How to apply for asylum in the Republic of the Congo

To apply for asylum in the Republic of the Congo (RC), if you are in the RC, you want to contact the closest office of the local competent authorities or the closest office of the UNHCR.

The Republic of the Congo is a member state of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe are all member states of ECCAS. All citizens of these countries should enjoy freedom of movement in any of these countries. That means that they can travel, work and study in any of these countries.

The Republic of the Congo (RC) is also known as Congo-Brazzaville. Most websites linked in this article are in English or French. If you need, use Google Translate, Tarjimly, or any other translation app.

Asylum process in Congo-Brazzaville

The asylum process before the local authorities is free and free of charge for asylum seekers and refugees.

To apply for asylum in Congo-Brazzaville, if you are in Congo-Brazzaville, you want to contact the closest office of the competent authorities, the closest office of the UNHCR.

You want to apply for asylum within thirty days of entering the territory of the Congo-Brazzaville. After this period, you may be questioned about your delay by the competent services.

Asylum seeker is a general expression used to designate a person whose application for refugee status has not yet been the subject of a decision. It can refer to a person who has not yet submitted their request or who is waiting for a response.

All asylum seekers have the right to access refugee status determination procedures.

The asylum seeker or refugee cannot be subject to measures restricting freedom of movement on national territory. However, he is required to inform the competent authority in the event of a change of address.

No asylum seeker or refugee will be expelled or returned, in any way whatsoever, beyond the borders of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened,

Every refugee residing in the territory has the right to a refugee identity card. He is also entitled to a refugee travel document unless there are compelling reasons for national security or public order that oppose it. The refugee identity card is renewable by the competent authorities until the legal establishment of the refugee residence of the refugee on the territory of another country or the acquisition of Congolese nationality by naturalization.

The refugee status determination procedure before the competent authorities is free of charge for the applicant.

The lawyer’s fees, if any, the interpreter’s intervention costs and other legal fees are borne by the public treasury.

The files of asylum seekers requesting urgent protection are examined as a matter of priority and within a reasonable time.

The competent authorities are required to take all necessary measures within the framework of asylum procedures to ensure that the unity of the refugee’s family is maintained.

When the head of the family is recognized as a refugee, he automatically grants refugee status to his dependent family members, according to the principle of family unity.

The principle of family unity also applies in cases of family reunification, in particular where family members and other dependents did not apply for refugee status at the same time as the principal applicant, provided that these were declared by him.

Children, in particular unaccompanied children or children separated from their families, benefit from specific guarantees relating to their situation.

Any person not eligible for refugee status, but who presents compelling reasons allowing him to benefit from an alternative status in the host country, has subsidiary protection.

The State grants subsidiary protection to any person who does not meet the conditions for being recognized as a refugee and who has compelling reasons to be protected.

Refugees living in the territory have the right to employment, social security, housing, health and education.

Sources: Loi n°41‐2021 du 29 septembre 2021

The cover image is somewhere in RC. Photo by Valdhy Mbemba on Unsplash