Safe country of origin


Country Report: Safe country of origin Last updated: 28/04/21


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 utilised 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 was published in May 2020,[4] increasing the number of safe countries of origin from 1 to 21 countries, with the intention to utilise widely the accelerated procedures. However, in practice it was not used as much as expected.[5]

[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.

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