you would return there. You should say as much as you can about what happened to you and the dangers you fear. 

It might be difficult to talk about some experiences, but please try. It is very important to be honest and to tell the truth. Don’t be afraid to say “I do not know”, in case you do not know an answer. There are no right or wrong answers in this discussion.

How long will the interview be?

The interview can last up to several hours, depending on each case. If you wish to take a break, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to tell this to the officer.

Will my answers be recorded in writing?

The officer will write down all the questions and all the answers and details you provide. The interview will be kept secret and nobody in your home country will find out what you said.

At the end of the interview, the interpreter will translate to you all that has been written by the officer. Listen carefully and don’t be afraid to ask the officer to correct any mistakes. Everything should be written as you said. You will sign the note on each page after it has been revised by the officer and the interpreter confirms the revision. 

Step 4: Decision

After the interview, the General Inspectorate for Immigration (GII) will have to decide if you receive protection or not. You will receive this decision in writing.

When will I receive a decision?

Generally, you should receive the decision in 2-3 months from the moment you applied for asylum. In certain cases, it may take longer (for example the interview had to be rescheduled or you had a second interview in order to clarify some details). Please be patient and don’t be afraid if it takes longer. It is also very important that you remain in Romania during the whole asylum procedure.

How will I receive the decision?

The General Inspectorate for Immigration will inform you and your legal representative about the decision, in a language you understand. However, the document will be in Romanian language. Your lawyer or an NGO counselor may also stay in touch with you and the legal representative, and can also explain the content of the documents. The decision can also be communicated to your lawyer or the NGO which assisted you during your asylum procedure, but you have to ask for this before.

What will the decision say?

The decision can be YES or NO, meaning: 

  1. Yes: You are recognized as a refugee ; OR
  2. Yes: You are granted subsidiary protection; OR
  3. No: Your asylum application was rejected and you can complain against this decision.

You can ask a legal representative or the NGOs about the procedure or the meaning of the answer you received. Read the next section “Understanding the decision” to find out more about each decision.