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


Cyprus Refugee Council Visit Website

In Cyprus, asylum seekers are not systematically detained. Asylum seekers, who are detained, are, for the most part, persons who have submitted an asylum application after they were arrested and detained under the presumption that all such applications are submitted in order to frustrate the removal process, even where the persons have recently entered the country (see Grounds for Detention). In other cases, persons have been arrested for an irregular stay in the country or are detained as a consequence of a criminal law sanction and apply for asylum once they are in prison or detention. However, there are still cases of persons being arrested soon after arriving in the country, even though they presented themselves to the authorities to apply for asylum.

Asylum seekers can be detained in the Detention Centre Menogia, which is a pre-removal detention centre and the only detention centre currently in the country, with a capacity of 128 persons. Asylum seekers may also be detained in holding cells in Police stations across the country. In 2002, 20 police stations were used for this purpose, whereas in 2023, 22 police stations were used with a total capacity is 194 persons.[1] Holding cells should only be used for periods of 48 hours as the conditions do not permit longer stays. However, due to lack of capacity in Menogia, persons are often detained for long periods in holding cells.

Menogia should only be used to detain persons who are in removal procedures. Therefore, persons who have applied for asylum whilst in a holding cell, and while the detention order is issued based on the Refugee Law, should not be transferred to Menogia, although in practice this is not always adhered to. There is no detention centre for the detention of asylum seekers. Based on monitoring visits carried out by the Cyprus Refugee Council, the average number of asylum seekers detained in the main Detention Centre Menogia has gradually decreased from 2021. In 2022, there was an increase in the number of persons, including asylum seekers, detained in police holding cells, a trend which has continued throughout 2023. In 2022 the number of asylum seekers detained in Menogia ranged from 20 to 35 whereas in 2023 the number ranged from 8 to 12 persons at any given point. Specifically, in January 2024, there were a total of 119 persons detained in Menogia, out of which approximately 12 were asylum seekers.[2]

Asylum seekers’ freedom of movement is also restricted while staying in Pournara[3] (see section on  Freedom of Movement), and although the duration of stay has been reduced in 2023, in comparison to previous years, to an average of 30-40 days for adults and 80 days for UASC, it is still much longer than the initially planned 72 hours. Moreover, there is no legal basis for the restriction of movement during this time leading to a situation of de facto detention (for details on the conditions in Pournara see Types of accommodation).




[1]          Information provided by Cyprus Police.

[2]          Information provided by the Cyprus Police.

[3]          See AIDA 2020 and 2021 for information on extended stay in Pournara during these periods.

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