Pending asylum claims

Pending asylum claims

There were 3,503,300 asylum-seekers with pending claims at the end of 2018, an 13 per cent increase on the 3,090,900 awaiting decisions at the end of the previous year and a continuation of an increasing trend over recent years.

UNITED STATES - 719,000 pending claims

The largest asylum-seeker population at the end of 2018 continued to be in the United States of America, where the population increased from 642,700 at the start of the year to 719,000 at the end.

GERMANY - 369,300 pending claims

In Germany, the asylum-seeker population continued to decline, as decisions were made on the large number of applications lodged in the previous years, and stood at 369,300 at the end of 2018. This was a 14 per cent decline on the 429,300 asylum-seekers at the end of 2017. The majority of these were cases pending court proceedings.

TURKEY - 311,700 pending claims

Turkey hosted the third largest asylum-seeker population with 311,700 pending claims as of 10 September 2018. This figure does not include Syrians who are protected under the country’s Temporary Protection Regulation and do not undergo individual refugee status determination.

PERU - 230,900 pending claims

Peru has seen a more than six-fold increase of its asylum-seeker population from 37,800 at the end of 2017 to 230,900 at the end of 2018. This is mainly due to the large number of asylum claims from Venezuelans received during the year.

Other countries with more than 50,000 asylum claims pending at the end of 2018 included:

  • South Africa - 184,200 pending claims
  • Brazil - 152,700 pending claims
  • Italy - 105,600 pending claims
  • France - 89,100 pending claims
  • Canada - 78,800 pending claims
  • Spain - 78,700 pending claims
  • Greece - 76,100 pending claims 
  • Egypt - 68,200 pending claims
  • Australia - 60,600 pending claims

Pending asylum claims by nationality


Venezuelans had the largest number of pending asylum claims in 2018 with 464,200 cases. This compares with 45,100 in 2016 and 148,000 in 2017.


Asylum-seekers from Afghanistan constituted the second largest nationality of origin with 310,100 pending claims at the end of 2018 compared with 334,000 at the end of 2017.


Iraqi asylum-seekers were the third most common nationality and continued to decrease slightly from 272,600 at end-2017 to 256,700 at end-2018.


Asylum-seekers from Syria have continued to decline, reaching 139,600 at the end of 2018, compared with 146,700 in 2017.

Other countries of origin with significant numbers of asylum-seekers awaiting decisions were:

  • Democratic Republic of Congo - 133,400 pending claims
  • Ethiopia - 133,300 pending claims
  • El Salvador - 119,300 pending claims
  • China - 94,400 pending claims
  • Mexico - 89,800 pending claims
  • the Islamic Republic of Iran - 87,400 pending claims
  • Guatemala - 86,900 pending claims 
  • Nigeria - 84,700 pending claims
  • Eritrea - 78,600 pending claims
  • Honduras - 76,500 pending claims
  • Pakistan - 75,400 pending claims

Despite improved statistical reporting on pending asylum applications, the actual number of undecided asylum cases is unknown, as some countries do not report this information.


IMAGE CREDIT: Wikimedia Commons / Rebecca Harms [CC BY-SA 2.0 (]

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