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Migration and Home Affairs


Non-custodial measures used to monitor and / or limit the movement of third-country nationals in order to ensure compliance with international protection and return procedures.


Derived by EMN from Art. 8(4) of Directive 2013/33/EU (Recast Reception Conditions Directive).


  • BG: алтернатива на задържане
  • CS: alternativa k zajištění
  • DE: Alternative zur Inhaftierung / Alternative zur Inhaftnahme / Haftalternative ; Alternative zur Schubhaft / gelinderes Mittel (AT)
  • EL: εναλλακτικά της κράτησης μέτρα
  • EN: alternative to detention
  • ES: alternativas al internamiento
  • ET: kinnipidamise alternatiivid
  • FI: säilöönotolle vaihtoehtoiset turvaamistoimet
  • FR: alternative à la rétention
  • GA: malairt ar choinneáil (iolra: malairtí ar choinneáil)
  • HR: alternativa detenciji/alternativa ograničenju slobode kretanja
  • HU: a fogvatartás alternatívái
  • IT: disposizione alternativa al trattenimento
  • LT: alternatyvi sulaikymui priemonė
  • LV: alternatīva aizturēšanai
  • MT: Alternattiva għad-detenzjoni
  • NL: alternatief voor bewaring (NL); alternatief voor detentie (BE)
  • PL: alternatywa wobec zatrzymania
  • PT: alternativa à detenção
  • RO: alternativa la masura detentiei
  • SK: alternatíva k zaisteniu / alternatíva zaistenia
  • SL: alternativa pridržanju / alternativa odvzemu prostosti
  • SV: alternativ till förvar
  • NO: alternativ til forvaring
  • KA: დაკავების ალტერნატივა
  • UK: альтернатива триманню під вартою
  • HY: կալանքի այլընտրանքային միջոց

Related Term(s)


  1. As a general principle the consideration of alternatives to detention is only relevant and legal when there are legitimate grounds to detain third-country nationals (for more information see the entry of detention in this glossary). Alternatives to detention usually provide more favourable ('less coercive') conditions for the potential detainee, and may also be more cost-efficient.
  2. The alternatives, many of which can be used in combination with each other, can be broadly grouped under the following categories:
    • obligation to surrender passports or travel documents;
    • residence restrictions which impose the duty of remaining at a particular address or residing within a specific geographical area often combined with regular reporting requirements. The designated places can be open or semi-open facilities run by the government or NGOs, as well as hotels, hostels or private addresses. The regime imposed can vary, but people generally have to be present at the designated location at certain times, while absences are usually only allowed with a well-founded justification;
    • release on bail and provision of sureties by third parties;
    • supervision which obliges people to report to the police or immigration authorities at regular intervals, and which is one of the more frequent alternatives to detention found in national legislation. Reporting duties on a daily, bi-weekly, weekly or even less frequent basis may also be imposed as an additional requirement to the obligation to reside at a specified place;
    • placement in open facilities with caseworker support which is an innovative alternative to detention; asylum seekers or people in return procedures are placed in open facilities and provided with individual coaches or counsellors to inform and advise them about their situation and options;
    • electronic monitoring which is the most intrusive of the various alternatives to detention as it substantially interferes with a person's right to privacy, restricts freedom of movement and can have a negative impact on their dignity. It can also lead to discrimination through the potential association of people wearing an electronic device with criminals.
  3. Reception facilities can be considered an alternative to detention only in cases where the individual concerned has to report regularly to the competent authorities, or if there are residency requirements.
  4. For further information see EMN: Use of detention and alternatives to detention in the context of immigration policies, 2014 and EMN: Detention and Alternatives to detention in international protection and return procedures, 2021.