Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 08/04/22


Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

Article 12B-ter of the Refugee Law defines safe country of origin with reference to the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. This includes countries set out in a common EU list,[1] as well as the possibility to designate additional countries based on a range of sources of information, as per Article 37 of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive.

The “safe country of origin” concept may be used as a ground for channelling the application in the accelerated procedure.[2]

The safe country of origin was used for the first time in mid-2019 with the issuance of a Ministerial Decision determining Georgia as such a country and initiated, also for the first time, the use of accelerated procedures to examine asylum applications submitted by Georgians (see section on Accelerated Procedure).[3] The new list, increasing the number of safe countries of origin from 1 to 21, was published in May 2020,[4], with the intention to utilise widely the accelerated procedures. However, in practice it was not used as much as expected.[5] In May 2021, the number of countries listed as safe was once again increased, going from 21 to 29.[6] For what was observed, however, there was no significant increase in the use of accelerated procedures.[7]

[1] While the recast Asylum Procedures Directive currently provides no legal basis for an EU list, this could be done through the adoption of the Commission proposal for a Regulation establishing a common EU list of safe countries of origin.

[2] Article 12Δ(1) Refugee Law.

[3] Ministerial Decision on Safe Countries, available in Greek at:

[4] Ministerial Decision on Safe Countries, available in Greek at:

[5] Based on information provided by Cyprus Refugee Council.

[6] Ministerial Decision on Safe Countries, available in Greek at: The countries included in the updated list are:1. Egypt; 2. Albania; 3. Algeria; 4. Armenia; 5. Vietnam; 6. Northern Macedonia; 7. Bosnia and Herzegovina; 8. Georgia; 9. Gambia; 10. Ghana; 11. India; 12. Kenya; 13. Kosovo; 14. Morocco; 15. Montenegro; 16. Mongolia; 17. Moldova; 18. Bangladesh; 19. Benin; 20. Nepal; 21. Nigeria; 22. Ukraine (excluding Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions); 23. Pakistan; 24. Senegal; 25. Serbia; 26. Sri Lanka; 27. Togo; 28. Tunisia; 29. Philippines. Ukraine is still included in the list despite the start of the conflict and the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive.

[7] Based on cases reviewed by the 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