You must apply for asylum if you want to stay in the UK as a refugee. To be eligible, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution. A person who has come to the UK for asylum, and waiting for a decision on their application is called an 'asylum seeker'. If a person has come to the UK and made an asylum claim with a favourable decision, meaning they have leave to stay, they are called 'refugee'.

You should apply when you arrive in the UK or as soon as you think it would be unsafe for you to return to your own country. Your application is more likely to be denied if you wait.

If your asylum was previously refused and would like to submit an asylum and human rights fresh claim because you have new evidence which is significantly different from the material that was previously been considered by the Home Office or the Tribunal Judge, then contact us for an appointment to speak to an immigration expert for urgent UK immigration help.

Our highly experienced team of asylum lawyers have massive knowledge and experience in dealing with asylum related claims from adults and minors and their family members.

Eligibility for asylum

To stay in the UK as a refugee you must be unable to live safely in any part of your own country because you fear persecution there. If you're stateless, your own country is the country you usually live in.

This persecution must be because of:

  • your race
  • your religion
  • your nationality
  • your political opinion
  • anything else that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country, for example, your gender, gender identity or sexual orientation

You must have failed to get protection from authorities in your own country.

Register your asylum claim

You register your asylum claim at a 'screening'. This is a meeting with an immigration officer where you tell them about your case.

You'll have your screening at the UK border if you claim asylum as soon as you arrive. You can also be screened once you're in the UK if you become eligible for asylum.

At your screening, you'll:

  • be photographed
  • have your fingerprints taken
  • have an interview to check who you are and where you're from

You'll be asked why you want asylum. You can bring written evidence to support your claim if you want, as well as any other documents you need.

You'll need to say if you or your dependents are taking any medication and give any relevant medical information.

After your screening

After your screening, the Home Office will review your case and decide whether it can be considered in the UK. You'll be sent an asylum registration card (ARC) to your UK address, unless you've been detained.

If the Home Office cannot send you an ARC immediately, they'll send you an appointment letter telling you what to do next.

You might also be sent a 'preliminary information questionnaire'. If you get one, fill it in and return it by the deadline - the address and deadline are written on the letter that comes with the questionnaire. If you cannot fill it in, call the Home Office asylum team. Their phone number is on the letter.

Asylum interview

Your asylum interview will take place soon after your screening. Your application will usually be rejected if you do not go to your asylum interview. You'll get a letter telling you when and where to attend and if any of your dependents also need to be interviewed.

You'll usually be interviewed alone, without your family members. An interpreter will be provided if you need one. The information you provide will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed to the authorities in your own country.

Get a decision

Your application will usually be decided within 6 months. It may take longer if it's complicated, for example:

  • your supporting documents need to be verified
  • you need to attend more interviews
  • your personal circumstances need to be checked, for example, because you have a criminal conviction or you're currently being prosecuted

Our Asylum claim experts can help you with your claim if you want to stay in the UK as a refugee. You must also meet all the other eligibility requirements. Please contact us for initial assessment to determine your eligibility, and to discuss the options.

Get in touch with our highly experienced immigration solicitors in London on  0203 432 6006 or fill in our online enquiry form.