Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 09/05/24


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Dublin statistics: 1 January – 31 December 2023

Outgoing procedure Incoming procedure
Requests Accepted Transfers Requests Accepted Transfers
Total 2068 1719 1709 Total 448 161 18
Germany 980 868 636 Germany 189 42 3
France 411 388 0 France 69 40 0
Bulgaria 146 139 65 Austria 62 34 0
Finland 120 79 62 Belgium 27 12 0
Belgium 95 70 35 Netherlands 21 3 0

Source: Asylum Service.

Outgoing Dublin requests by criterion: 2023
Dublin III Regulation criterion Requests sent Requests accepted
Take charge”: Articles 8-15: 254 130
 Article 8 (minors) 230 119
 Article 9 (family members granted protection) 17 9
 Article 10 (family members pending determination) 4 2
 Article 11 (family procedure) 1 0
 Article 12 (visas and residence permits) 12 0
 Article 13 (entry and/or remain) 0 0
 Article 14 (visa free entry) 0 0
“Take charge”: Article 16 12 6
“Take charge” humanitarian clause: Article 17(2) 1765 (1528 VSM) 1579 (1474 VSM)
“Take back”: Article 18 36 3
 Article 18 (1) (b) 34 3
 Article 18 (1) (c) 0 0
 Article 18 (1) (d) 2 0
 Article 20(5) 0 0

Source: Asylum Service.

Incoming Dublin requests by criterion: 2023
Dublin III Regulation criterion Requests received Requests accepted
“Take charge”: Articles 8-15 60 23
 Article 8 (minors) 1 0
 Article 9 (family members granted protection) 0 0
 Article 10 (family members pending determination) 0 0
 Article 11 (family procedure) 4 0
 Article 12 (visas and residence permits) 46 20
 Article 13 (entry and/or remain) 3 0
 Article 14 (visa free entry) 0 0
“Take charge”: Article 16 0 0
“Take charge” humanitarian clause: Article 17(2) 0 0
“Take back”: Articles 18 and 20(5) 448 161
 Article 18 (1) (b) 432 156
 Article 18 (1) (c) 1 0
 Article 18 (1) (d) 15 5
 Article 20(5) 0 0

Source: Asylum Service.


Application of the Dublin criteria

The applicant is interviewed by Dublin Unit officers of the Asylum Service and all documents and information are collected in collaboration with them. For unaccompanied minors, both the interview and family tracing are done in the presence and with the collaboration of the Social Welfare Service’s officers. Following this, the request is submitted via ‘DubliNet’ to the relevant Member State.[1]

In practice, the evidential requirements requested from the asylum seeker that are needed to prove family links are mostly documents that prove familial relationship with the individual in question, such as identity documents, family registration documents, birth/marriage certificates, photographs, any documents available and, when necessary, DNA tests. The authorities conducting the Dublin procedure will apply the family provisions even if the asylum seeker has not indicated the existence of family members in another Member State from the outset.[2]

The criterion most frequently used in practice for incoming requests is previous applications for international protection; for outgoing requests, family unity for unaccompanied children.[3]


The dependent persons and discretionary clauses

The humanitarian clause may be applied when the other criteria are not applicable and humanitarian reasons arise, whereas the sovereignty clause may be applied when the transfer is not going to be implemented within the time limits for reasons not foreseen in the Regulation, i.e., health issues.[4] In 2022, 90 take charge requests were made under the humanitarian clause, 27 of which were accepted. One such case concerns an adult male from Ivory Coast, with severe mental health issues whose application to be transferred to France to their sister, under the humanitarian clause, was approved.

