Asylum in Moldova
Asylum in Moldova
Moldova is a small country that usually received far fewer asylum claims than its neighbours: 75 applications in 2017, 115 in 2018, 118 in 2019, 86 in 2020. This all changed in 2022 with the war in Ukraine.
An asylum-seeker is a person who was forced to flee his country of origin because of war, persecution or other factors and whose request for international protection has yet to be processed. No asylum-seeker can be turned back at the border. According to Moldovan Law an asylum-seeker can work during the procedure of status determination.
The status determination procedure lasts up to 6 months and, in case of rejection, the applicant is assisted by a legal counsellor to plead his case in court.
According to the Law on Asylum No. 270-XVI from 18.12.2008 of the Republic of Moldova, an asylum-seeker can be recognized as a refugee if he meets at least one of the criteria established by the 1951 Geneva Convention on the status of refugees. Anyone who can prove that they are at risk of persecution in the event of return to their country of origin can receive the status of refugee for a renewable period of 5 years. Those persecutions can be related to :
- Their religion
- Their ethnicity
- Their nationality
- Their belonging to a social or political group
A person can be granted the status of beneficiary of humanitarian protection if he does not meet the conditions for being a refugee but if there is a real and proven risk in the event of return to the country. Article 45 of the 2008 Asylum Law of the Republic of Moldova states:
A serious risk is understood to mean the presence of one of the following situations:
- Torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment inflicted on the applicant in his country of origin
- Serious and individual threat to civilian life for reasons of generalized violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict
- The existence of a death sentence or a threat of execution
Procedure of granting refugee status differs depending on the form of protection you are applying for. You can apply for a refugee status if:
- You have no any citizenship, but you are afraid to be persecuted on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, belonging to a certain social group or political opinion in the country where you reside or in the country where you have legal domicile and because of this fear you don’t want to come back;
- You are afraid to be persecuted on the grounds of race, religion, nationality, belonging to a certain social group or political opinion and if you are outside of the country, citizenship of which you possess and you can’t or don’t want to come back because of this fear.
You are afraid to be persecuted means that you have fears to be subject to:
- Acts of physical and mental violence, including sexual violence;
- Discriminatory legal, administrative, police and/or judicial acts;
- Discriminatory or disproportional charge or punishment;
- Impossibility of retrial, following a discriminatory or disproportional punishment;
- Charge or punishment if you refused to fulfil military service in time of an armed conflict;
- Sex specific actions or discriminatory abuses as well as specific actions related to minors or discriminatory abuses
You are not entitled to apply for a refugee status if:
- You already benefit of a protection from an United Nations’ Agency;
- You hold citizenship of the Republic of Moldova or have the same rights and obligations as a citizen of the Republic of Moldova;
- You have committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity;
- You have committed a serious crime, a particularly serious crime or exceptionally serious crime of common law before entering the territory of the Republic of Moldova;
- You have committed deeds, which are against the objectives and principles of the United Nations Organization;
- You have planned, facilitated or participated in commission of terrorist acts;
- You present a danger for public order or for the security of the Republic of Moldova.
Step 1. Submit personally an application for asylum (granting refugee status) at:
- State border crossing point;
- Division on asylum and integration of the Bureau for Migration and Asylum;
- Police or
- Penitentiary (structures of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions of the Ministry of Justice) or temporary detention facilities.
Application for asylum should include: declaration and all existing documents that indicate your identity and nationality, previous countries and places of residence, previous applications for asylum, transit routes, identity and travel documents, reasons why you are applying for asylum.
Step 2. Fill in a questionnaire on personal data and identity and travel documents you have, reasons for application for asylum.
Step 3. Present yourself to the interview organized by hearing officer to clarify your situation. You can come with a lawyer or an UNCHR’s or other non-governmental organization’s representative.
Hearing officer will analyse your motives and will collect important evidence to take a decision. This procedure may take up to 6 months.
Pending the outcome of application for asylum, Division on asylum and integration will issue you a temporary identity document (valid for 30 days), attesting status of asylum seeker.
As a result, BMA’s Division on asylum and integration will communicate you the decision on granting refugee status in written form, directly or through mail. If you have not been granted refugee status, you are entitled to appeal to the court this decision.
