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At the end of 2021, Spain had registered around 64,500 new asylum applications. As in previous years, the top nationalities were asylum-seekers from Latin American countries such as Venezuela and Colombia, although it also registered applications from Moroccan, Malians and Senegalese persons.

43,000 arrivals were registered by sea and land (Ceuta and Melilla) through the Western Mediterranean route and the North/West Africa Atlantic route towards the Canary Islands, over half of them to the Canaries shores. More than one thousand lost their lives in the attempt.

UNHCR has been present in Spain since late 1960 and has a role in the asylum procedure. UNHCR has a Central Office in Madrid and field presence in main sea & land entry points such as Melilla, Málaga, Algeciras (covering Ceuta) and the Canary Islands. UNHCR teams in the field support the Spanish authorities in identifying persons in need of international protection, providing training and advice on asylum and refugee matters.

Spain has been a signatory of the 1951 Geneva Convention and its Protocol since 1978 and counts on national asylum legislation (law 12/2009). Spain acceded to the UN Statelessness Conventions in 1997 and 2018 and established a statelessness determination procedure in 2001.

Additional information

For information about our work in Spain:


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

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Spain website

Visit the UNHCR Spain 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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