Asylum procedure in the Republic of Serbia

During the border control at the entrance to the Republic of Serbia or on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, a foreigner may express his intention to submit a request for asylum, orally or in writing, before an authorized police officer of the Ministry.

Exceptionally, a foreigner may express his intention to apply for asylum in the Asylum Center, in another facility designated for the accommodation of applicants, as well as in the reception Center for foreigners.

A foreigner who has expressed an intention to apply for asylum shall, immediately after expressing that intention, register and be sent to the Asylum Center or another facility designated for the accommodation of applicants, where he must report within 72 hours from the moment the registration certificate has been issued to him.

When necessary, or if any of the grounds for restricting the movement of a foreigner are met, as well as in other cases when required by security reasons, the foreigner whose intention to seek asylum is registered shall be escorted to the Asylum Center or to the other facility designated for accommodation of asylum seekers.

In order to register the foreigner, the authorized police officer photographs him and takes his fingerprints. Fingerprints shall not be taken from a minor who can be reliably or unambiguously determined to be under 14 years of age.

An authorized police officer has the right to inspect a foreigner, with full respect for his physical and mental integrity and human dignity, and the right to inspect his belongings in order to find personal documents and documents necessary for establishing identity.

The authorized police officer has the right to temporarily withhold all documents that may be relevant in the asylum procedure, if necessary, for which a certificate is issued to the foreigner.

A foreigner who has a passport, identity card or other identification document, residence permit, visa, birth certificate, travel card, or any other document relevant to the asylum procedure, is obliged to enclose them during registration.

The authorized police officer of the Ministry issues a certificate on registration of the foreigner who has expressed his intention to submit an application for asylum.

Upon admission of a foreigner who has been issued a certificate of registration in the Asylum Center or other facility intended for the accommodation of applicants, the Commissariat confirms the fact of admission in the registration certificate.

Initiation of asylum proceedings

The asylum procedure is initiated by submitting an asylum application to an authorized official of the Asylum Office, on the prescribed form no later than 15 days from the day of registration.

If the authorized official of the Asylum Office does not allow the foreigner who has been issued an asylum certificate to submit an asylum application within 15 days, the applicant may do so by submitting the asylum application form within eight days from the expiration of the 15-day period.

The asylum procedure is considered to have been initiated by submitting the asylum application form to the Asylum Office.

The application for asylum is submitted in person, and even if the application for asylum is submitted through another person, the applicant must be present in person.

Before the asylum seeker applies, the competent authority is obliged to inform the applicant of his rights and obligations, in particular the right of residence, the right to a free interpreter during the proceedings, the right to legal aid and the right of access to UNHCR.

Hearing

The authorized official of the Asylum Office shall hear the applicant as soon as possible on all facts and circumstances that are important for deciding on the submitted application for asylum, and in particular for determining:

  • the identity of the applicant;
  • the reasons on which the asylum application is based;
  • movements of the applicant after leaving the country of origin or the country of habitual residence;
  • whether the applicant has already sought asylum in another country.

The authorized official of the Asylum Office may hear the applicant several times in order to determine the factual situation.

The applicant is obliged to personally attend the hearing and participate in it, regardless of whether he has a legal representative or a proxy. The applicant is heard even in the absence of a duly summoned attorney, but only if the attorney did not justify his absence.

Members of the applicant’s family are heard separately, except when, in the opinion of the hearing officer, it is necessary to establish the essential facts on which the asylum application is based.

At the hearing of the applicant, the public is excluded.

Exceptionally, a UNHCR representative may attend the hearing if the applicant does not object.

The applicant’s hearing may be audio or audio-visually recorded, if notified to the applicant.

The hearing of the applicant may be omitted:

  • if, on the basis of the available evidence, a decision can be made approving the asylum application and granting the right to asylum;
  • if the applicant is unable to make a statement due to the permanent circumstances beyond his or her control;
  • if the admissibility of a subsequent asylum application is being assessed.

Deadlines for deciding in the asylum procedure

The decision on the asylum application in the regular procedure is made no later than three months from the day of submitting the asylum application or the allowed subsequent asylum application. The decision must be made no later than 12 months from the day of submitting the asylum application.