How to Claim Asylum in United Kingdom

A section with all the questions and answers on claiming asylum in the United Kingdom. Read on if you want to know how to apply for asylum and make a claim to stay in the UK as a refugee. You should not delay your application for asylum once you arrive in this country. It is best to apply as soon as you enter the UK or as soon as you think it would be unsafe to return to your own country.

CLAIMING ASYLUM IN THE UK: There is a specific process to follow for staying as a refugee in the United Kingdom.

The first step is to apply for asylum if you are a displaced person. You will need to meet the eligibility criteria and visit one of the screening units.

One of the screening units will conduct an interview and inform you what help you can get. That can include asylum support such as housing and money for you and your children.

Eligibility for asylum means you have left your own country and you are unable to return to that country for fear of persecution.

Note: You can check UK visa laws if the purpose of your visit is for another reason. Examples include visas to study, to work, or to remain here with your family.

There is a different process to apply for a ‘family of a settled person visa‘. It is for people who have already arrived in the United Kingdom. The settled person visa is for people wanting to remain with their family who live in Britain.

The National Asylum Support Service is part of the UK Border Agency. NASS are more likely to deny applications when the applicants take too long to apply.

Applicants get a meeting with an immigration officer after they apply for asylum in the UK. Immigration call it a screening because it takes place at an asylum screening unit.

A caseworker will then conduct an asylum seeker interview as part of the screening process. As a rule, it takes up to 6 months for you to get a decision on your application for asylum.

Note: There are penalties for giving false information on your application. You can get up to 2 years imprisonment or get forced to leave the United Kingdom.

Waiting for Asylum Decision

Several asylum rules and regulations apply while you wait for the decision. The screening officers will inform you what to do after you get screened.

You must have ‘reporting meetings‘ with your caseworker on a regular basis. You must also inform the authorities if your situation changes.

As a rule, you cannot work while your asylum claim is being considered. But, the government has further information on working as an asylum applicant.

Extra Help for Asylum Applicants

In some cases you may get extra help where it is appropriate, such as:

Unaccompanied Children Applying for Asylum

Some children may not have an adult relative with them who is claiming asylum. In this case, you can also claim asylum as an unaccompanied minor (under 18 years old).

Asylum Eligibility UK

There is a specific asylum eligibility criteria to stay in the United Kingdom as a refugee. You must be unable to live ‘safely‘ in any part of your own country because you fear persecution there. The fear of being persecuted must be because of your:

  • Nationality
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Political opinion

In some cases, it may also include something else that puts you at risk. This could be due to a cultural, social, religious or political situation in your country.

Further examples can also include a person’s sexual orientation, their gender, or their gender identity.

The rules of asylum seeking state that you must have failed to get protection from the authorities in your own country. That means your claim may not get considered if:

  • You are from a European Union country.
  • You have a connection with another country that you can claim asylum in. An example could be for those who claimed asylum in an EU country before arriving in the United Kingdom.

Note: Your own country refers to the country that you usually live in for anyone who is stateless.

Asylum Application Dependents (family members)

You can include ‘dependents‘ in your application for asylum if they are with you in the United Kingdom. A family dependent would be your partner or any of your children aged below 18 years old.

Any of your children (below 18) and your partner can make their own applications at the same time. But, doing so means they will not get treated as your dependant family members.

Documents Needed for Asylum

The screening unit will want to see any identification documentation that you or your dependents have. Take any documents you have to screening when you register your asylum claim, such as:

  • Travel documents and passports.
  • Police registration certificates.
  • Identification documents (e.g. birth and marriage certificates, identity cards, or school records).
  • Any other documentation that you think will help your application.

Documentation to Prove a UK Address

Asylum seekers who are already in the United Kingdom will need to prove their UK address. You, and any dependents, must take documents that prove your address in the United Kingdom.

In these situations the rules for asylum require different documentation. It depend on whether you live in your own accommodation or you stay with someone else.

If You Live in Your Own Accommodation

Living in your own housing means you will need to provide documents that show your full name and address. As a rule, this can be:

If You Stay with Someone Else

Those who are staying with someone else will need to provide:

  • A recent letter from the person that you stay with. The letter must be less than 3 months old and confirm that you have their full permission to stay with them.
  • Documentation that shows the full name and address of the person you stay with. This can be a tenancy agreement, a household utility bill, or a council tax notice.


Asylum Screening Process

Asylum seekers must register their claim by giving information at a ‘screening unit’. Check what happens at the meeting with an immigration officer and during the asylum registration.

Asylum Seeker Interview

UK Visas and Immigration department conduct asylum screening interviews. This part of the evaluation process takes place soon after they screened you.

Getting a Decision on Asylum

The asylum decision is based on the testimony given in the screening interview. The guide explains the process they use to decide and how long it takes to get a decision for asylum.

Minor Applying for Asylum

A section for children who are under 18 years old and applying for asylum by themselves. UKVI use a specific process for claims by unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

Asylum How to Apply in the United Kingdom