Place of detention


Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 30/11/20


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As mentioned above, asylum seekers may be detained either in Temporary Installation Centres (CIT),[1] or in detention facilities at the border – which are not CIT per se but have been qualified as such by law for the purposes of detention following an entry refusal at the border[2] (see Detention: General).

According to SEF, detention of asylum seekers is limited to applicants at the border who are subject to detention in transit areas. The 3 detention facilities at the border are located in the international area of Lisbon, Porto and Faro airports and have separated detention areas for asylum seekers:

Detention capacity in border detention centres: 2019

Detention centre


Total capacity

Detention facility – Lisbon airport


Detention facility – Porto airport


Detention facility – Faro airport




Source: SEF. This refers to the total capacity of the detention centres and is thus not limited to asylum seekers specifically.


Additionally, CIT-UHSA has an overall capacity for 30 persons.

With the exception of instances of temporary overcrowding at the Lisbon Airport’s detention facility which at times entail the transfer of certain asylum seekers to airport detention facilities in Porto and Faro airports or to CIT – UHSA, where they will be with other migrants in detention following a removal decision, CPR is unaware of the detention of asylum seekers with other migrants, in police stations or in regular prisons for the purposes of the asylum procedure.

[1] Article 35-A(2) and (3) Asylum Act. The legal framework of detention centres is enshrined in Act 34/94 of 14 September 1994, available in Portuguese at:

[2] Council of Ministers Resolution 76/97 and Decree-Law 85/2000 of 12 May 2000, available in Portuguese respectively at: and


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