Applicants for international protection
An applicant for international protection is a third-country national or stateless person who declares their intention to apply for international protection until the decision on the application becomes enforceableA foreign national can declare their intention to apply for international protection:
- When undergoing border control at a border crossing point
- In any police administration or station and in the Reception Centre for Foreigners if person is at the territory of the Republic of Croatia
- In exceptional cases, to enable access to the international protection procedure, this intention can be declared in the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers
- The intention for the child is expressed by the legal representative of the unaccompanied child, who expresses the intention in accordance with the Act on International and temporary Protection, and the body responsible for social welfare affairs appoints a special guardian trained to work with children who is not in conflict of interest with the child.
Application for international protectionThe application for international protection shall be submitted directly at the reception facility orally on the record, and exceptionally in writing, thereby initiating the procedure for granting international protection. Exceptionally, an applicant for international protection may lodge an application outside the reception facility, within an appropriate time limit, depending on personal circumstances.
Third-country nationals or stateless persons who have entered the Republic of Croatia illegally, arriving directly from the territory where they suffered persecution within the meaning of the 1951 Refugee 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 declare their intention to apply for international protection without any delay and if they produce valid reasons for their illegal entry or stay.
Rights of persons seeking international protectionAn applicant for international protection is entitled to stay in Croatia from the day on which they declare the intention to apply for international protection until the decision on their application becomes enforceable. This enables them to freely move throughout the territory of Croatia, unless their movement is limited by law.
Upon submission of the application, the applicant for international protection shall be issued with a card of the applicant for international protection within three days. The applicant's card is not proof of identity, but confirms his right of residence and his address of residence in the Republic of Croatia during the proceedings. Upon termination of the right of residence, the card must be returned to the Ministry of the Interior for cancellation.
Family members who have come together with the applicant shall also be entitled to stay for the duration of the procedure for granting international protection.
During the international protection procedure, applicants who do not have funds are provided accommodation in shelters for applicants for international protection in Zagreb and Kutina, organizational units of the Service for reception and accommodation of applicants for international protection of the Ministry of the Interior, where they are provided with other material reception conditions in addition to accommodation (food and clothing provided in kind, hygiene supplies, reimbursement of public transport costs for the purposes of the procedure for granting international protection and financial assistance).
UNHCR, the Croatian Red Cross and other organizations dealing with the protection of refugee rights or humanitarian work can implement educational, educational and similar programmes at the shelter (Croatian language learning, health care, sports activities..) and provide other forms of assistance, with the prior approval of the Ministry.
If an applicant for international protection has their own resources, they may stay at any address in Croatia, at their own expense and with prior approval from the Ministry of the Interior.
In addition, applicants for international protection are entitled to:
- An interpreter for the language it is reasonably believed to be a language they understand if they do not understand Croatian
- Information on their rights, obligations and the procedure for international protection, as well as legal counselling
- Provision of appropriate material reception conditions
- Primary and secondary education
- Free legal aid before a first-instance administrative court
- Freedom of religion
- Work, if the decision has not been taken after three months from the date of their application without any fault of the applicant
- Be appointed a guardian if they are a minor or a person without legal capacity.
Obligations of applicants for international protectionApplicants for international protection are obliged to:
- Abide by the Constitution, acts and other regulations of the Republic of Croatia
- Cooperate with the competent public 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
- Follow the house rules of the reception centre
- appear at the shelter within the time limit set for him
- Answer the summons from the Ministry of the Interior 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
- Notify the Ministry of the Interior of 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.