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Claiming Asylum in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 1 Jun 2019 | 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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Hi I am george I am an international student here in the uk and still doing my degree,but now my country is a warzone.Can I seek asylum while doing my degree?
Breezy - 1-Jun-19 @ 10:44 AM
@Leah - You can only claim asylum once you are in the UK. Each case is considered on it's own merit but I think you may have a strong case.
TJ. - 4-Apr-19 @ 9:18 AM
I am a white person living in South Africa. Our government is targeting us and preventing us from working. We are under a daily threat of abuse by the majority and are being slowly wiped out, as living conditions deteriorate, and it becomes less safe every day. Please tell me if I qualify to move to England. I am educated. Will they help me? I have a South African Passport and a young child. Thank you
Leah - 3-Apr-19 @ 3:38 PM
Can a gay nigerian claim asylum on a visitors visa to uk.
none - 13-Feb-19 @ 5:09 AM
Hi one of lady friend and her 3 year son comes to Heathrow and apply asylum. What will happen now . Will they be send them back or detained here.
Vick - 17-Nov-18 @ 3:06 AM
Hello please I’m a seeker who scared from home office and I run out of them before 2 years now at the moment I’m sleeping in streets I have nothing to eat and I tried to go back for asylum but they didn’t agree haw I can open my case
Fouda - 3-Nov-18 @ 9:20 PM
Hello I would like to claim for asylum am married with children and we don’t feel secure in our country of origin My children specially my older one is been traumatized just at the idea of returning back to our country How do I start? Thank you Dina
Dina - 4-Oct-18 @ 12:00 PM
@Emma - your boyfriend would be allowed to stay with you.
MustaFa - 6-Sep-18 @ 3:32 PM
I have a boyfriend that is seeking asylum in the uk, where do I stand if he wants to move in with me?
Emma - 5-Sep-18 @ 10:47 AM
@Askinghelp - If you have a recognised civil partnership with a British citizen, there is no reason for you to claim asylum. All you need to do is apply for a family visa as a civil partner.
TJ. - 28-Aug-18 @ 1:56 PM
Hello there, I'm a Moroccan, living in Morocco, I'm gay and got married with my husband he is british, we got married in Danemark last summer, and when i came back home, my family had doubs about me cause they don't know, but my sister was searching on my phone and found some pics with my husband and from ceremony in Danemark,and she told all my family, they kicked me out and have no place. I'm still studying. And I'm afraid that people could know then it would be dangerous for me to be shown especially that many cases of gay people had been hurted by some guys...i want to ask if I can seek of asylum in UK if i went there with a standard visa?? And it this a reason to provide my claiming. Tha k you
Askinghelp - 27-Aug-18 @ 5:31 PM
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
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
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