In June 2022, the voluntary relocation program was agreed with the aim of providing concrete support to frontline countries (MED5) to manage increased flows of asylum seekers.
The program is supported by EU funding, at the request of the concerned Member States, with assistance from the EU Asylum Agency and IOM. More specifically, resettlement activities are 100% financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). The transfers are carried out with the cooperation of the Asylum Service of the Ministry of the Interior of Cyprus, the European Asylum Service (EUAA), the European Commission and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).[5] In December 2022, the first relocations of 48 Syrian and Afghan refugees took place.[6]

In 2023, 1,773 persons have been relocated, mainly to Germany and France, and some to Romania, Bulgaria, Belgium, Finland, Norway, and Portugal. Persons relocated are mainly nationals from Syria, Afghanistan and smaller numbers from Iraq, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Somalia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, and Palestine. The Program is expected to continue in 2024 with the existing Pledges from the supporting countries for 2023 still in place. In January 2024, 15 persons were transferred and there are more persons scheduled to be transferred in February and March 2024.[7]

In view of the rise of asylum seekers from Syria requesting relocation to other EU Member States, upon arrival, in mid-2023 the government decided to exclude new asylum seekers from the voluntary relocation Program to act as a deterrent to future arrivals. Persons arriving in Cyprus from January 2023 onwards are not eligible to the Program.[8] However, the majority of asylum seekers are not aware of this limitation and continue to request upon arrival when they will be relocated.[9]



All asylum seekers aged 14 and over as well as their dependants, also aged 14 and over, are systematically fingerprinted and checked in Eurodac.[10] There is no specific policy in place for cases where applicants refuse to be fingerprinted and, to CyRC’s knowledge, there have been no cases to indicate such practice.

The Dublin procedure is systematically applied in all cases;[11] when lodging an application for asylum, the applicant also fills in a Dublin questionnaire where they have to state any previous travel or any relatives present in another Member State. Should they have travelled through another Member State or have relatives present in one Member State, the Dublin Unit invites the applicant for an interview.

Despite improvements in 2021 in relation to the submission of Take Charge Requests within the timeline set by the Dublin Regulation, delays were observed in the first half of 2022 in cases of adults and unaccompanied children alike. The situation improved during the second half of 2022 and throughout 2023 as the team handling TCRs was staffed with additional personnel.[12]


Individualised guarantees

The Dublin Unit seeks individualised guarantees that the asylum seeker will have adequate reception conditions and access to the asylum procedure upon transfer to countries facing difficulties in their asylum systems.[13] Such guarantees are sought after the responsible Member State has agreed to take charge of/take back the applicant.


When another EU Member State accepts responsibility for the asylum applicant, it takes on average three-six months[14] before the applicant is transferred to the responsible Member State. Asylum seekers are not detained for the purpose of transfers, whereas the actual transfer takes place under supervision or when necessary, under escort.

During 2020, and despite COVID-19 measures, transfers were not suspended and had to be carried out within the designated deadline. In the event that the transfer was not executed within the deadline, the responsibility would shift back to Cyprus, however no such cases were reported. Similarly, no such cases occurred in 2022.[15]

Transfers carried out: 2019-2022
2020 2021 2022 2023
47 27 119 (Out of which 47 were under Relocation programs) 1617(Out of which 1343 were under Relocation programs)


Personal interview

The interview for the Dublin procedure is carried out by the Dublin Unit of the Asylum Service. These interviews are conducted in the same manner as in the regular procedure, meaning that an interpreter is always available when needed and applicants can choose the gender of the interpreter[16] and/or interviewer.[17]

The interview for the Dublin procedure focuses on determining the Member State responsible for examining the application for international protection. For possible “take back” cases, questions focus on the applicants’ entry into other Member States prior to reaching Cyprus, whether they have applied for asylum in said countries as well as the reasons for applying, the duration of stay along with specific dates of entry, and the reason for leaving the country. For family unity reasons, questions focus on whether the individual has family members in other Member States, as well the relationship with the individual in question, their relatives’ status in the country, and whether they can obtain any documents proving the familial relationship. Applicants are also informed about the Dublin procedure, what it entails, and the possibilities and effect on the case.[18]



The law allows for an appeal against Dublin decisions before the IPAC during which the applicant has a right to remain within the territory.[19] The rules and procedure are the same as in in the regular procedure (see Regular Procedure: Appeal).

The majority of cases are not challenged by asylum seekers, as they are related to family unity reasons and the asylum seekers’ preference is to not remain in Cyprus.


