According to the Federal Refugees Act of 1993, foreign citizens and stateless persons who seek asylum in the Russian Federation can be granted asylum in the country by either issuing a full-fledged and permanent refugee status, or temporary asylum, which implies a limited set of rights and period of validity.
You can read about the refugee status HERE.
Now let’s look at what temporary asylum actually is. It is mentioned in the Federal Refugees Act and the Government Resolution № 274 of 9th April 2001 “On the temporary asylum procedure in the Russian Federation”.
Temporary asylum is a humanitarian status that implies a permission to temporarily reside within the Russian Federation’s territory for those persons who:
– meet the criteria to be considered a refugee, but are confined to apply for temporary asylum only due to certain circumstances;
— do not have grounds for recognition as a refugee, but cannot be expelled from the Russian Federation for humanitarian reasons;
Therefore, the coverage of temporary asylum is wider than that of the refugee status.
WHAT CAN BE CONSIDERED ‘HUMANITARIAN REASONS’?
Neither the Federal Refugees Act, nor the Government Resolution № 274 contain the criteria for defining humanitarian reasons.
In practice, local authorities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs consider the following conditions as a ground for granting temporary asylum:
— risk of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
— severe illness and not being able to get adequate medical treatment in home countries;
— armed conflicts, epidemic, famine, natural or man-made emergency situations.
HOW DOES TEMPORARY ASYLUM DIFFER FROM THE REFUGEE STATUS?
— temporary asylum is granted for a period of up to 1 year, but can be prolonged annually for a period of up to 12 months if the circumstances that became the ground for its provision still apply (refugee status is issued without a specific validity period but with an obligatory annual reconsideration procedure);
— only refugees are guaranteed the right to social security, including assistance in placing children in kindergartens, schools, and vocational education institutes.
WHERE CAN I APPLY FOR TEMPORARY ASYLUM IN RUSSIA?
To get temporary asylum in Russia, you should file an application for temporary asylum in one of the regional offices of the National Migration Service of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Internal Affairs.
BEFORE YOU APPLY FOR TEMPORARY ASYLUM YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT:
Everybody has the right to access the procedure. This means that there can be no justification for a refusal to accept an application, even if you have violated the regime of staying in the country or do not have an ID;
Unlike applying for, e.g. a temporary residence permit, in case of both refugee status and temporary asylum, the application procedure implies not so much submitting documents, but rather an interview, during which an asylum seeker tells his or her story and provides reasons why he or she has been forced to leave his homeland.
In this case, the main document is precisely the person’s story, as well as the question form and the in-depth questionnaire that are filled on its basis.
The remaining documents are provided by an asylum seeker only as an addition.
Although there are no grounds for refusing to accept applications, and the Federal Refugees Act does not require an asylum seeker to have a passport, in practice, when applying for asylum to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the following documents are requested:
— an application form for temporary asylum, indicating the reasons why the person has been forced to leave his or her homeland;
— two photographs taken at the time of application, in black and white or in color, 35:45 mm;
— a national passport or another document proving the identity of a foreign citizen or stateless person (together with a translation).
THE PROCEDURE OF APPLYING FOR TEMPORARY ASYLUM INCLUDES:
— interview and filling out a question form and an in-depth questionnaire;
— identification of the applicant’s identity, which involves taking fingerprints and photos, as well as verification process using the databases of the National Migration Service, the Federal Security Service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs;
— consideration of the application (within 3 months), during which the applicant can provide additional documents justifying what he or she said during the interview.
If you have been denied access to the procedure or if you have not been granted asylum following the examination of the application, you have the right to appeal the actions and omissions of officials to higher authorities and / or the court.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THOSE GRANTED TEMPORARY ASYLUM?
— a person who has been granted temporary asylum cannot be returned against his will to the territory of the state of which he is a citizen or, in the case of stateless persons, to the country of his former residence;
— those granted temporary asylum or refugee status are allowed to work without any special permission;
— they can also enjoy other rights stipulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation and international treaties, including basic agreements in the field of human rights.
LINKS TO IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS:
- Federal Refugee Act
- Administrative regulation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation on the consideration of applications for refugee status and for temporary asylum
- Government Resolution “On the temporary asylum procedure in the Russian Federation”.
The memo has been prepared by Maria Danilkina, a volunteer of the Civic Assistance Committee
Illustration by Ezra Smith
Translated by Alena Zhogol