Rights and obligations in the context of reception

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What shall I expect if I am an applicant for international protection in an EU Member State?

According to the law of the European Union from the moment that you have expressed your wish to apply for international protection to the national authorities of an EU Member State, you and – if applicable - your immediate family members are entitled to the following rights, irrespective of the country in which your asylum application will be processed:

Access to accommodation, food, and clothing:

The Member State may either provide you with a place in a housing facility or provide you with the financial allowance that should cover the costs for housing.

Similarly, you may either receive your food/ water/clothing directly in your accommodation or you might receive a financial allowance to buy it yourself. With regard to the provision of food and clothing, you are entitled to appropriate food (including milk)/clothing for your baby or small children.

While the Member State will take your personal needs into account when assigning you to a housing facility, be aware that you might not have access to a private housing and that you might need to change housing facility while you are awaiting a decision on your application for international protection. Member States may decide to carry out a basic medical examination before you are allowed to access accommodation.

Access to health care:

If you have any urgent health needs or require any treatment for serious illnesses or mental disorders you are entitled to receive treatment from a medical professional in the Member State. If you have any special needs, e.g. if you are pregnant, you are entitled to with the appropriate medical assistance.

Access to a daily expenses allowance to cover essential needs beyond housing, food and clothing:

In addition to accommodation, food and clothing, you have a right to obtain essentials, such as requisites needed for infant care or school utencils.The Member State can decide to provide you with these essentials in-kind or to provide you with a financial allowance that should suffice to purchase these essentials. At the same time, you are entitled to receive a part of your daily expenses allowance in cash. Daily allowances differ between Member States due to the fact that the costs of living is different in each Member State.

Access to information on services - obligations:

No later than 15 days after you have formally lodged your application for international protection, you will receive information from the Member State’s authorities on the benefits to which you are entitled and the obligations with which you need to comply.

At the same time, the Member State need to provide you with the contacts of organisations that can provide you with legal assistance or that can guide you with regard to these benefits and obligations. All information provided by the Member State will be in a language that you can reasonably understand.

Access to education for minors:

In case you have a child that is younger than 18 years, the Member State will provide your child with access to education at the latest three months after you have lodged your application.  Be aware that the Member State may organise classes within the accommodation centre, until you are granted international protection.


Access to the labour market:

During the first nine months following the lodging of your application for international protection you might not be authorised to work in the Member State where you are residing.Afterwards you are entitled to work unless authorities can show that you are responsible for delaying the processing of your application with the authorities.Be aware, however, that your access to certain jobs may be limited by the fact that priority is given to citizens from the EU and possibly from other countries with which the EU is directly cooperating.

Do you have any special needs ?

From the moment that your asylum request starts being processed by an EU Member State, the authorities are required to identify and take into account any needs you might have resulting from your age, gender, sexual orientation, physical and mental conditions.However, in addition, you should take the initiative and express any special needs you might have, resulting, for example, from a disability, from the fact that you have serious physical or psychological health needs, from a pregnancy, from the fact that you are elderly, from the fact that you are a single parent with minor children or from the fact that you are a victim of trafficking, torture, rape or any other form of physical, psychological or sexual violence, such as female genital mutilation.These vulnerabilities  should be assessed and taken into account by the Member State during your further stay within the reception system. 

What are my obligations if I am an applicant for international protection in an EU member State?

Apart from these rights, there are also important obligations under the EU law with which you must comply at all times:

Stay in the Member State you applied
Most importantly, you have to stay within the Member State in which your asylum request is being processed. In addition, a Member State may decide to restrict your freedom of movement to a certain geographic area within the territory or to a specific place of residence.

Follow House Rules
Another very important obligation is to follow at all times the house rules of the accommodation to which you have been assigned, including your conduct in relation with other applicants and officials of the reception authority. At the same time, a Member State may require that you to contribute to the costs of some of the services described above if you have the sufficient means to do so.

Cooperate with the Authorities
Lastly, a breach of obligation to cooperate at all times with the authorities during the asylum procedure may also have an impact on your entitlements within reception context.

Be aware that the Member State’s authority has the right to limit some of your rights if you do not comply with your obligations listed above. 

Download EASO leaflet [EN]