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 denied if you wait.
After applying you’ll have a meeting with an immigration officer (known as a ‘screening’) and then an asylum interview with a caseworker.
You’ll usually get a decision on your application within 6 months.
You can get up to 2 years in prison or have to leave the UK if you give false information on your application.
Speak to our assessment team now to confirm your eligibility and options for free on 0203 384 4389.
Waiting for your decision
You must tell the authorities if your situation changes.
You won’t usually be allowed to work while your asylum claim is being considered.
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.
Your claim might not be considered if you:
- are from an EU country
- have a connection with another country you can claim asylum in, for example if you’ve claimed asylum in an EU country before arriving in the UK
You can include your partner and your children under 18 as ‘dependants’ in your application if they’re with you in the UK.
Your children under 18 and your partner can also make their own applications at the same time, but they won’t be treated as your dependants.
Documents you must provide
Documents you should bring (if you have them) include:
- passports and travel documents
- police registration certificates
- identification documents, for example identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records
- anything you think will help your application
Documents to prove your UK address
If you’re already in the UK, you and your dependants must bring documents that prove your UK address.
You’ll need different documents depending on whether you’re living in your own accommodation or staying with someone else.
Living in your own accommodation
You’ll need to provide documents showing your full name and address. This could be a:
- bank statement
- housing benefit book
- council tax notice
- tenancy agreement
- household bill
Staying with someone else
You’ll need to provide:
- a recent letter (less than 3 months old) from the person you’re staying with to confirm you have their permission to stay
- documents showing the full name and address of the person you’re staying with, like a council tax notice, tenancy agreement or household bill
Register Your Asylum Claim
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 your identification documents.
You’ll need to say if you or your dependants are taking any medication and give any relevant medical information.
You can ask for a male or female interviewer, but your choice might not always be available.
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 make an appointment with the asylum screening unit if you’re already in the UK.
You must bring:
- the documents you need for your application
- any dependants (partner and children under 18) who are claiming asylum with you
After your screening
You’ll be sent an asylum registration card (ARC) to your UK address, unless you’ve been detained.
If the Home Office can’t send you an ARC immediately, they’ll send you an appointment letter telling you what to do next.
You’ll have an asylum interview with your caseworker. They’ll make a decision about your application.
They’ll also explain the asylum process and tell you what to do while you wait for an asylum decision, such as go to regular reporting meetings.
You may be detained if you don’t go to your reporting meetings.
Tell your caseworker if you have any special needs, for example if you have a disability or need medication.
TheARC shows you’ve applied for asylum. You can use it to:
- show who you are
- show whether you have permission to work
- get health or education services
You must take your ARC with you when you go to your reporting meetings.
You may be detained at an immigration removal centre while you wait for a decision on your application.
You’ll either be:
- released if you get permission to stay in the UK
- held until you’re removed from the UK if you don’t get permission to stay
You can also be detained and removed if it’s decided that another country is responsible for offering you asylum.
You may be able to appeal against the decision.
When you won’t be detained
You won’t usually be detained if you’re:
- a child
- a family with children
- accepted as being a victim of trafficking
- able to provide independent evidence of torture
- suffering from a mental or physical condition that can’t be managed, or presents a risk to others, in an immigration removal centre
Your application will usually be rejected if you don’t go to your asylum interview.
You’ll get a letter telling you when and where to attend and if any of your dependants also need to be interviewed.
Sending a written statement
You can choose to send a written statement to support your claim. This must be written in English and sent to your caseworker before your interview. Include your Home Office reference number.
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.
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.
Bring all the evidence you have of your persecution. You may be asked to send further evidence to your caseworker after the interview, if they think it might help your application.
You should also bring your birth certificate, passport and medical records if you have them.
Your caseworker will make notes in a document called an ‘interview record’. You’ll get a copy of this at the end of the interview.
As your legal representative, we can accompany you to your asylum interview.
Get a decision
- 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 as a refugee
You and your dependants may be given permission to stay in the UK for 5 years if you qualify for asylum. This is known as ‘leave to remain’.
After 5 years, you can apply to settle in the UK.
Permission to stay for humanitarian reasons
You may get permission to stay for humanitarian reasons if you don’t qualify for asylum. This means you need to stay in the UK for your protection.
You and your dependants may be given permission to stay in the UK for 5 years. This is known as ‘leave to enter’ or ‘leave to remain’.
After 5 years, you can apply to settle in the UK.
Permission to stay for other reasons
You may get permission to stay for other reasons if you don’t qualify for permission to stay as a refugee or for humanitarian reasons.
How long you can stay will depend on your situation.
No reason to stay
You’ll be asked to leave the UK if you don’t qualify for asylum and your caseworker decides there’s no other reason for you to stay.
You may be able to appeal against the decision.
You’ll have to leave if you don’t appeal in the time allowed, or if your appeal is unsuccessful. You can:
- leave by yourself – you can get help with returning home
- be forced to leave – you’ll get a letter before this happens, then you may be detained without warning at an immigration removal centre and then removed from the UK
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What is the benefit of using UK Immigration Solicitors?
Immigration rules are complex and subject to regular changes and revisions. This itself presents problems as it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure they are aware of and have complied with any changes to the routes, processes and evidence requirements.
Failure to meet strict rules is likely to result in the application being refused which, in turn, is likely have an emotional and financial strain on you and your family.