Step 4. In case of a positive decision, please contact Bureau for Migration and Asylum for issuance of an identity act (residence permit).
See the procedure in details here.
If you apply for an asylum, you are entitled to free legal counselling
Address: str. Vlaicu Pârcălab 8, MD-2009, Chișinău, Republic of Moldova.
Ph.: (+373 22) 240 899 Fax: (+373 22) 240 898
web site: www.cda.md
Address: str. Alecu Russo nr. 1, bl. „A1”, office 35-36, MD-2068, Chișinău, Republic of Moldova. Ph./fax: (+37322) 496 953, 496 339, 310065
- To be informed in written form (in the language you know) on the rights and obligations you have;
- To remain on the territory of the Republic of Moldova and to obtain identity documents;
- To choose the place of residence and to move freely;
- To be employed, to exercise free professions, to carry out entrepreneurial activity;
- To be paid, to benefit of social insurance, medical insurance and other;
- To study in educational institutions of the Republic of Moldova;
- To benefit of social assistance granted to families with children or unaccompanied children;
- To practice your own religion and to educate children in this;
- To security of your personal data;
- To have free access to the premises of a court and to administrative assistance;
- Of not being expelled or returned from the border, except when you violated legislation of the Republic of Moldova;
- To be accommodated in a centre for vulnerable persons for a specific period;
- To participate, upon request, in the social integration programs.
If you are a refugee and beneficiary of humanitarian protection and you do not have means for support, you are entitled to financial support. Government regulates its amount and modality of granting. Financial aid shall be granted for a period of 6 months if:
- You submit an application;
- Commit yourself to return the received amount;
- The state possess financial resources.
- To know and to respect the Constitution of the Republic of Moldova and other normative acts;
- To respect the rules set up by the Bureau for Migration and Asylum and to respond to its requests;
- To respect the Rules of internal procedure of the accommodation centre;
- To reimburse amounts received as aid if you got revenues, which allow this;
- To apply for new identity documents at the Division on asylum and integrity if the old ones have expired (at least 30 days before expiration, and in the event of loss or damage, not later than 3 days).
Contact a lawyer as soon as possible
You have 30 days to challenge the decision in court
If you are an alien domiciled on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, you can apply for the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova under the following conditions:
- You have been staying legally and continuously on the territory of the Republic of Moldova, at least during the past 10 years. If you are a stateless person, refugee, beneficiary of humanitarian protection and political asylum, the respective period is 8 years; or
- You have been staying legally and continuously on the territory of the Republic of Moldova for 5 years before reaching the age of 18 years; or
- You have been married with a national of the Republic of Moldova for at least 3 years and you have been staying legally and continuously on the territory of the Republic of Moldova during the last 3 years; or
- You have been staying legally and continuously on the territory of the Republic of Moldova in the past 3 years with the parents or with the children (including adopters or adopted), who are the citizens of the Republic of Moldova; as well as
- You know and respect provision of the Constitution; and
- You passed the test on assessment of the level of knowledge of the state language; and
- You have legal sources of livelihood.
To acquire citizenship of the Republic of Moldova, follow steps:
Step 1. Submit application for acquiring or restoration of citizenship of the Republic of Moldova.
Option 1. If you are in the Republic of Moldova, submit application personally or through a person empowered via power of attorney addressed to the President of the Republic of Moldova to the territorial body of the Public Services Agency.
Option 2. If you reside abroad, submit personally application addressed to the President of the Republic of Moldova to the diplomatic representation or consular institution of the Republic of Moldova, or to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova.
Examining the application can last for up to 1 year. After examing the application and receivng a positive opinion from the Commission on citizenship issues and granting a positive opinion from the President of the Republic of Moldova, President of the Republic of Moldova issue a Decree on granting citizenship.
Step 2. Swear an oath (see text of the oath in the Law) in front of the Chairman of the rayon or Mayor of the municipality or, where appropriate, in front of the Head of diplomatic mission or a consular office of the Republic of Moldova.
See the list of necessary acts for acquiring citizenship here. The citizenship of the Republic of Moldova is acquired at the date of swearing.
Step 3. Receive a certificate that proves the citizenship of the Republic of Moldova. If you are in Moldova, it will be issued by the Public Services Agency, and if you are abroad, it will be issued at a diplomatic representation or a consular office of the Republic of Moldova.
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