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Claiming Asylum in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 2 Aug 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Claiming Asylum In The Uk

A foreign national who faces the threat of serious harm in their own country may be able to claim asylum in the UK. The main legal document concerning the treatment of asylum seekers, or refugees, around the world is the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees 1951. A successful asylum seeker may be given leave to remain in the UK for five years.

The UK has a long history of giving sanctuary to foreign nationals who have been persecuted in their own country. However, in recent years there has been public concern at so-called “bogus” asylum seekers whose real motivation for coming to the UK is to exploit the benefits and economic opportunities available here. As a consequence there has been a general tightening of the rules around asylum.

Definition of Refugee

A person is defined as a refugee by the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees if:
  • He or she is outside of their own country;
  • Has a well-founded fear that they will face persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a social group or political opinion; and,
  • Cannot, or will not, rely on protection by the country of their origin.

Who is Eligible to Claim Asylum in the UK?

Foreign nationals or stateless people who fear persecution as defined by the UN Convention may claim asylum in the UK. They must do so in person and must be in the UK to claim asylum here. A person who has previously been harmed or persecuted but who no longer faces that threat does not qualify for refugee status under the UN Convention.

How and When to Claim Asylum

Asylum may be claimed as soon as the foreign national enters the UK. If so it will be claimed at the port of entry. Asylum is claimed by simply telling an immigration official that the individual wishes to claim asylum. Once this notice is given the asylum process will begin.

If asylum is claimed at a later stage it should be done at an asylum screening unit. Units are located in Croydon and Liverpool. The individual will then be registered as an asylum seeker and begin the asylum application procedure. If a person has spent some time in the UK and only applies for asylum at a later date this may count against them when their application is considered.

Applicants who have travelled from the country in which they claim that they face persecution to the UK via another European Union or “safe” country may be returned there by UK immigration authorities to make their asylum application. The reasoning behind this is that the asylum seeker no longer faced persecution once they were in the other European Union or safe country.

How Asylum Seekers are Treated While Their Application is Being Processed

Once an individual has claimed asylum they will usually be given temporary leave to enter and remain in the UK. They may be allowed to live freely and provided with support and / or housing by the government. However, in some cases asylum seekers may be held in detention while their application is processed.

The status of asylum seekers may be further complicated by the fact that it is almost impossible to have entered the UK legally as a refugee or asylum seeker even in cases where the individual managed to obtain an immigrant visa before coming to the UK.

The European Convention on Human Rights

The UK is bound by European Human Rights law which means that they have a legal duty not to send someone back to a country where they may be tortured or subjected to inhumane treatment or punishment. In some cases an individual who does not qualify for refugee status may be given discretionary leave to remain in the UK pursuant to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Foreign nationals given leave to remain under this legislation will usually be allowed to stay in the UK for three years. After the three years have elapsed the authorities will consider whether or not the individual needs to stay in the UK.

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Could a person claiming asylum here i.e. Kurdish marry a British citizen whilst they are claiming asylum?
Maddy - 2-Aug-18 @ 9:33 PM
Its just through God's grace And keep the spirit of helping the needy Be blessed
solisoli - 22-Jul-18 @ 3:18 PM
@Adam_26 - You cannot seek asylum in one EU country if you already been living in another EU country.
TJ. - 21-Jul-18 @ 11:35 AM
Hello, i'm a syrian doctor and now i'm living in Germany and i have entered Germany by a visa but i can't stand living here because of the racismusunfriendly of the people here and now i have deep depression and my house in Syria was destroyedlast month during the war, i just want to live save in an Englisch speekingcountry! And i decided to go to uk and claim asylum but all the ways to enter their are illegal and also have a fingerprint in the foreigners office in Germany duringthe residency papers process but i'm not a refugee in Germany and i'm wondering if that is considered like a schingen fingerprint, I want an advice about my legal situation and how can i do that?
Adam_26 - 20-Jul-18 @ 11:12 PM
Besta - Your Question:
Greetings to all of you,I am a Sudanese of African descent. We in Sudan suffer persecution and discrimination from Arab tribes.I loved a girl of Arab origin and agreed to marry, and my family and I went to her sermon. The girl's parents strongly and spurned and expelled us from their house.The girl's family has relations with the state agencies, so they threatened me and followed me until I fled from the city where I live, fearing them. A few months later, the girl's sister contacted me and said she was in very serious condition and tried to commit suicide and was locked up in a room in the house ever since. I and her sister agreed to smuggle them out of the house and we actually fled to Egypt and married us there. This move aroused the anger of the girl's parents and damaged our blood or in other words they decided to kill me and their daughter, and they are looking for us until this moment.We now have a child and we live in great horror, knowing that the girl's parents and relatives now know that we are in Egypt.Now I'm on my way to Europe and I will ask for asylum there and saved my wife and baby from danger.My question is whether asylum is acceptable to my case.Should I support this story with documentation, knowing that there is no specific document to prove the status of the threat?All my documents are my identity documents and a marriage slip at the Sudanese Embassy in Cairo and my son's birth certificate.Sorry for the length of my story.Thanks in advance.good greeting

