Registration of the asylum application


Country Report: Registration of the asylum application Last updated: 10/07/24


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Making and registering an application

An asylum application can only be lodged within the territory and specifically in the areas under the effective control of the RoC. There is no possibility to lodge an asylum application at embassies, consulates or other external representation of the country or in the areas in the north that are not under the effective control of the RoC.

According to the Refugee Law,[1] an asylum application is addressed to the Asylum Service, a department of the Ministry of Interior. However, the Aliens and Immigration Unit (AIU), an office within the police, is primarily responsible for receiving and registering applications for international protection on behalf of the Asylum Service (including fingerprinting for EURODAC and Dublin purposes). AIU is also responsible for implementing detention and deportation orders issued by the Director of the CRMD. The Cypriot police is also responsible for facilitating and maintaining migration related IT-systems, such as the Eurodac and DubliNet NAP.[2]

The Law states that the AIU has three working days after the application is made to register it and must then refer it immediately to the Asylum Service for examination. In cases where the applicant is in prison or detention, the application is made at the place of imprisonment or detention.[3] If the application is made to authorities, who may receive such applications but are not competent to register such applications, that authority shall ensure that the application is registered no later than six working days after the application is made.[4] Furthermore, if a large number of simultaneous requests from third country nationals or stateless persons makes it very difficult in practice to meet the deadline for the registration of the application, these requests are registered no later than 10 working days after their submission.[5]

The Refugee law does not specify the time limit within which asylum seekers should make their application for asylum; it only specifies a time limit between making and lodging an application.[6] Furthermore, according to the Law,[7] applicants who have entered irregularly are not subjected to punishment solely due to their illegal entry or stay, as long as they present themselves to the authorities without undue delay and provide the reasons of illegal entry or stay. In practice, the majority of persons entering or staying in the country irregularly will not be arrested when they present themselves to apply for asylum unless there is an outstanding arrest warrant or if they were in the country before and there is a re-entry ban. In limited cases, persons may be arrested when they present themselves to apply due to their irregular entry or stay even if there is no arrest warrant or re-entry ban (see Access to the Territory).[8]

According to the Refugee Law,[9] if an asylum seeker did not make an application for international protection as soon as possible, and without having a good reason for the delay, the Accelerated Procedure can be applied,  however  in practice there are no indications that this is utilised for  applicants that are not from a ‘safe country’.[10] The fact that an asylum application was not made at the soonest possible time by an asylum seeker who entered legally or irregularly will often be taken into consideration during the substantial examination of the asylum application and as an indication of the applicant’s lack of credibility and/or intention to delay removal.[11]

In practice, since 2019 and the establishment of Pournara, the First Reception Centre in Kokkinotrimithia (see Types of Accommodation), all persons who arrive in the areas under the effective control of the RoC in an irregular manner are referred to the Centre for registration. Persons who have arrived in a regular manner, as well as persons already residing in the country on other statuses or who are undocumented, make and lodge asylum applications at the AIU, an office within the Police of the city they are residing in and will not be referred to Pournara. There are AIU offices in each of the 5 districts in Cyprus (Nicosia, Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Ammochostos). Furthermore, in 2022 and 2023, persons who were already residing in the country were often referred to Pournara to make and lodge an asylum application but were not obliged to remain there.

The services provided at the First Reception Centre in Pournara include identification, registration, and lodging of asylum applications, as well as medical screening and vulnerability assessments; when possible, the full assessment of the asylum application is directly carried out at the Asylum Examination Centre adjacent to the ‘Pournara’ First Reception Centre. The duration of stay in the Centre is officially 72 hours, however this has never been the case and the duration has fluctuated over various periods from 2 weeks to several months. During 2022, the average duration of stay was 40-60 days however there are always cases that remain longer. Furthermore, the duration of stay for UASC was significantly longer and in 2022 on average 3 months.  In 2023, the average duration of stay was 30-40 days for adults but for UASC it was 80 days. Persons and families with vulnerabilities, as well as large families also face delays in exiting due to the obstacles in securing housing.

For persons held in the Menogia detention centre, asylum applications are received directly within the detention facilities. For persons detained in holding cells in police stations and prison, when they request to lodge an asylum application, the AIU is notified and sends a police officer of the AIU to receive the application. Access to asylum from prison has improved in 2022, whereas in cases of people detained in holding cells significant delays are still registered.[12] In 2023, access to asylum from prison was mostly without issue. However, access to asylum while in police holding cells still varies depending on the police stations.

