HOW AND WHERE TO APPLY FOR ASYLUM IN BELARUS?
- On the territory of Belarus: at the office of the state migration authority of Minsk city, Minsk, Brest, Homieĺ, Hrodna, Mahilioŭ or Viciebsk regions (for people staying in Belarus legally or illegally);
- At the border: to border guards upon entry to Belarus by any means of transport;
- In detention: to border guards or the police if you are caught for illegal border crossing or staying illegally in Belarus
In all cases, it is better to say explicitly that you want to seek asylum in Belarus, and state officials will have to accept your application.
It is strongly recommended to apply for asylum as soon as possible, as it shows your genuine intention to obtain protection in Belarus.
NOTE! The fact that you have already stayed in Belarus for some time and did not apply for asylum during that period, does not mean that your asylum application will not be taken. It is your right to seek asylum, and this right should be respected. You can apply for asylum in Belarus staying in the country legally or illegally.
FORMS OF PROTECTION IN BELARUS
- Refugee status
- Complementary protection
- Temporary protection
STEPS OF THE ASYLUM PROCEDURE
- Application for protection / submission of the claim
- Asylum interview (might be conducted more than once)
- Decision by state migration authority
NOTE! Rejection from the migration authorities in granting protection can be appealed in court
Asylum interview is a very important part of your application for asylum. It is conducted by the state migration service. As the asylum interview helps you to provide as much information as possible in support of your application, make sure that you take all written proof of your asylum claim with you (if any):
- Identification documents (e.g. passport, ID card, travel documents);
- Individual and status documents (e.g. birth and/or marriage and/or divorce certificates, guardianship documents);
- Education documents (e.g. school/university certificates/diplomas);
- Employment documents (e.g. certificates, working records, cards);
- Membership/union cards (e.g. political parties, non-governmental organizations, associations);
- Any other official documentation issued by the officials of the country of your nationality or previous place of residence;
- Any other evidences that you deem relevant to your asylum claim.
NOTE! Please do not think that the lack of any documents supporting your asylum claim means rejection. Asylum interviews are conducted to check your story, fears to return, and grounds for granting asylum. During asylum interviews, you will be able to provide all necessary explanations. You have a right to submit additional evidences at any stage of the asylum procedure.
Upon registration of your application for protection you will receive a certificate of an asylum-seeker and your passport will be stored at the office of the state migration service for the duration of the asylum procedure.
If you are granted refugee status in Belarus, you will get a refugee certificate (confirms that you have this protection status).
Granted refugee status is the ground for applying for the permit for permanent residence in Belarus.
NOTE! State migration authority will keep your passport, but instead issue a refugee certificate for internal use in Belarus. After receipt of legal status of permanent resident of Belarus, you are able to obtain permanent residence document. Permanent residence document is for internal use in Belarus only; for travel outside Belarus you will have to obtain a travel document.
If you are granted complementary protection in Belarus, you will get a certificate of a beneficiary of complementary protection (confirms that you have this protection status). Complementary protection gives you the right for permit for temporary residence for up to 1 year (extendable).
NOTE! If you receive complementary protection, your passport will be returned to you by the state migration authority.
Your family members are also involved
You and your family members should be ready for asylum interview(s) with the state migration authority.
You and your family will be notified of the date and time of asylum interview(s) by the state migration authority.
Please make sure that you provide truthful information throughout the whole procedure of seeking asylum in Belarus!
All the information you provide during your application for asylum (documents, records of your asylum interview) is strictly confidential. It means that it will not be disclosed to any third parties without your clearly expressed permission.
NOTE! You should know that the information you provide during the application for asylum will be used by the state migration authority to make decision upon your case (only people who closely work with your asylum application will have access to it).
NOTE! Upon application for asylum, you may also note your wish (or lack thereof) to share the information with UNHCR
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS
Children of asylum-seekers are able to receive all types of medical treatment free of charge, enjoy preschool and secondary education on a par with nationals of Belarus.
Adult asylum-seekers can work on a par with nationals of Belarus (without the need to obtain special permit), receive free of charge emergency medical treatment.
Asylum-seekers also have the following rights:
- to be protected from forced return (refoulment) to the country of origin or former permanent residence while Belarusian state migration authorities examine application for asylum;
- to be exempted from punishment for illegal entry into Belarus and illegal residence in Belarus (if asylum-seeker did that to seek asylum and comes to state migration authority as soon as possible);
- to receive a certificate of an asylum-seeker issued by a state migration authority for the period of asylum application’s consideration (as a replacement of passport or any other ID document which is temporarily taken by the state migration authority);
- to receive one time financial assistance from the Government of Belarus to buy food, clothes, to cover temporary expenses on accommodation (application submitted to state migration authorities; application does not guarantee provision of this aid);
- to live, free of charge, in a temporary accommodation center for asylum-seekers (subject to availability of places);
- to terminate asylum procedure at any time upon written request.
Asylum-seekers also have obligations:
- to respect the laws and regulations of Belarus;
- to pass compulsory medical examination and fingerprinting procedure as part of the asylum procedure (both are free of charge).
NOTE! Anyone can obtain more information on application for asylum in Belarus, rights and obligations of asylum-seekers, people granted or rejected refugee status or complementary protection at state migration services and/or Refugee Counselling Service (refer to the contact details in this leaflet).
USEFUL CONTACT INFORMATION
The below-mentioned institutions and organizations provide services to asylum-seekers and refugees free of charge
Department on Citizenship and Migration (DCM) of the Ministry of Interior of Belarus
The DCM is the main state authority in charge of migration and asylum. It makes decisions on applications for asylum submitted by foreign nationals and stateless persons and issues documents to asylum-seekers, people granted refugee status or complementary protection, as well as documents confirming people’s legal stay in Belarus.
Office: 4 Haradski Val str., 3rd entrance, Minsk, 220030
Tel.: 8 (017) 218-52-68, 8 (017) 218-52-69
E-mail: [email protected]
NOTE! The DCM has its sub-departments in Minsk city, Minsk region, Brest, Homieĺ, Hrodna, Mahilioŭ and Viciebsk regions
Refugee Counselling Service (RCS) of Belarusian Movement of Medical Workers
RCS provides free of charge legal counselling on asylum, helps with application for asylum, renders legal assistance on other protection related issues.
Office: 74 Alšeŭskaha str., Minsk, 220104
Tel.: 8 (017) 395 48 62
Hotline (both cellular): 8 (044) 753-35-72, 8 (033) 635-21-66
E-mail: [email protected]
NOTE! RCS has its offices in all regions of Belarus. Using the above-mentioned hotline, you can retrieve contact details of RCS’ regional branches.
Belarusian Red Cross (BRC) Society
The BRC provides asylum-seekers, people with refugee status or complementary protection with
- humanitarian assistance (food and hygienic kits, if available – clothing and footwear for children and adults);
- counsels on and facilitates integration-related issues (employment, medical treatment, social welfare)
- refers to relevant state authorities for target assistance within their competence;
- assists in rebuilding family ties with close relatives lost in the aftermath of armed conflicts.
Office: 35 Karla Marka str., Minsk, 220030
Tel.: 8 (017) 327-14-17
E-mail: [email protected]
NOTE! The BRC has its offices in all regions of Belarus. Using the above-mentioned phone number you can retrieve contact details of the BRC’ regional branches. You can also get this information at http://redcross.by/regiony/.
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
IOM assists foreigners with voluntary return to the country of origin, as well as provides consultations on safe travel and stay abroad.
Office: 3 Horny (Gorny) lane, Minsk, 220005
Tel.: 8 (017) 288-27-42, 8 (017) 288-27-43
E-mail: [email protected]