Our Response:
In order to seek asylum in the UK, you must have first of all tried and failed to get protection from the authorities in your own country. You can see more regarding eligibility via the link here, which will explain all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 28-Jun-18 @ 9:15 AM
Greetings to all of you, I am a Sudanese of African descent. We in Sudan suffer persecution and discrimination from Arab tribes. I loved a girl of Arab origin and agreed to marry, and my family and I went to her sermon. The girl's parents strongly and spurned and expelled us from their house. The girl's family has relations with the state agencies, so they threatened me and followed me until I fled from the city where I live, fearing them. A few months later, the girl's sister contacted me and said she was in very serious condition and tried to commit suicide and was locked up in a room in the house ever since. I and her sister agreed to smuggle them out of the house and we actually fled to Egypt and married us there. This move aroused the anger of the girl's parents and damaged our blood or in other words they decided to kill me and their daughter, and they are looking for us until this moment. We now have a child and we live in great horror, knowing that the girl's parents and relatives now know that we are in Egypt. Now I'm on my way to Europe and I will ask for asylum there and saved my wife and baby from danger. My question is whether asylum is acceptable to my case. Should I support this story with documentation, knowing that there is no specific document to prove the status of the threat? All my documents are my identity documents and a marriage slip at the Sudanese Embassy in Cairo and my son's birth certificate. Sorry for the length of my story. Thanks in advance. good greeting
Besta - 27-Jun-18 @ 2:07 PM
@InkTeam - I only speak from experience. Most asylum applications made by Indian citizens are refused.
TJ. - 21-Jun-18 @ 9:43 AM
No, im not guaranteed asylum in canada, i got canadain tourist visa a few month ago. The reason why i want to claim asylum in uk transit zone is because ive heard everyone who seeks asylum must claim for it in the first safe country. So when i have a connecting flight to canada, and a layover in London. Then i must claim asylum in uk...
Affil - 11-Jun-18 @ 4:15 PM
meee - Your Question:
Hi am a nigerian citizen, came to uk as a dependant partner through my husband who holds a student visa, I have lived with me in fear due to ceaseless assaults, and threats to kill me. I have reported to the police and the case is rolling. my social worker just told me the only way I can remain in uk is to claim assylum but having read other peoples view, am scared I might be refused. whats your advice.

