When to apply?
If you have valid reasons for seeking asylum, you must submit your application together with all your family members as soon as you arrive in Cyprus. If you entered Cyprus without authorization or documents, you must present yourself to the authorities without undue delay. If you are already in Cyprus and are afraid to return to your country because of events that occurred since your departure, you can also apply for asylum.
Whether you have arrived in Cyprus by choice, or unintentionally, you must apply for asylum in Cyprus once you are here, even if you intend to move on to another country under the Dublin Regulation.
When you submit your application, your fingerprints will be taken, as well as the fingerprints of all your family members included in your application. This is a requirement. Children under the age of 14 do not have to give fingerprints.
Where to apply?
You can make your application for asylum at any legal entry point to Cyprus – namely Larnaca Airport, Pafos Airport, Larnaca Sea Port and Limassol Sea Port – as well as at the Police Immigration Office of your District.
You can apply for asylum at the Immigration Office even if you do not have a passport, identity card or any other travel or identity documents.
Asylum applications are thus submitted to Immigration Police, and the competent authority that receives the applications is the Asylum Service of the Ministry of Interior.
Who can apply for Asylum?
If you have left your country owing to fear of persecution or other serious threats to your life or freedom, you may seek international protection by applying for asylum in Cyprus.
Specifically, you can apply for asylum if:
- you cannot or do not want to return to your country because you are afraid of being persecuted due to your race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.
- you cannot or do not want to return to your country because you are afraid you will suffer serious and unjustified harm such as:
- the death penalty or execution;
- torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
- serious and individual threat by reason of indiscriminate violence in situations of international or internal armed conflict.
If your application is accepted, you will receive a recognition letter that either recognizes you as a refugee or gives you subsidiary protection.
Who is an asylum-seeker?
When people flee their home country to seek protection in another State, they often have to individually apply for asylum under the national asylum procedure. While their case is pending a final decision, they are known as asylum-seekers. Not every asylum-seeker may ultimately be recognized as a refugee (or given another form of protection), but every refugee is initially an asylum-seeker.
Who is a refugee?
According to Article 1 A of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is someone who: “is outside his or her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.”