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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.

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 refused if you wait.

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 the following:

• 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.


When your claim might not be considered

Your claim might not be considered if you:


• are from an EU country

• travelled to the UK through a ‘safe third country’

• have a connection to a safe third country where you could claim asylum


Generally, a safe third country is one that:


• you’re not a citizen of

• you would not be harmed in

• would not send you on to another country where you would be harmed



Family members

You can include your partner and your children under 18 as ‘dependants’ in your application if they’re with you in the UK.

If your application is successful, any dependents named on it can usually stay for the same amount of time as you. They will not get refugee status unless they make their own claim for asylum.


Register your 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


Screening at the UK border


You must tell a Border Force officer that you want to claim asylum.

Your application will be registered, and you’ll be screened - ask for an interpreter if you need one.


Screening in the UK

You must call the asylum intake unit if you’re already in the UK.


They’ll call you back and ask simple questions about you and your family. You will not be asked why you’re claiming asylum during this telephone call.


You’ll be asked if you need help with housing.

The call may take up to 30 minutes.


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.

You might also be sent an asylum 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. Visas 24/7 can fully assist with this and all other aspects of your Asylum claim. 


Asylum interview


Your asylum interview will usually take place soon after your screening.

You may be granted protection status without having to attend an interview. This will happen if there is enough evidence from your screening and your questionnaire if you did one.

Your application will usually be withdrawn if you do not go to your asylum interview. You’ll have to apply again if you still want to stay in the UK.

You’ll get a letter telling you when and where to attend your interview.

If your partner or children under 18 were included in your application as ‘dependants’, they may also need to attend an interview. The letter will tell you if they do.




The interview

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 confidential and will not be shared with the authorities in your own country.

Use this interview to explain:

• how you were persecuted in your country

• why you’re afraid to go back to your country

You may be asked questions about difficult topics, but it’s important that you explain what has happened to you and your family.

You must tell the caseworker everything you want them to consider, or it can count against you.


Asylum decision

Your application will be decided as soon as possible. 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

You’ll be given or refused permission to stay in one of the following ways.

Permission to stay if you have refugee status or humanitarian protection

Refugee status means you’re recognised as a refugee, as defined in the Refugee Convention.

You may get humanitarian protection if you do not qualify for refugee status but cannot return to your own country.


What you’ll get


If you’re granted refugee status or humanitarian protection, you’ll have permission to stay in the UK for a minimum of 5 years.



You may get permission to stay for other reasons if you do not qualify for permission to stay as a refugee or for humanitarian reasons.

How long you can stay will depend on your situation.


Asylum Refusal 

You’ll be asked to leave the UK if you do not qualify for refugee status and your caseworker decides there’s no other reason for you to stay.


Asylum Appeal 

You may be able to appeal against the decision. It’s imperative you submit your Appeal within the given deadlines. You can only appeal to the tribunal if you have the legal right to appeal - you’ll usually be told if you do in your decision letter.

Contact us to discuss how we can fully assist you with an Asylum Appeal or make representations on your behalf. 


Indefinite leave to remain (permission to stay as a refugee, humanitarian protection or Discretionary Leave)


After 5 years, you can apply to settle in the UK.

You may be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) if you have:

• protection status (permission to stay as a refugee or person with humanitarian protection)

• Discretionary Leave

Indefinite leave to remain is how you settle in the UK. It’s also called ‘settlement’. It gives you the right to live, work and study here for as long as you like and apply for benefits if you’re eligible. You can use it to apply for British citizenship.


Contact Visas 24/7 today to instruct us to represent your case. With over two decades of experience, you can be sure of professional representation at the highest level.

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