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Since 2002, Cyprus has received 93,283 asylum applications, 7,036 of them in 2020. This makes Cyprus the leading asylum receiving country per capita among the EU Member States.

Persons granted international protection are predominantly from Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Iran and Somalia. However, in 2020, new asylum-seekers in Cyprus mainly came from Syria, India, Bangladesh, Cameroon and Pakistan.

The UNHCR office in Cyprus started working in 1974 to coordinate humanitarian aid for the internally displaced Cypriots. The focus shifted in the late 90s when UNHCR started to assist the Cyprus government in gradually developing its asylum infrastructure.

Today, UNHCR’s role in Cyprus is to assist the government in further refining and improving their asylum legislation, procedures and capacities for a refugee protection system to be fully in line with international standards. Work in legal advocacy and policy involves monitoring and influencing legislation through expert advice and advocacy, providing technical assistance and promoting good practices. The office offers training to key stakeholders and runs public information and awareness activities to strengthen partnerships with civil society.

Additional information

For information about our work in Cyprus:


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

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Cyprus website

Visit the UNHCR Cyprus website for more information on our work in the area and the latest local news and stories.

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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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