During 2020 and 2021 access to Pournara to register asylum applications was problematic.[13] In early 2022, it was reported that every day on average 40-50 persons were not admitted for registration, and were forced to keep returning every morning until given access.[14] In late 2022, the situation remained the same and, due to the high number of arrivals, it was decided to admit a maximum of 60 persons per day to keep the numbers of persons in the Centre under control.  As a result, approximately 40 persons were denied admission each day, leading to some persons entering the Centre irregularly in order to find shelter and others sleeping outdoors in front of the registration gate in the hopes of securing a position in the queue the following day. Several makeshift tents and shelters appear at times around the centre, mostly inhabited by persons awaiting registration. Persons with a passport or some form of identification document are systematically given access faster.

In 2023, the number of arrivals decreased which led to a significant improvement in access to the Centre, with most persons having access upon arrival. However, there were still instances where persons who did not present passports were denied entry by the AIU for 2-3 days.[15]

Registrations carried out by the EUAA in Cyprus, reflecting the arrivals, decreased, from 19,078 in 2022, to 10,744 in 2023. 94% related to the top 10 citizenships of applicants, mainly from Syria (6,080), Nigeria (952), Afghanistan (734), Democratic Republic of Congo (466) and Cameroon (465).[16] In 2023, the EUAA carried out 5,816 registrations for temporary protection in Cyprus.[17]


Lodging an application

According to the law, the applicant must lodge the application within six working days from the date the application was “made” at the place that it was made, provided that it is possible to do so within that period.[18] If an application is not lodged within this time, the applicant is considered to have implicitly withdrawn or abandoned his or her application.[19] Finally, within three days from lodging the application, a confirmation that an application has been made must be provided.[20] In practice an application is made and lodged at the same time and a confirmation that the application has been made is issued. Therefore, there are rarely, if any, applications that will be considered to have been implicitly withdrawn or abandoned at this stage.

Fingerprints, according to the law, should be taken when an application is made.[21] However, in practice fingerprints are usually taken by the AIU when an application is lodged. Fingerprints are taken for applicants and all dependants aged 14 and over.

When lodging the application, the applicant is provided with an A4 paper form entitled “Confirmation of Submission of an Application for International Protection”. This document includes a photograph in addition to personal details. The application is also registered in the common asylum database, managed by the Asylum Service.

For applicants registering at Pournara Centre, all procedures are completed in the Centre, including identification, registration, and lodging of asylum applications as well as medical screenings, vulnerability assessments, and the issuance of the ARC number. The “Alien’s Registration Certificate” (ARC) is a 1-page document containing a registration number. This is also referred to as the “Alien’s Book”. Full access to reception conditions are subject to the issuance of an ARC number (see Criteria and restrictions to access reception conditions).

If the applicant applied at the AIU, they proceed with medical examinations at a public hospital. Upon receiving the results or at a given appointment, they are expected to return to the AIU and submit their medical results. The AIU will register the applicant in the aliens’ register and upon submitting their medical results they will receive an ARC. All results from the medical examinations are included in the applicants’ file maintained by the Asylum Service. The findings of the medical examinations may lead to referrals to State doctors, especially for urgent or transmittable conditions, however it hardly ever leads to alternative accommodation.[22]




[1] Article 11(1) Refugee Law.

[2] EASO, Operating Plan, Cyprus 2022-2024, available at:

[3] Article 11(2)(a) Refugee Law.

[4] Article 11(2)(b) Refugee Law.

[5] Article 11(2)(c) Refugee Law.

[6] Article 11(4)(a) Refugee Law.

[7] Article 7 Refugee Law.

[8] Information provided by the Cyprus Refugee Council based on monitoring visits to the detention centre.

[9] Article 12Δ(4)(i) Refugee Law.

[10] Information provided by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[11] Information provided by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[12] Information provided to the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[13] For detailed information, see the 2021 and 2022 Updates of the AIDA Country Report on Cyprus, available at:

[14] Information provided by Cyprus Refugee Council.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Information provided by the EUAA, 26 February 2024.

[17] Information provided by the EUAA, 26 February 2024.

[18] Article 11(4)(a) Refugee Law.

[19] Article 11(4)(c) Refugee Law.

[20] Article 8(1)(b) Refugee Law.

[21] Article 11A Refugee Law.

[22] Information provided by Cyprus Refugee Council.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation