Country Report: Statistics Last updated: 21/05/21


Portuguese Refugee Council Visit Website

Overview of statistical practice

The Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) publishes a yearly statistical report providing information on asylum applications: number, nationalities, place of application, gender, unaccompanied children, positive first instance decisions, relocation.[1] Parliament resolution no. 292/2018 recommended the publication of a yearly report on the national asylum policy. In May 2020, in response to this recommendation, the Observatory for Migration (OM) published its first Statistical Report of Asylum (2020).[2]

Applications and granting of protection status at first instance: 2020

  Applicants in 2020 Pending at end of 2020 Refugee status Subsidiary protection Rejection Refugee rate Sub. Prot. rate Rejection rate
Total 1,002 N.A. 77 17 753 9.1% 2% 88.9%

Breakdown by countries of origin of the total numbers


Gambia 157 N.A. 0 0 8 100%
Angola 117 N.A. 0 0 105 100%
Guinea Bissau 92 N.A. 0 0 11 100%
Morocco 85 N.A. 0 0 57 100%
Guinea 79 N.A. 0 0 11 100%
Senegal 79 N.A. 0 0 17 100%
Nigeria 42 N.A. 0 0 13 100%
Afghanistan 30 N.A. 0 1 2 33.3% 66.7%
DRC 28 N.A. 0 0 18 100%
Mali 25 N.A. 0 0 3 100%

Source: SEF (data). Rates are calculated by AIDA on the basis of such data. 


The above figures and rates only include in-merit decisions at first instance (both in the regular and in accelerated procedures). As such, inadmissibility decisions (410), including Dublin, are not included in the rejection figures. As further explained in the corresponding section of the report, in the national system, an application is examined on the merits if it is deemed admissible (and not processed under an accelerated procedure) or if the determining authority does not comply with the corresponding time limit. Admissibility decisions are not included in the table above as they do not grant protection to the applicant concerned. According to information provided by SEF, in 2020, 486 admissibility decisions were issued (for the top ten countries of origin: Gambia (49), Angola (58), Guinea Bissau (30), Morocco (4), Guinea (30), Senegal (28), Nigeria (21), Afghanistan (20), DRC (15), Mali (20)).

According to the Statistical Report of Asylum, “the increase of refusals [of applications for international protection] in recent years in Portugal, does not reflect an eventual increased restriction to international protection in the country, instead mirrors the increase of the number of applications for international protection [by applicants] of nationalities whose recognition rate […] has been minimal in the general context of EU 28 as well”.[3] This assessment seems to be exclusively linked to an analysis of the most representative nationalities and to the position of SEF, falling short from an analysis of the quality of the procedures.


Gender/age breakdown of the total number of applicants: 2020

  Number Percentage
Total number of applicants 1002 100%
Men 804 80.2%
Women 198 19.8%
Children 193 19.3%
Unaccompanied children 96 9.6%

Source: SEF (data). Rates are calculated by AIDA on the basis of such data. 

Information on appeals: 2020

According to information provided by the High Council of Administrative and Fiscal Courts (Conselho Superior dos Tribunais Administrativos e Fiscais, CSTAF), in 2020, the Administrative Circle Court (Tribunal Administrativo de Círculo, TAC) of Lisbon continued to be the only Court with a specific registration string pertaining to asylum-related appeals. While the other first instance administrative courts do not have such a registration string, CSTAF was able to provide data on appeals based on the information available on the corresponding IT system. Higher Courts do not collect autonomous data on asylum-related processes.

A total of 525 appeals against negative decisions were filled in national first instance courts. This represents a slight decrease of around 5% compared to 2019, where 552 appeals had been registered in total. TAC Lisbon continued to be (by far) the first instance court with the most abundant asylum-related case law in Portugal. Out of the 525 appeals against negative asylum decisions, 502 were registered in this Court (i.e. 96% of all appeals). In 2020, appeals were further lodged in TAF Porto, TAF Almada, TAF Beja, TAF Sintra and TAF Loulé.

The most represented nationalities among appellants included Gambia (125), Angola (65), Guinea Bissau (56), Senegal (45), and Guinea (27).  According to CSTAF, out of the total of 525 appeals, 452 concerned male applicants and 73 concerned female applicants.

In 2020, first instance courts issued a total of 463 asylum-related appeal decisions, of which 217 concerned Dublin cases. The data available does not include a breakdown of the remaining procedures concerned. Out of the total of 463 decisions, 446 were issued by TAC Lisbon. Out of the total of 463 asylum-related appeal decisions, 90 were in favour of the applicant (data is not available on whether these were decisions granting international protection or annulling a first instance decision and ordering the authorities to reassess the application but, according to CPR’s observation of national jurisprudence, the former is relatively rare). Additionally, there were 373 decisions ruling against the appellants. By the end of the year, 62 cases were pending.

Out of the total of 502 appeals filled in TAC Lisbon, 85 were decided in favour of the appellants, 361 against the appellants, and 56 were pending by the end of the year.

As such, the overall success rate of appeals at the TAC Lisbon (all countries of origin and procedures included) stood roughly at 19%. In the case of Guinea-Bissau, the most representative nationality at appeal stage, the success rate of appeals was around 11.3%. With few exceptions, the success rate for other nationalities was equally low. For the remaining most representative countries of origin at appeals stage, the success rates were as follows: Angola (32.7%); Guinea-Bissau (11.5%); Senegal (15%); Guinea (14.3%). The overall success rate of appeals in courts outside Lisbon stood roughly at 29.4%. The overall success rate of appeals at national level stood at 19.4%.

The available information does not allow for clear-cut statistics on decision rates per type of procedure. Nevertheless, according to information available to CPR, the main type of asylum procedures used in 2020 per country of origin to reject asylum applications at first instance consisted of (for the most representative countries of origin at appeal stage) accelerated procedures in the case of Angola (70 out of a total of 70 rejections); and Dublin procedures in the case of Guinea-Bissau (46 out of 64), Gambia (107 out of 130), Senegal (36 out of 61) and Guinea (46 out of 63).

According to the information provided by CSTAF, a total of 164 appeals were filled in second instance courts (TCA South and TCA North). Out of these, 14 were filled by the asylum authority (7 were decided favourably, and 7 were rejected). The remaining 150 were filled by the applicants (18 were decided favourably). Second instance courts issued 146 decisions on such appeals in the course of 2020.


[1]  SEF, Yearly Statistical Reports, available at: These reports are usually published in June (with information on the previous year).

[2] Observatory for Migration, Entrada, Acolhimento e Integração de Requerentes e Beneficiários de Protecção Internacional em Portugal – Relatório Estatístico do Asilo 2020, May 2020, available in Portuguese at:

[3] Observatory for Migration, Entrada, Acolhimento e Integração de Requerentes e Beneficiários de Protecção Internacional em Portugal – Relatório Estatístico do Asilo 2020, May 2020, available in Portuguese at:

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