Immigration Law and Nationality - Asylum

Although we cannot help you with your asylum claim, we have prepared the summary below to offer you useful information. We suggest that you look for a lawyer that offers free legal advice or “legal aid” to help you with your asylum claim.

Claiming asylum is a human right supported by the Geneva Convention and recognised by countries around the world. The system that the UK has set up to claim asylum is as follows:

Asylum Process

A person can claim asylum at the airport or port of entry. Someone who is already in the UK and wishes to claim asylum, can still do so by calling the Asylum Screening Unit on 0300 123 4193 in order to book an appointment for a screening interview.

For those who did not claim asylum upon arrival, screening interviews usually take place in Croydon, London.  At the screening interview, the Home Office will take claimants’ “biometric information” (this is fingerprints and photograph) and ask for the details of how he/she arrived in the UK, as well as a brief explanation why he/she is claiming asylum.

After the screening interview, a date for the substantive interview will be set.  It is at this interview when claimants will need to explain in detail the reason why they cannot go back to their country of origin. They will need to explain what happened to them, where, when etc.

If the claim is accepted, an asylum seeker will generally be granted five years’ refugee status and issued with a Biometric Residence Permit. On some occasions, asylum seekers who are not recognised as refugees can be granted humanitarian protection or leave to remain in the UK because they have relatives here, because of medical grounds, etc.

If the asylum claim is refused there is usually a right of appeal that can be pursued from within the UK.