It is our job to ensure we are fully aware of the latest immigration rules, policies and procedures. We don’t leave matters to chance. Once you become a client of ours, we explain our strategy and tell you exactly how we propose to get you the right result. We will pinpoint the positives and negatives of your circumstances and explain where issues may arise and what would need to be done to fix them. We provide step by step guidance and advice throughout the entire process professionally. Our vast experience allows us to foresee problems before they arise and pro-actively adopt a strategic action plan.
Our legal fees are always agreed and fixed with you right at the beginning of your case, so you have complete peace of mind and control over the costs to ensure there are no restrictions or unpleasant surprises.
There are many online agencies, advisors and marketing companies who claim to be immigration experts but, provide very little expertise.
Let us be very clear here, if you are paying for someone just to fill in the forms for you, you should think about how you can put that money to better use and avoid gambling with your future by using inexperienced and ineffective companies.
We are a fully regulated nationwide, multi award winning law firm that specialises in immigration. Having more than 60 years of combined expertise and having handled more than 8,000 cases we have unrivalled experience and expertise to ensure you get the right result first time around – Don’t take our word for it though, check out our reviews to see why our clients trust us with their futures. We are rated 5* across the board and 98% of our clients have confirmed that they would recommend us to others.
We have illustrated our typical scope of service below so you can understand what we do for you as paid of our service:
- Our immigration specialists carry out a free detailed assessment with you to understand your circumstances and needs.
- The collated information is then reviewed by a senior immigration solicitor who will have no less than 8 years’ immigration experience.
- Based on the information collected, the senior solicitor will then confirm what your options are and will also confirm if we are able to help you.
- We will offer you an Agreed Fixed Fee quotation for us to handle your entire case until initial conclusion without obligation.
- If we have officially taken your instructions, we will create a client file for you and collect detailed initial information.
- We will then ensure you receive a personalised one-to-one legal consultation with a senior immigration solicitor who will take your full instructions by exploring your circumstances in detail and advise you on the best way to meet your objectives. The solicitor will explain the relevant legislations and provide you with advice on the steps that we would need to take to get a successful result.
- The senior solicitor who carried out your legal consultation will then send you detailed written legal advice explaining everything that needs to be done and which documents will be required as part of the process. We will tell you about any problem areas and formulate a strategy to overcome/mitigate these.
- We will carefully review any documents that you have provided in support of the application. These documents are then validated and formatted to ensure that they meet the UKVI specified evidence requirements. Where they do not, we will explain what needs to be done to address the issues.
- Where required, we will prepare any necessary written legal arguments or representations that are required to support your application and gain an approval. Often, we may be required to make discretionary submissions.
- We will complete a draft application and share this with you to ensure that all parties are happy with the representations that will be submitted to the Home Office.
- We advise you on what application processing routes are available. In some cases, there are fast track or premium processing routes available. We may be required to book a Home Office appointment on your behalf. Will also be able to confirm typical processing times for any processing centre in the world. We explain all options, routes and fees comprehensively allowing you to make the best choice.
- We lodge the application on your behalf using our secure authenticated processes. Whilst your application is pending, we continue to ensure you receive maximum legal protection and ensure that your rights and allowances are upheld throughout the processing stage. We ensure that you are aware of and remain compliant with the immigration rules and regulations during this period. We will also keep you updated on the progress of your matter.
- If any follow up work is required in response to any queries raised by the UKVI, we will also deal with these as part of the comprehensive service.
- We secure a decision on your matter and further advise you on the relevant implications of that decision. If required, we will also confirm if any secondary applications are required and brief you on the necessary process and procedure for those also.
Why should you use Immigration Solicitors to help me?
Here are just some of the reasons to choose us:
- We are the UK’s #1 Immigration Specialist Law Firm
- We are a fully SRA regulated law firm so you are working directly with our in house legal team
- No agencies, middlemen or outsourcing
- We have achieved 99% success rate across all application types
- We have a 24 hour helpline that operates 7 days a week – 365 days a year
- We have multiple offices across the UK but 90% of our clients are not required to visit in person
- We have more than 60 years combined immigration expertise
- Our team have handled more than 8,000 cases
- We offer a free initial assessment which will explain your options and check your eligibility for your chosen route
- We operate a 100% Agreed Fixed Fee model with all fees fixed and agreed before work is started
- 98% of our clients would recommend us to family & friends
- Our average rating is 4.6/5 across major review platforms (based on over 2000 reviews).
What is Free Needs Assessment?
The assessor will establish why you are calling and what you are looking for assistance with. The assessor will ask you a series of questions to determine your circumstances in relation to your objectives.
The assessment is 100% private and confidential. As we are a private law firm, we work with our clients to overturn Government decisions daily. We do not share any information with any third party.
Although the assessor will be a trained immigration specialist, they are not solicitors and therefore will not give you detailed legal advice or guidance.
If you want to establish what your options are and the best way forward for you, your assessor will collate the necessary information and then speak with one of the resident senior solicitors at the firm to determine what your options are, if and how we could assist and confirm whether we would be prepared to take your case. If we can assist, you will be provided with an Agreed Fixed Fee quotation which is a single legal fee to cover the firms cost of representation agreed from the outset and binding for all parties.
The free assessment is no obligation and you are merely given clarity on your position and options to move forward.
If you have a complex matter or require legal advice regarding a specific issue, you will most likely require a legal consultation.
This is a separate service and is chargeable at the prevailing rates.
Please note, UK Immigration Solicitors are a private law firm and are not part of the Government. We do not accept legal aid instructions. Although we are happy to assist genuine callers, we are not a directory service and sadly are unable to provide you with Government telephone numbers.