Last update: 01.12.2016
More and more small groups have recently been arriving in Romania, but it is still a transit country. Romania is part of the European Union, but not part of the Schengen zone. Therefore, there are border controls between Romania and neighbouring EU countries like Hungary. Furthermore Romania is part of the Dublin-Convention, which means that fingerprints will probably be taken and might cause problems when travelling onwards to other European countries.

People who are stopped at the border between Romania and neighbouring countries are usually brought to the nearest government-administered open reception center.

  1. Claiming asylum. If you claim asylum, you will be taken to one of the reception centres to proceed with the asylum application.
  2. People who do not claim asylum: There can be a fine for unauthorised border crossing, and probably eventually a return/deportation. If you do not claim asylum, the unauthorised border crossing can be prosecuted as an offence under Romanian law. The authorities may tell you that you can be sent to prison. However, especially if this is the first time that you are caught at the border, the charges can also be suspended. If you do not claim asylum, you have no authorisation to stay in Romania, and you can be detained and deported at any time.
Many migrants who reach open camps decide to travel on after staying there for a period of time. For instance, many people staying in the reception centre in Timisoara close to the Serbian and Hungarian border leave again as it is an open reception centre and try to cross the border to Serbia or Hungary. Many people eventually succeed to travel on, despite the controls. People who are caught are usually brought back to the reception centre.

There is no fence on the borders of Romania but in August 2016 the Romanian government announced that it will send more police and border technology to the border with Serbia. They announced they would deploy more police, and use infra-red night cameras and dogs.