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In 2023, approximately 2600 new asylum applications were lodged in Portugal, with the top nationalities being Gambia, Afghanistan, and Colombia. At the end of 2023, there were approximately 1300 asylum seekers, 3800 refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection, and 59400 temporary protection holders in Portugal.   

With one land border to the west with Spain, approximately 75% of the new asylum applications are lodged within the Portuguese territory, while 25% are lodged at the air border, mainly the Lisbon airport.  

In 2018, twenty years after closing its offices in 1998, UNHCR re-established its presence in Portugal. With three personnel on the ground, the Regional Bureau for Europe in Geneva coordinates the activities in Portugal.  

UNHCR in Portugal focuses on advocacy and supports authorities and non-governmental institutions in delivering protection and solutions. It also provides training, technical support, and advice on asylum and refugee matters. 

Portugal is a signatory of the 1951 Convention, Protocol, and UN Statelessness Conventions. 

For information about our work in Portugal:


Are you a refugee or asylum-seeker in Portugal? Find information about your rights and available services on our HELP site.

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Legislation and guidance

For legislation, case law and UNHCR policy relating to claims for international protection, visit Refworld.

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Office contact details

Portugal is covered by the Regional Bureau for Europe in Geneva, Switzerland. 

[email protected]

Time zone:
GMT +0

Working hours

  • Monday: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Tuesday: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Wednesday: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Thursday: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Friday: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Saturday: closed
  • Sunday: closed

Public holidays

  • 01 January 2024, New Year’s Day 

  • 29 March 2024, Holy Friday  

  • 25 April 2024, Liberty Day 

  • 01 May 2024, Labour Day  

  • 10 June 2024, Portugal Day Monday 

  • 15 August 2024, Assumption Day  

  • 1 November 2024, All Saint’s Day  

  • 24 December 2024, Christmas Eve  

  • 25 December, Christmas Day