Our Response:
You can see all you need to know about claiming asylum via the link here.
AboutImmigration - 11-Jun-18 @ 12:24 PM
@Affil - If you are guaranteed asylum in Canada why would you want to claim asylum in the UK which is not guaranteed? If you do not have the correct documents to allow you to enter Canada or transit through the UK then you will not be allowed to board your flight in Iran. If you apply for asylum in the UK and your application is refused you will be deported to Iran.
TJ. - 11-Jun-18 @ 9:48 AM
First let me apologize for my elementary English skill. Me and my wife are living in Iran, we have problem with government because we dont believe in Islam and we have change to Christianity. So our life is endangered. We could get Canadain Visa a few month ago. We canflight from Iran to Canada. And we have a lay over in London Airport.(stop change) The question is: can we claim asylum at transit zone in Heathrow airport. Because we dont have uk transit visa wecan not leave transit zone and enter uk, and in fact we have to stay there for next flight to canada, but because we find uk a safe place we would like to claim asylum and stay there. My question: Do immigration force accept our asylum claim and let us get into ukor they will send us with the next flight to canada or back to Iran? How should we deal with it, do we have to get rid of our passports or any other things to do...???? Thanks
Affil - 11-Jun-18 @ 8:25 AM
@meee - Asylum is only granted to individuals who are not able to return to their countries because they are unable to live their in dignity or their lives are in danger. Application for asylum from Nigerian citizens are in most cases refused.
TJ. - 10-Jun-18 @ 8:41 PM
Hi am a nigerian citizen, came to uk as a dependant partner through my husband who holds a student visa, i have lived with me in fear due to ceaseless assaults, and threats to kill me. i have reported to the police and the case is rolling. my social worker just told me the only way i can remain in uk is to claim assylum but having read other peoples view, am scared i might be refused. whats your advice.
meee - 9-Jun-18 @ 11:28 AM
@fredbzee - If you do not claim for asylum IMMEDIATELY that your circumstances change your claim will be refused. All asylum claims from Nigeria are also generally refused.
TJ. - 27-May-18 @ 10:03 PM
Hi My name is a Fred, a Nigerian national who traveled to the UK on a student visa under the auspices of one of theState governments of my country on a scholarship. In between my course of study my sexual orientation changed, and my sponsor learnt of it. And to that effect, I was told off and impugned to either act up or lose subsequent maintenance support and prospective tuition. In the aftermath, I kept my stance and the government made good their promise to freeze me out which led to my inability to continue my study. As I speak, I have constantly been harassed by members of the scholarship scheme working for the government and been threatened of punishment should I return home on any account as I had been labelled the black sheep of the country. As these perjoratives continue, I am left out in the cold, having stayed undecided for a few years without saying a word to the UK authorities owing to the culture of refusal rife in the Home Office. However, only recently when things have reached crisis point I have now decided to stake my claim and tell my story. Do you think it will be validated after spending a few years in the doldrums not turning myself in to the UK authorities for help? Would my asylum claim be heard and given due consideration?
fredbzee - 27-May-18 @ 1:30 AM
Dharm - Your Question:
Hi, I am from India. I want to apply for asylum to UK. I am MBA HR, and fulltime employed from past 2 years. I am from lower caste every. There has been lot of politics and hate among fellow citizens for lower caste. Caste terrorism is at peek in india we are not human we are cheap and dirty animals this what believe of higher caste Indians because there elders taught them. I do not even have any social life because of this one reason. I only place I visit outside my home is my workplace. My friends dont hurt me physically but they hurt me emotionally. I not invited for any social events, family functions because I am from lower caste.

Our Response:
To claim asylum in the UK, as highlighted in the article to be eligible you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution. Please see link here, which will tell you all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:29 AM
@Dharm - Most asylum applications made by Indian citizens are refused
TJ. - 9-Apr-18 @ 11:29 AM
Hi, I am from India. I want to apply for asylum to UK. I am MBA HR, and fulltime employed from past 2 years. I am from lower caste every. There has been lot of politics and hate among fellow citizens for lower caste. Caste terrorism is at peek in india we are not human we are cheap and dirty animals this what believe of higher caste Indians because there elders taught them. I do not even have any social life because of this one reason. I only place I visit outside my home is my workplace. My friends dont hurt me physically but they hurt me emotionally. I not invited for any social events, family functions because I am from lower caste.
Dharm - 8-Apr-18 @ 5:58 PM
Boom - Your Question:
HieI am a Zimbabwean national now just because we going through election.we are facing a problem of beign persecuted and we are beign beaten forced to vote zanu pf and beign threatened as Mthwakazi member.Can I claim asylum I am vomkng through

