General (scope, grounds for accelerated procedures, time limits)
As in the regular procedure, the Asylum Service is the authority responsible for taking decisions at first instance in accelerated procedures.
Article 12Δ of the Refugee Law provides that an accelerated procedure is applied by order of priority and within 30 days after the asylum application is made, where the responsible officer considers that the applicant:
- Comes from a country where there is no serious risk of persecution;
- Comes from a safe third country;
- Comes from a safe European third country;
- Comes from a safe country of origin;
- Lodges an inadmissible application;
- Comes from a first country of asylum;
- Meets one of the following criteria:
- the applicant, in submitting his/her application and presenting the facts, has only raised issues that are not relevant or of minimal relevance to the examination of whether he or she qualifies as a refugee;
- the applicant is from a safe country of origin within the meaning of the Law;
- the applicant has misled the authorities by presenting false information or documents or by withholding relevant information or documents with respect to his or her identity and/or nationality that could have had a negative impact on the decision;
- it is likely that, in bad faith, the applicant has destroyed or disposed of an identity or travel document that would have helped establish his or her identity or nationality;
- the applicant has made clearly inconsistent and contradictory, clearly false or obviously improbable representations which contradict sufficiently verified country-of-origin information, thus making his or her claim clearly unconvincing in relation to whether he or she qualifies as a beneficiary of international protection by virtue ofthe Law;
- the applicant has introduced a subsequent application for international protection that is not inadmissible in accordance with Article 16Δ;
- the applicant is making an application merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of an earlier or imminent decision which would result in his or her removal;
- the applicant entered the territory of the Republic unlawfully or prolonged his or her stay unlawfully and, without good reason, has either not presented himself or herself to the authorities or not made an application for international protection as soon as possible, given the circumstances of his or her entry;
- the applicant may, for serious reasons, be considered a danger to the national security or public order, or has been forcibly expelled for serious reasons of public security or public order under national law;
- the applicant refuses to comply with an obligation to have his or her fingerprints taken in accordance with the Eurodac Regulation.
According to the Law, the 30-day time limit to issue a decision may be extendedfor a period that does not exceed two months upon the recommendation of the case examiner and approval by the Director of the Asylum Service.
In practice, until 2019 the accelerated procedure had never been used. In late 2019, a pilot for the accelerated procedure was initiated in the Pafos district in order to respond to the influx of one nationality, specifically Georgian nationals.In 2020, the procedure was not applied as expected due to measures taken to address COVID-19 and in anticipation of the amendment to the Law in October 2020, which reduced the deadline for appeal in such cases from 75 days to 15 days. Regardless of the amendments to the Law, throughout 2020 and 2021 accelerated procedures were still rarely used.
As is the case during the regular procedure, interviews of applicants during the accelerated procedure are to be carried out by the Asylum Service.The personal interview on the substance of the application may be omitted where:
- The Head of the Asylum Service is able to take a positive decision with regard to refugee status on the basis of available evidence;
- The Asylum Service is of the opinion that the applicant is unfit or unable to be interviewed owing to enduring circumstances beyond his or her control. When in doubt, the Asylum Service shall consult a medical professional to establish whether the condition that makes the applicant unfit or unable to be interviewed is of a temporary or enduring nature.
According to the Law, once a decision is issued under the accelerated procedure, access to the report or to the transcript of the audio/visual recording of the interview, where applicable, is granted at the same time the decision is made.
As the accelerated procedure has not been applied widely, there is no information available on the implementation of the procedure in practice.
An appeal can be submitted before the International Protection Administration Court (IPAC) against a decision issued in the accelerated procedure(see Regular Procedure). The procedure before the IPAC is the same as the procedure against a decision issued in the regular procedure, however the deadline to appeal is 15 days.
Following the amendments to the Refugee Law in October 2020, the Asylum Service currently issues a single negative and returns decision. For cases examined under the regular procedure, a returns decision is automatically suspended once an appeal is submitted. However, for appeals relating to cases examined in the accelerated procedure, subsequent applications, decisions that determine the asylum application unfounded or inadmissible, decisions related to explicit or implicit withdrawal the appeal does not have automatic suspensive effect and a separate application must be submitted to the IPAC requesting the right to remain pending the examination of the appeal. The procedure to submit an application for the right to remain is not provided for in the procedural rules and thus there is no available application form or given process aside from jurisprudence which holds that the right to remain must be requested within the given deadline for the submission of the appeal. If the right to remain is submitted in time, the returns decision is automatically suspended.
As the accelerated procedure was initiated for the first time in late 2019, and not widely applied throughout 2020 and 2021, there is not a lot of available information on the implementation yet, including on the submission of appeals under this procedure.
See the section on Regular Procedure.
 Article 12A Refugee Law.
 Article 12B Refugee Law.
 Article 12B-bis Refugee Law.
 Article 12B-ter Refugee Law.
 Article 12B-quater Refugee Law.
 Article 12B-quinquies Refugee Law.
 Article 12Δ(4) Refugee Law.
 Article 12B-ter Refugee Law.
 Article 12Δ(5)(β) Refugee Law.
 Article 12A IPAC Law.
 Article 12Δ(2) Refugee Law.
 Article 13A(2) Refugee Law.
 Article 11 IPAC Law.
 Article 12A IPAC Law.
 Article 8 (1A) Refugee Law.