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.
You can include family members (‘dependants’) in your application if they’re with you in the UK, including:
- your partner
- children under 18
After you apply 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 must tell the truth about your situation, otherwise you can get up to 2 years in prison or have to leave the UK if the information you provide on your application turns out to be false. You’ll be told after your screening what you must do while you’re waiting for your asylum decision, example report to a caseworker regularly (known as ‘reporting meetings’). You must tell the authorities if your situation changes.
While your asylum claim is being considered you won’t usually be allowed to work.
During your Asylum application you can get legal representation for your Asylum claim and help with your living situation in the UK while you wait for your decision.
To be recognized as a refugee, you must be unable to go back to your own country (if you’re stateless, this is the country you usually live in) because you fear persecution, be unable to live safely in any part of your own country and have failed to get protection from authorities in your own country.
This persecution must be because of one of the following:
- political opinion
- membership of a particular social group that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country, eg your gender, gender identity, sexual orientation
For more information contact us on 020 3695 4626.