First-time asylum applicants up 4% in Q3 2018


© Ververidis Vasilis /
Logo Statistics Explained

During the third quarter of 2018, 146 900 first-time asylum seekers applied for international protection in the Member States of the European Union (EU). This was an increase of 4% compared with the second quarter of 2018, when 141 700 first-time applicants were registered.

Time series chart of asylum applications Q1 2014 to Q3 2018

Source dataset is available here.


Most applications from Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis

With 21 200 first-time applicants between July and September 2018, Syrians remained the largest group of persons seeking international protection in the EU Member States. Syrians were ahead of Afghans (11 200 first-time applicants) and Iraqis (10 000). In the third quarter of 2018, people from these countries comprised the three main citizenships of first-time asylum applicants in the EU Member States, and accounted for 29% of all first-time applicants.

Pie chart: citizenship of first-time asylum applicants Q3 2018


Most applicants for asylum in Germany, France and Greece

During the third quarter of 2018, the highest number of first-time applicants was registered in Germany (with 42 000 first-time applicants, or 29% of total first-time applicants in the EU Member States) and France (27 200, or 19%), followed by Greece (16 700, or 11%) and Spain (12 700, or 9%).

Among Member States with more than 2 000 first-time asylum seekers in the third quarter of 2018, numbers of first-time applicants increased most compared with the previous quarter in Belgium (+54%), Cyprus (+50%), the Netherlands (+43%) and in Sweden (+21%). In contrast, the largest decreases were recorded in Italy (-34%) and Spain (-22%).


Highest number of first-time applicants relative to the population in Cyprus

Compared with the population of each Member State, the highest rate of registered first-time applicants during the third quarter of 2018 was recorded in Cyprus (2 484 first-time applicants per million inhabitants), followed by Greece (1 552), Malta (1 150) and Luxembourg (1 093). In contrast, the lowest rates were observed in Slovakia (5 applicants per million inhabitants), Hungary (11) and Poland (20). In the third quarter of 2018, there were in total 286 first-time asylum applicants per million inhabitants in the EU as a whole.


Almost 900 000 asylum applications still pending

Pending applications for international protection are those that have been made at any time and are still under consideration by the relevant national authorities at the end of the reference period. In other words, they refer to the “stock” of applications for which decisions are still pending.

At the end of September 2018, 873 300 applications for asylum protection in the EU Member States were under consideration by the national authorities, a decrease of 9% compared with September 2017 and 1% below the figure for June 2018. With 396 800 pending applications at the end of September 2018, or almost half (45%) of the EU total, Germany had the largest share in the EU, ahead of Italy (107 500, or 12% of the EU total), Greece (67 700, or 8%) and Spain (66 600, or 8%).

The source dataset is available here.



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