Our Response:
To be eligible to claim asylum you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution. You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which will explain all you need to know.
AboutImmigration - 26-Mar-18 @ 9:52 AM
@Boom - claiming asylum in the UK these days is quite a lengthy process and most applications are refused. You should consider claiming asylum in other countries closer to home like South Africa or Zambia.
TJ. - 25-Mar-18 @ 7:51 AM
Hie I am a Zimbabwean national now just because we going through election .we are facing a problem of beign persecuted and we are beign beaten forced to vote zanu pf and beignthreatened as Mthwakazi member.Can i claim asylum i am vomkng through
Boom - 24-Mar-18 @ 7:25 PM
Hi my husband is in Saudi at the moment his visa has finished and unable to get another I have tried to do his visa for UK but have problems with my wage slips please help .. I can't let him go back to Pakistan his life is at risk
Naz - 21-Mar-18 @ 11:32 PM
Miaan - Your Question:
Hi,My wife filed divorce application from her ex-husband in 2003 due to his criminal activities and got it through the court in Pakistan.We got married in 2009 and since then she started getting threats to her life from her ex-husband. We moved to Saudi Arabia coz of the same reason in 2012. This guy belongs to a criminal gang and now has reached to Saudi Arabia. My wife and our 2 kids have threat to their lives at any point in time.I am in UK with my family on visit visa. I was the main applicant in our visa application. Can my wife apply for asylum while I leave for Saudi Arabia to continue my job and business? What kind of evidence she might have to produce if she is eligible to apply for asylum.Looking for helpful answers

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here, which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 5-Mar-18 @ 2:25 PM
@Miaan - Because you did not claim asylum as soon as you arrived in the UK your application will most likely be refused. Also the Home Office usually refuses applications for asylum based on domestic issues.
TJ. - 5-Mar-18 @ 6:59 AM
Hi, My wife filed divorce application from her ex-husband in 2003 due to his criminal activities and got it through the court in Pakistan. We got married in 2009 and since then she started getting threats to her life from her ex-husband. We moved to Saudi Arabia coz of the same reason in 2012. This guy belongs to a criminal gang and now has reached to Saudi Arabia. My wife and our 2 kids have threat to their lives at any point in time. I am in UK with my family on visit visa. I was the main applicant in our visa application. Can my wife apply for asylum while I leave for Saudi Arabia to continue my job and business? What kind of evidence she might have to produce if she is eligible to apply for asylum. Looking for helpful answers
Miaan - 4-Mar-18 @ 6:57 PM
Andrei Yudin - Your Question:
Hello!I am a Russian and I live in Moscow.Because of my arguing against the superpower of the secret services and police in Russia,the Russian police FSB (the former KGB) started persecuting me.They use the punitive psychiatry against me.I already passed 8 months in psychiatric hospitals over the last 4 years.I am afraid to remain in Russia and I want leave this country and apply for political asylum in Britain.The fact is that if I arrive in UK and apply for political asylum there,I will not be able to live there on my own,that's on my own means.Iwould like to know if the British migration service supplies with food and shelter all applicants for political asylum coming in Britain.Andrei Yudin,47,Moscow.

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here , which should help answer your question.
AboutImmigration - 15-Feb-18 @ 11:45 AM
Hello!I am a Russian and I live in Moscow.Because of my arguing against the superpower of the secret services and police in Russia,the Russian police FSB (the former KGB) started persecuting me.They use the punitive psychiatry against me.I already passed 8 months in psychiatric hospitals over the last 4 years.I am afraid to remain in Russia and I want leave this country and apply for political asylum in Britain. The fact is that if I arrive in UK and apply for political asylum there,I will not be able to live there on my own,that's on my own means.Iwould like to know if the British migration service supplies with food and shelter all applicants for political asylum coming in Britain. Andrei Yudin,47,Moscow.
Andrei Yudin - 14-Feb-18 @ 3:17 PM
damasus - Your Question:
I am a Syrian postgraduate student, studying in the UK. I came to the UK in Sep 2017. My study is covered by a Syrian Scholarship from funded by the university. I need to claim asylum because I have no place to go after finishing my studies. I lost my position in one of the Gulf countries because of the crises there. In Syria, I was in prison because of political reasons (that is recorded in the Amnesty reports). The question is: if I claimed asylum I am afraid I will lose my study place and scholarship at the university because of that. Could you please help me to decide?

Our Response:
We can only direct you to the gov.uk link here, and here, which tells you more.
AboutImmigration - 6-Feb-18 @ 1:52 PM
@Erica - you could try claiming asylum in India where there is a large Christian population that lives freely.
TJ. - 4-Feb-18 @ 10:51 AM
hi m from pak karachi .well m afraid staying in pakistan cz m christain they dont respect them m in problem help please cant say anything over here.
erica - 4-Feb-18 @ 3:22 AM
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