Retour First-time asylum applicants up by 21% in September 2021


© Ververidis Vasilis/

In September 2021, there were 60 800 first-time asylum seekers applying for international protection in the EU Member States, a 58% increase compared with September 2020 (38 600 first-time applicants) and +21% compared with August 2021 (50 200). September was the first month during the COVID-19 pandemic where the number of applications exceeded the last pre-pandemic level of February 2020 (55 700) and also the level observed in September 2019 (54 500). This information comes from monthly asylum data recently published by Eurostat.

Furthermore, in September 2021, there were also 8 600 subsequent applicants (people who reapplied for asylum after a decision had been taken on a previous application). This was up by 31% when compared with August 2021 and down by 23% compared with January 2021 (the first month for which these new data were collected). 

Timeline graph: first-time and subsequent asylum applicants in EU countries, January 2014-September 2021

Source dataset: migr_asyappctzm

Most first-time asylum applicants from Afghanistan

In September 2021, Afghans were the largest group of persons seeking asylum (13 800 first-time applicants). They were followed by Syrians (8 700), Iraqis and Bangladeshis (both 2 700), Turks (2 500) and Pakistanis (2 400). 

The number of applications for international protection lodged by Afghans increased by 63% compared to August 2021 and accounted for almost one-quarter of all first-time asylum applications in the EU in September 2021. 

Bar graph: first-time asylum applicants in EU countries (Top 10 countries of citizenship, September 2021)

Source dataset: migr_asyappctzm

Most first-time applicants request asylum in Germany and France

With 13 800 first-time applicants registered in September 2021, Germany accounted for nearly one quarter (23%) of all first-time applicants in the EU. This was closely followed by France (12 800, or 21%), ahead of Italy (6 300, or 10%) and Spain (6 200, or 10%). These four Member States together accounted for almost two-thirds of all first-time applicants in the EU.

Lithuania, Poland and Italy recorded the largest relative increases in first-time asylum seekers in September 2021 compared with September 2020 (1 011%, 772% and 493% respectively).

2 800 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in the EU

In September 2021, 2 800 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum, remaining at the level of the previous month. However, the number more than doubled from January 2021 (1 300). Austria (660), Belgium (390) and the Netherlands (300) were the three Member States with the highest numbers of unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in September 2021.

For more information:

  • Since 2021, based on the amendment of Regulation (EC) 862/2007 from June 2020, new data on asylum (e.g. on subsequent applications, accelerated procedures, unaccompanied minors asylum applicants, decisions issued to unaccompanied minors) are collected by Eurostat. 
  • Due to temporary derogations, data on subsequent applicants are not available for Denmark, Cyprus, Poland and Sweden, as well as data on unaccompanied minor asylum applicants - for France and Cyprus. As a result, the respective totals were calculated based on available data for the EU Member States. 
  • Latest Eurostat Statistics Explained article on quarterly asylum data
  • Eurostat Statistics Explained article with annual asylum data
  • Eurostat dedicated section on asylum
  • Eurostat database on asylum 

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