Legal assistance

There is no access to free legal assistance from the State during first instance Dublin procedures. Such cases can be assisted by the free legal assistance provided for by NGOs under project funding, but their capacity is extremely limited (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). Legal aid is offered by the State only for the judicial review of the Dublin decision by the IPAC.[20] The application for legal aid is subject to a “means and merits” test and is extremely difficult to be awarded (see Regular Procedure: Legal Assistance). However, asylum seekers, as stated above, rarely submit appeals against the Dublin transfer; as such, no free legal assistance request has ever been submitted during the appeal procedure.


Suspension of transfers

The majority of cases that fall under the Dublin procedure in Cyprus are outgoing requests from UASC and adult asylum seekers requesting to join family members in other Member States, or incoming requests from other Member states requesting for Cyprus to take responsibility (“take back” requests). In case a transfer is not possible within the time limits foreseen by the Dublin Regulation, Cyprus will assume responsibility for examining the asylum application and asylum seekers will have full access to reception conditions and all other rights enjoyed by asylum seekers.

There are no national court rulings on Dublin transfers.


The situation of Dublin returnees

Persons returned to Cyprus: 2016-2022  
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023
4 5 6 1 2 1 10 18

Asylum seekers transferred back from another Member State who had not been issued with a first instance decision prior to their departure from RoC were, in most cases, not detained upon return and the examination of the asylum application resumed. However, in 2023 and early 2024 there were cases identified where the asylum application was considered to have been implicitly withdrawn and the asylum seekers were detained upon return.[21]

In the event that asylum seekers returned are not detained, they have a right to reception conditions. However, they will face the same difficulties all asylum seekers face in accessing reception conditions (see section: Reception Conditions). If they have no place to stay on their own, they may be transferred to Kofinou Reception Centre, which is an open centre for asylum seekers, however usually there is no availability at the Centre. If there is no availability at the Centre and in view of the lack of other accommodation options for asylum seekers, they may become homeless or be hosted by other asylum seekers in below standard accommodation. In cases of vulnerable persons, they may be provided with accommodation by the social welfare services but this is not always ensured and stay is temporary (usually 3 months), after which the asylum seeker is expected to have identified accommodation alternatives without assistance.[22]

In February and December 2021, two Dutch Courts allowed asylum applicants whose first asylum country was Cyprus to be included in the Dutch asylum procedure, as they would not benefit from adequate reception conditions in Cyprus, and the alternative of returning to Cyprus entailed the risk of being subjected to degrading or inhumane treatment due to bad reception conditions. Both decisions also referred to Pournara and the low standard of living conditions.[23]

There is no information available as to whether requests sent to the Dublin Unit ask for the provision of individual guarantees for incoming transfers.

For asylum seekers transferred back from another Member State and for whom a final decision had already been issued prior to their departure from RoC, deportation procedures are initiated.






[1] Information provided by Cyprus Refugee Council.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Cyprus Asylum Service.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Asylum Service, Relocation, available at: https://tinyurl.com/4xt27tfm

[6] Kathimerini, First group of asylum seekers relocated to Germany from Cyprus, 22 January 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3LsEx1c; Schengen Visa, First Group of Asylum Seekers Gets Relocated From Cyprus  to Germany, 21 December 2022, available at: https://bit.ly/3JFjeHh.

[7] Information provided by the Asylum Service.

[8] InfoMigrants, Cyprus excludes new asylum seekers from resettlement scheme, 20 July 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3H26qJK

[9] Information provided by Cyprus Refugee Council.

[10] Article 11A Refugee Law.

[11] Article 11B Refugee Law.

[12] Information provided by cases represented by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[13] Information provided by the Dublin Unit, July 2017.

[14] Based on estimations from practical experience of the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[15] Information provided by the Asylum Service.

[16] Article 13A(9)(c).

[17] Article 13A(9)(b).

[18] Information provided by testimonies of individuals who have undergone a Dublin interview.

[19] Articles 12A(η) IPAC Law.

[20] Article 68(8) Legal Aid Law.

[21] Information provided by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[22] Information provided by the Cyprus Refugee Council.

[23] Court of The Hague, case NL21.2036, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3IU5xCG; Court of the Hague, NL21.17448 en NL.1745, available in Dutch at: https://bit.ly/3KtS3Op.

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