Republic of Cyprus
Asylum Service

Guide for Applicants of International Protections

An applicant for international protection is a person who seeks to be recognized as a refugee in accordance with the terms of the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the status of refugees and the related 1967 Protocol, which provide the foundation for the system of protection for refugees generally.
This information leaflet is meant to provide basic information for applicants for international protection in the Republic of Cyprus. It is in the applicant’s interest to read this leaflet carefully and to ensure that (s)he understands it.
Any person, who is afraid to return to his/her country of origin, because (s)he is in fear of persecution, has the right to ask for protection in another country.
Who can apply for international protection?
    · If you cannot, or do not want to return to your country because you are afraid of being persecuted due to your race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, gender or political opinion.
    · If you cannot, or do not want to return to your country because you are afraid you will suffer serious and unjustified harm, such as:
        Ø Torture, or inhuman, or degrading treatment, or punishment
        Ø Serious and systematic human rights abuses
        Ø Threat to your life, security, or freedom, because of armed conflicts, or massive violations of human rights.
If you believe that you qualify as a refugee or for subsidiary protection, you may submit an application for international protection and seek the protection of the Republic of Cyprus.
When do I apply?
    · You must apply with all family members accompanying you as soon as you arrive in Cyprus.
    · If you are already in Cyprus you must apply as soon as possible.
    · If you entered Cyprus illegally you must present to the authorities without undue delay.
Where do I apply?
At every legal entry point
    - Larnaca Airport
    - Paphos Airport
    - All sea ports
At the Immigration Police Office of your District of Residence
    - Nicosia Immigration Police Office
    - Limassol Immigration Police Office
    - Larnaca Immigration Police Office
    - Paphos Immigration Police Office
If you are in prison or being held by the police in detention, you can apply at the prison/detention centre/police station you are held.

What do I need in order to apply?

    · Once you wish to submit an application, you will be provided with an application form.
    Both the application form, as well as its submission is FREE OF CHARGE.
    · You need to present your passport, identity card or any document that proves your identity. In case you cannot present any such document because you came to Cyprus without bringing such documents with you, you can still apply for international protection.
    · Unless you have a reasonable cause for not doing so, you must also furnish originals of all identity documents or birth and/or marriage certificates in your possession and relating to you, your spouse and/or your children.
    · Three passport-size photographs

How do I apply?
  1. You must go personally to the Immigration/Police Office and apply with all your accompanying family members
  2. You DO NOT NEED a lawyer to submit an application for international protection. You have a right, however, to have a lawyer during all stages of the asylum procedure.
  3. 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 various languages.
If there are no application forms in the language you can read and write, you can ask for an interpreter. The services of the interpreter are provided FREE OF CHARGE.
  1. Complete the personal data form with all your personal details.
5. You must complete the application form at the Immigration/Police Office. You must write in detail, clearly and truthfully the reasons you are afraid to return to your country. If you need additional paper, you can ask the police officer to give you some.
If you are not able to read and/or write, a police officer will complete the application for you, with your oral statements and ask you to sign it. You should ask the police officer to read back to you what was written in your application before you sign, so as to make sure that what you have said is correctly written.
6. When you submit your application, your fingerprints will be taken, as well as the fingerprints of all the family members included in your application. Children under the age of 14 do not have to give fingerprints.
7. You must provide 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 give. If you change address at any time you MUST inform your District Immigration Office immediately and not later than three days after you move, otherwise your file might be closed and consequently you will no longer be considered an applicant for international protection. You should inform the police officer in case you are homeless, so that necessary measures can be taken, in regards to your accommodation.
8. Once you complete all the above steps, the Police will give you a Confirmation Letter, proving that you have applied for international protection. In case the procedure is not completed on the same day, the Police Officer will give you a temporary Confirmation letter, which will state the exact date you will need to return to the Immigration/Police Office to complete the procedure.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO RETURN TO THE IMMIGRATION/POLICE OFFICE ON THE STATED DATE. If you do not appear on the stated date, the temporary Confirmation Letter will expire and the procedure regarding the examination of your claim will be discontinued. As a result, you may be subject to arrest/detention/deportation.
9. On the same day of the issuance of the Confirmation Letter, you will also have to apply for an Alien Book and undergo medical examinations, within three (3) days of receipt of the Confirmation Letter.
Issuance of an Alien Book shall be processed through the Immigration Office of your district and is FREE OF CHARGE.

      Confirmation Letter

      The Confirmation Letter is proof that you have applied for international protection and that you are residing legally in Cyprus. Until you receive your temporary residence and work permit you must keep the Confirmation Letter with you at all times, as it protects you from being arrested and/or deported.

      You can use the Confirmation Letter to:
        · Legally stay in the Republic of Cyprus
        · Move freely in the Republic of Cyprus
        · Apply for work with the Labour Office
        · Apply for welfare benefits in case you cannot find a job, or you cannot work
        · Apply for a medical card in order to gain access to public hospitals


      Alien Book

      The Alien Book, providing in the Alien Registration Card (ARC), is an identity document issued to all foreigners, including applicants for international protection, in Cyprus.

      The Alien Book is NOT proof of legal residence in Cyprus.

      All family members included in your application for international protection must get their own Alien Book, except children under 12 years old.

      Medical Examination

      Within three (3) days of receiving your Confirmation Letter, you must go for a medical examination, at any District Hospital.

