If you are in prison or being held by the police in detention, you can apply for asylum at the prison / detention centre / police station where you are being held. Detention and imprisonment of asylum-seekers is not permitted for the sole reason of being an asylum-seeker.

Under Cypriot law, the detention of asylum-seekers is exceptionally allowed by the law in certain cases only. Detention of asylum-seekers may only be ordered after individual assessment, and only if alternatives to detention have been exhausted. These alternatives are:

  • Regular reporting to the authorities
  • Release on bail / deposit of a financial guarantee
  • Obligation to stay in assigned centre or place of accommodation with regular checks from the authorities
  • Supervision arrangements

The Republic of Cyprus Refugee law provides that an asylum-seeker may be detained only:

(a)            in order to determine or verify his or her identity or nationality;
(b)            in order to gather information about the application which could not be obtained if the applicant were not detained, in particular when there is a risk of the applicant absconding
(c)             in order to decide on the asylum-seeker’s right to enter the territory;
(d)            in order to assess the validity of the claim being made in the application in case the asylum-seeker has already received a deportation order before applying for asylum, and that the application has not been made for international protection merely in order to delay or frustrate the enforcement of the return decision;
(e)            when protection of national security or public order so requires;
(f)              in case there is a decision under the Dublin Procedure to be transferred to another EU Member State, and there is a significant risk that the asylum-seeker will not comply with the procedure.

NOTE: Detention of asylum-seekers under 18 years of age is prohibited under Cypriot law. 

If the Police Arrests or detains you:

  • They must explain to you why you have been arrested and detained at the latest when you are taken to the police station. This information must be provided in a language you understand, and if necessary through an interpreter.
  • You have the right to communicate with your lawyer, a relative, or any other person to inform them of your arrest and detention. The police must provide you with the means to do this.
  • The police must inform you that you have the right to contact a lawyer, UNHCR or any non-governmental or human rights organisation. You must be given a list of lawyers.
  • The Police must bring you before a Court within 24 hours from your arrest, in case you are not arrested and detained by a Deportation Order.
  • You must be given a leaflet in a language that you understand explaining your rights as a person in detention. You have the right to:
    • daily visits from a relative or friend for one hour;
    • visits from your lawyer at any time of the day;
    • receive respectable living conditions and treatment;
    • medical care – report any health concerns promptly.

If you are a refugee or an asylum-seeker in detention and you are in need of assistance, you can contact UNHCR Cyprus.