When to apply
If you have valid reasons for seeking asylum, you must submit your application together with all your family members as soon as you arrive in Cyprus. If you entered Cyprus without authorisation or documents, you must present yourself to the authorities without undue delay. If you are already in Cyprus and are afraid to return to your country because of events that occurred since your departure, you can also apply for asylum.
Whether you have arrived in Cyprus by choice, or unintentionally, you must apply for asylum in Cyprus once you are here, even if you intend to move on to another country under the Dublin Regulation.
When you submit your application, your fingerprints will be taken, as well as the fingerprints of all your family members included in your application. This is a requirement. Children under the age of 14 do not have to give fingerprints.
Where to apply
You can make your application for asylum at any legal entry point to Cyprus – namely Larnaca Airport, Paphos Airport, Larnaca Sea Port and Limassol Sea Port – as well as at the Police Immigration Office of your District.
You can apply for asylum at the Immigration Office even if you do not have a passport, identity card or any other travel or identity documents.
Asylum applications are thus submitted to Immigration Police, and the competent authority that receives the applications is the Asylum Service of the Ministry of Interior.
How to apply
The steps to apply for asylum in Cyprus are as follows:
Step 1: Fill out personal data form at District Immigration Police
You must go in person to your local District Immigration Police Office and apply together with all members of your family. For addresses and contact details of the District Immigration Police Offices, click here.
Once you are at the Immigration Police Office, ask for an application form in a language you can read and write. Application forms are available in Greek, Turkish, English, French, Arabic, Farsi, and Russian. If there are no application forms in a language you can read and write in, you are entitled to ask for an interpreter. The services of an interpreter are provided free of charge.
Complete the personal data form with all your personal details. You must complete the application form at the Immigration Police Office. You must write in detail, clearly and truthfully, the reasons why you are unwilling or unable to return to your country. If you need additional paper to complete you statements, you can ask a police officer to give you some.
You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire on the Dublin Procedure.
- You DO NOT NEED a lawyer to submit an asylum application. You have the right, however, to have a lawyer during all stages of the asylum procedure. There is no government system in Cyprus for free legal assistance to asylum-seekers during the examination of the application by the Asylum Service or the Reviewing Authority. Free legal assistance is only granted for cases before the Administrative Court, after the approval of a legal aid application. However, you can seek free legal advice from local non-governmental organisations listed here.
- If you are not able to read or write, a police officer will complete the application for you with your oral statements and ask you to sign the completed form. It is very important that the police officer reads back to you what s/he has written, so that you or your legal counsellor or someone you trust can check that the police officer has written correctly what you have said. You should only sign if you are satisfied that the police officer has written correctly what you have said. If not, you can ask for corrections to be made before you sign.
- When you submit your application, your fingerprints will be taken, as well as the fingerprints of all your family members included in your application. Children under the age of 14 do not have to give fingerprints.
- You must give your address. It is very important to give your address correctly. Your file may be closed if the authorities cannot find you at the address you declare. If you change address at any time you must inform the Immigration Office immediately and not later than three days after you move. The only way to inform the Immigration Office of your change of address is by going to your local Immigration Police Office in person, and completing the specific form provided. The police officer will then note in your Aliens Book that you have informed Immigration about your new address. NOTE: In case you are homeless, you must inform the Immigration Police, and you will be referred to the Kofinou Reception Centre for asylum-seekers.
Step 2: Confirmation of submission
Once you complete all the above steps, the Immigration Police will give you a Confirmation of Submission, proving that you have applied for asylum and that you are legally residing in Cyprus. You should keep this Confirmation Letter with you at all times, as it protects you from being arrested and/or deported. You can use the Confirmation Letter to register with the Labour Office and exercise your right to work six months after you submit your asylum application. The Confirmation Letter also proves your entitlement to social assistance in case you cannot find a job, or you cannot work, and a medical card in order to have access to the public hospitals.
In case it is not possible to complete all the above steps of the procedure on the same day, the Police will give you a document called Verification of Intention to Apply for International Protection. This document shall serve as a proof of your legal status as an applicant for international protection before any authority of the Republic until you complete your application, and obtain the Confirmation Letter.
The holder of the “Verification of Intention to apply for International Protection” must proceed with completing the asylum application process within six working days from the date of this letter. The exact date by which you will need to return to the Immigration Police Office in order to complete your asylum application procedure will be written on the letter. It is extremely important that you return to the Immigration Police by the stated date. Failure to do so will result in the expiration of your Verification of Intention and termination of your rights; your application for international protection cannot be examined, and you may be subject to arrest, detention or deportation.
Step 3: Apply for an Aliens Registration Card (ARC)
As soon as you receive your Confirmation Letter you must apply for an Aliens Registration Card at your District Immigration Police Office. All members of your family included in your asylum application must get their own individual Aliens Registration Card. This is an identity document issued to all foreigners, including asylum-seekers, in Cyprus. The Aliens Book is not proof of legal residence in Cyprus.
The Aliens Book is issued free of charge to asylum-seekers.
Step 4: Medical Examinations
After you receive your Confirmation Letter you must go within three days for a medical examination at any District Hospital, Monday to Friday 11:30 – 1:30. The medical examination is free of charge and the results of the examination are confidential.
The results will be given to you, and a doctor will advise you on the results of the HIV, Hepatitis, Syphilis and Tuberculosis tests. You must take the results of your medical examination to the Immigration Police, who will send them to the Asylum Service. Upon completion of this procedure, you will be issued with an Alien Registration Card (ARC), or an appointment for the issuing of the ARC will be scheduled.