What are the chances of being granted asylum?

The success rate (recognition rate) from Immigration Service (first instance) has moved up and down a lot during recent years. In 2015 it reached a record high of 85%, in 2016 it dropped to 72%, and in 2017 it ended at 36%, with some months as low as 28%.

In 2019 it was 57% and so far it's 42% for 2020. However, these numbers are quite misleading: the actual number for newcomers was only 29% in 2019, if you leave out people from Syria or Eritrea who already had residence permit as family reunified but applied for asylum later. These are called "distant applications", and they used to only form a few percent of the applicants, but in 2019 this group had risen to one third.

The numbers reflect more than anything else where the applicants are coming from. Almost everybody from Syria and Eritrea are granted asylum all over Europe, and very few unfounded applicants come to Denmark in general. As the percentage of Syrians and Eritreans has dropped in periods, and more people going through the Manifestly Unfounded procedure from Morocco, Georgia and Albania, this affects the recognition rate.

However, it has also become harder for individual Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans and Somalis to obtain asylum. The same tendency can be seen all over Europe, but Denmark judges these nationalities much harder than EU on average, see further down this page. Read more about Afghans here.

The chance of getting permission for family reunification afterwards is also depending on which country you come from – even though refugees do not have to meet all the criteria. This is mainly due to the demands on documents and proofs, which can be hard for many refugees to live up to. The percentage of positive decisions vary a lot for 2018, depending on country: Eritrea 36%, Somalia 37%, Syria 54%, Iran 73%, Thailand 82%.

RESIDENCE PERMITS GRANTED TO REFUGEES 2008-2019 (incl. humanitarian and resettlement)


"Remote registrants" represent a third of all asylum applications in Denmark now – an unusually large part. This means people who already had a residence permit (most often as family reunified), and almost all of them are Syrians and Eritreans, who are sure to be granted asylum. This affects the statistics significantly. We have not beeen able to get an answer to whether the EU total also includes this group, and how many there are. Therefore the total humbers are hard to compare.

The Refugee Appeals Board (second instance) overturned 16% of the negative rulings from the Danish Immigration Service in 2019.


First instance decisions EU-28

The recognition rate has been dropping in EU the last couple of years. But for some of the main nationalities, it is much harder to get asylum in Denmark than in most countries, as shown in the figure above. Especially Afghans, Iraqis and Somalis have had a much lower chance in Denmark than EUs average for years, including Germany and Sweden. Our neigbour countries have, however, come closer to the Danish line lately. The higher rate for Eritreans and Syrians in Denmark might be explained by the fact that they are first instance decisons – some countries will grant them asylum in the second instance.

Read more: 'Asylum decisions are influenced by politics' (from 2017)

ASYLUM DECISIONS 2015 + 2018, largest nationalities, certain countries

The pies to the left show that Denmark has changed its view on the situation in Syria. The two rows on the rightn show that Denmark and Germany strongly disagree on how dangerous the situation is for three od the major refugee groups. The fact that more Eritreans are rejected in Germany might be due to these being first instance decisions, as mentioned above. Germany does not return Eritreans.

Which status do you get?

Since 2015, there has been 3 different asylum statuses in Denmark: Art. 7(1), convention status, refers directly to the UN Refugee Convention. Art. 7(2), individual protection status, refers to the other human rights conventions and the ban against torture. And then there is the new art. 7(3), temporary protection against general risk.

Since the weaker status 7(3) was introduced, it has been given to around one third of all refugees. It's only given to Syrians without an individual asylum motive, and it does not give access to family reunification for the first three years. The majority of those are women and unaccompanied minors.

All three statuses are, however, temporary, only given for 1-2 years at a time and can be revoked again if conditions in the home country improve. Convention status is more difficult to revoke. The gray slice is humanitarian permits etc.


The development from 2018 to 2019 shows that B-status (7,2) is suddenly used much more than before – if we look back at previous years, it has only been given to around 10%.