      Visiting hours: Monday to Friday, 11:30-13:30

      The medical examination is FREE OF CHARGE.

      The results of the medical examination are confidential.


      When will my application for international protection be examined?
        · Following your application, the Asylum Service will send you as soon as possible a letter inviting you to an interview. The letter will state the time, date and place for the interview.
        · In case you do not show up on that date and time for your interview, your file will be closed and you will no longer be considered an applicant for international protection.
      In case an emergency arises, due to which it is impossible for you to show up for your interview you MUST IMMEDIATELY NOTIFY the Asylum Service, in order to avoid that your file will be unjustifiably closed. You can inform the Asylum Service by telephone. In such a case, a new date for the interview will be set, in which you have to attend.
        · The interview is conducted by an Eligibility Officer of the Asylum Service, in order to understand in detail and clarify the fact that led you to apply for international protection.
        · If you wish, you have the right to a lawyer, or legal counselor during the interview.
        · If you need an interpreter, the Asylum Service will provide you with one FREE OF CHARGE. You must inform the officer immediately, if you cannot understand the interpreter.
        · If you are a woman, you can ask for a female interviewer and a female interpreter.
        · When the interview ends, you must read your statements carefully so as to make sure that what you have said is correctly written and sign the interview record.
During the interview:
        · You have the opportunity to explain the reasons you are applying for international protection in detail and give any evidence and documents to support your statements.
        · Your statements must be truthful and accurate.
      Anything you say during the interview is STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. You are therefore expected to respond in detail to the interview questions and provide all relevant information.
      What happens if my application is accepted?
      If your application is accepted, you will receive a letter stating the status you would be granted.
      By this letter you will be either granted:
        · Refugee status; or
        · Subsidiary protection status
      What happens if my application is rejected?
        · If your application is rejected, you will receive a letter explaining the reasons of rejection of your claim.
        · You have the right to appeal against this rejection, within the time limit stated in the rejection letter.

When can I appeal?
    · You have a right to appeal if your application for international protection is rejected. The appeal is FREE OF CHARGE.
    · Please note that, if you appeal to the Refugee Reviewing Authority against the decision of the Head which grants you subsidiary protection status but rejects your claim for refugee status you will remain under the status of the applicant until a decision by the Refugee Reviewing Authority is issued.
    · The rejection letter states how many days you have to submit your appeal, starting from the day you received the rejection letter. You must submit your appeal within this time limit. Otherwise your appeal will not be accepted and your file will be closed.
Where do I appeal?
You can appeal before
    (a) the Refugee Reviewing Authority. The Refugee Reviewing Authority is an independent body, responsible for examining applications for international protection rejected by the Asylum Service.
      Contact Information:
      Refugee Reviewing Authority
      10-12 Gregoris Afxentiou Avenue, Agios Dometios 2360 Nicosia
      Tel: 22449160
      Fax: 22303809
    (b) the Administrative Court
      Contact Information:
      Administrative Court
      Charalambos Mouskos Str., 1404 Nicosia
      Tel: 22865741/22865751/761
      Fax: 22661657

      Once you apply for international protection and until a final decision is reached, you have the status of an applicant for international protection with the following rights and obligations.
      i. To legally stay in the areas controlled by the Government of the Republic
      ii. To move freely in the areas controlled by the Government of the Republic
      iii. To apply for a job six months after the date of your application, in certain sectors of the economy
      iv. To special assistance through the Social Welfare Services, in case you cannot be accommodated at a Reception Centre.
      v. To free medical care, on the basis of your annual income, on the same basis as for Cypriot citizens. You can apply for a medical card at the Ministry of Health or the General Hospital of your district, by presenting your Confirmation Letter. First aid treatment is provided under any circumstances. The Ministry of Health might need to check if your file with the Asylum Service is still open, before proceeding with issuing you a medical card.
      vi. To public education institutions for underage applicants for international protection and/or underage applicants’ children.
      These rights are subject to limitations or conditions that the Authorities might seem reasonable to enforce, for public weal purposes.
      i. You must respect and follow the laws and regulations of the Republic of Cyprus.
      ii. You must not leave Cyprus without the permission of the Director of the Civil Registry and Migration Department. If you leave Cyprus without the permission of the Director, you may not be allowed to return and the procedures regarding the examination of your claim will be discontinued. Therefore, your file will be closed. In case you urgently need to travel for humanitarian reasons, you can apply and you may be issued with a relevant travel document.
      iii. You must inform your District Immigration Office immediately and not later than three days in case you change your address, otherwise the procedure regarding the examination of your claim will be discontinued and your file will be closed. Therefore, you will be subject to arrest and/or deportation.
      iv. You must respond to the letters addressed to you by the Asylum Service. If not, the procedure regarding the examination of your claim will be discontinued and your file will be closed. Therefore, you will be subject to arrest and/or deportation.


    1. UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees)
2 Demetrakopoulou Str., 3rd Floor, 1090 Nicosia (Antonis Zenios Tower)
Tel: 22359043/57
Fax: 22359037
    2. IOM (International Organisation for Migration) 3. Future Worlds Centre
      Promitheos 5, 1065 Nicosia
      Tel: 22873820
      Fax: 22873821
    4. KISA
      Arsinois 48, Nicosia
      Tel: 22878181
      Fax: 22773039
Guide for Applicants of International Protection (Asylum Seekers)


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