Applicants for international protection
A foreign national is considered to be an applicant for international protection from the moment he or she expresses the intention to apply for international protection until a decision concerning his or her application becomes enforceable.
Application for international protectionAn application for international protection can be lodged at the Asylum Seeker's Reception Centre, while the intention to apply for international protection may be expressed by a foreign national already during border checks at border crossing points, or at any police administration/police station or an aliens reception centre, if he or she is already in the territory of the Republic of Croatia.
The Ministry of the Interior (MoI) decides on the application for international protection in first instance proceedings. An administrative dispute may be instituted against the decision of the Ministry before a competent administrative court.
Foreign nationals who have entered the Republic of Croatia illegally, arriving directly from the territory where they suffered persecution within the meaning of the Geneva Convention and where there is a real risk that they might be exposed to serious harm upon returning to their country of origin, will not be punished for illegal entry or stay if they express their intention to apply for international protection without any delay and if they produce valid reasons for their illegal entry or stay.
Rights of an applicant for international protectionAn applicant for international protection is entitled to stay in Croatia from the day on which he or she expressed the intention to apply for international protection until the conclusion of the procedure. This right enables him or her to freely move throughout the territory of Croatia, unless his or her movement is limited by law. After the application for international protection has been lodged, a foreign national is issued with a card which is used as a stay permit in Croatia. Family members of applicants for international protection also have the right to stay in Croatia.
During the procedure for international protection, the applicants are accommodated in the Asylum Seeker's Reception Centre where they are provided with material and nonmaterial reception conditions: food, toiletries, clothing, financial aid, health care, various daily activities, Croatian language classes, creative and sports activities etc.
If applicants for international protection have a steady income in the amount larger than the minimum salary in Croatia, they may be requested to bear the accommodation costs partially or fully. Applicants for international protection are also entitled to financial aid, unless they are employed and their income is sufficient to ensure an appropriate standard of living, unless they possess some financial resources or unless financial resources are provided to them in some other way. If applicants for international protection have their own resources, they may stay at any address in the Republic of Croatia, at their own expense with a prior approval from the Ministry of the Interior.
In addition, applicants for international protection are entitled to:
- have the procedure conducted in a language that they understand
- be informed of their rights, obligations and the asylum procedure, as well as to be provided with legal counselling
- health care
- primary and secondary education
- free legal aid before the administrative court of first instance
- freedom of religion
- work, if after nine months from the day of their application the decision has not been adopted yet (provided that this was not the applicant’s fault)
- be appointed a guardian, in case the procedure involves a minor or a person without legal competence.
Applicants for international protection are obliged to:
Obligations of applicants for international protection
- abide by the Constitution, laws and other regulations of the Republic of Croatia
- cooperate with competent government authorities of the Republic of Croatia and act upon their instructions and measures
- undergo checks aimed at verifying and establishing their identity
- undergo a medical examination
- adhere to the house rules of the Asylum Seeker's Reception Centre
- answer the summons from the Ministry to be interviewed and cooperate throughout the procedure for international protection
- remain in the territory of the Republic of Croatia during the procedure for international protection
- report to the Ministry of the Interior any change of address within two days from the moment of the change
- comply with the instructions and measures of the Ministry of the Interior regarding the restriction on the freedom of movement.