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Claiming Asylum in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 31 Dec 2016 | 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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[Add a Comment]
hello sir i am from india. I am unable to bear the weather here. It is so hot here that I am suffering from heat stress every day even in winter.I am unable to work because of my suffering.I am unable to earn any money.so i fear I may die because of poverty and starvation.So i want to move to a colder english speaking country because I can speak english.so can I claim any asylum based on medical grounds
pavan - 31-Dec-16 @ 6:37 AM
please guide me how to apply for refugee status nd i dont want to discontinue my education due to financial issue.am i elgble iam from FATA pakistan a conflict zne very bakward.we face honour killing tr.
humii - 17-Dec-16 @ 5:30 PM
iam student at Uk i am frompakistan.i have just arrived from my country i have selected education as i was facing race problem also millitants are against female education i have two disabled brothers my father is 65yers old he cannot afford my tuition fee i cannot marry my cousins according to my culture i cannot go for arrange marriage.millitants and shia are our enemies i am not safe in my country iam unable to pay tuition fee if i go back to my country it will be cage for me and i am not safe there.
humii - 17-Dec-16 @ 5:26 PM
Sanjay - Your Question:
Hi! I am from India and well settled here, I belongs to a hindu brahamin family and with all faith and believe have converted to Christianity and very happy and blessed to be an Christian. I am practicing Christianity and want to continue but since last 3 to 4 months I am start getting threat calls, letters etc and couple of occasions few people attached on me, have given 3 complainants to the local police but no updates at yet.I am with my family living in fear and very scared.due to this I am not able to continue my practice and not even able to go to Church as they people chasing me always.Please advise if we come to the UK can we apply for asylum.Thanks

Our Response:
An individual can only claim asylum in the UK, if they are already in the UK. As specified in the article, 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.
AboutImmigration - 14-Dec-16 @ 2:17 PM
Hi! I am from India and well settled here, i belongs to a hindu brahamin family and with all faith and believe have converted to Christianity and very happy and blessed to be an Christian. I am practicing Christianity andwant to continue but since last 3 to 4 months I am start getting threat calls, letters etc and couple of occasions few people attached on me, have given 3 complainants to the local police but no updates at yet....I am with my family living in fear and very scared...due to this I am not able to continue my practice and not even able to go to Church as they people chasing me always....Please advise if we come to the UK can we apply for asylum. Thanks
Sanjay - 9-Dec-16 @ 12:18 PM
Hi sir I cam in UK 2012 on spouse visa.I never stayed with my hubby and in-laws happily.I suffered domestic violence from my hubby.he is taking drugs .my visa was run out before 2 years .he never helped me.now I'm away from him I am pregnant from someone else.I can't go back Pakistan because of my brothers and uncle goona kill me becausea baby is out of marriage.I don't have income I tried before of pregnancy divide 2 times.I' can't sleep without sleeping tablets.if I don't have my baby in my stomach may be I kill myself but now I want live my life for my baby .I applied asylum seeker.I had attend 1st appointment now I'm waiting for another appointment.please I need ur advice sir and please don't show my message of public.am waitingfor ur answer.I'm 26 weeks pregnant.and my friend is British.thanks sir
Sum - 20-Nov-16 @ 11:31 PM
I am refuse asylum seekers in U.K. 6 years still live here full time work no tax I want give tax no permeation and my partner she is British so I don't know wha shall I do cuz I don't want go Afghanistan ????
Khan - 15-Oct-16 @ 10:03 PM
I came to this country from bangladesh when I was 9 years old my mother left me here with my extended family and all I knew was i went to school in the UK. For about 5 years i was shifted from relative to relatives house never had a sound upbringing or understood was it meant to be settled and safe. No news from my mum i had problems in an aunts house so I ran away and became homless was helped by social sevices and had a hostel which I stayed in. I have had no legal rights my brother tried to claim asylum for me but that never worked out. I have had no financial support other than 50 a week from social services to live on. I didnt finish school as i was always bullied for bot being a British citizen. I fell into the wrong crowd by the age of 19 I was involved with a gang and they looked after me by giving me mkney a sense of belonging and a family. Currently undergoing a sentence in a youth offenders unit I have been moved around there a few times and now I have been sent a deportation order my solicitors and lawyers say I have a 50/50 chance I am waitjng an immigration appeal and after that my fate will be in the hands of the home office. I have lived half my life here feel terrible for coming here I feel like a burden to everyone.
Jm - 14-Oct-16 @ 11:21 PM
sahr - Your Question:
What is the procedure to complain against asylum applicant. who is not an asylum but applying for it with the help of uk resident. legally how can we register complain against that person.

Our Response:
Please see gov.uk link here.
AboutImmigration - 23-Sep-16 @ 11:17 AM
My friend has been issued an assylum seeker id card permitting him to work.it's the new id card or just an exception
Glamerouse - 22-Sep-16 @ 8:26 PM
what is the procedure to complain against asylum applicant.. who is not an asylum but applying for it with the help of uk resident.. legally how can we register complain against that person.
sahr - 22-Sep-16 @ 10:58 AM
Greetings, I am a Syrian citizen Khaled Khalil, from the Syrian Golan, and we live in Damascus refugee camp Alspinh for displaced people, and when the events began in our logic of violent incidents to the destruction of homes and "... but the security situation is intolerable became, but I was forced to out, and it was stronger than me conditions. first,), so much so that no one goes out at night, for fear of assassination can be, not to mention the bombing, who was night and day, and I my family and go next door to the village, and safer, but soon come to these villages tour and my family and I went to Damascus to get refugee status in the school for refugees and time after time, has been standing for hours and SAT before the harassment and FAQs inspection, after the abduction of girls from the streets and began incredible things, and then decided to travel to Turkey, and I and my wife and children, and five We now live in Istanbul, but the circumstances do not go as I wished for the children of my children and graduates in the field of computer and sports, and I have a degree in mechanics and all certificates from the embassy in the Syrian Foreign Ministry, and all the required documents for me and my family, and asked humanitarian asylum because it narrowed the world in my eyes and I want the best for the future of my children, thank you very much
alkhlil - 5-Sep-16 @ 7:58 PM
Hy. My mom father is in the U. K and he seeking a working permit... does this allow him to bring his family over from Somalia?
Ahmed - 25-Aug-16 @ 5:50 PM
Hi My name is Alice. My whole family shifted to Engand in 2001 and my mother took asylum just before the expirey of Visa. We stayed in the UK for almost 7 years before they removed us from UK in 2007. We were studying and living our lives, even my little brother was born there. One day they came to our house and took us to the detention center and told us we can re-appeal or else we have 72 hours to leave the country.. It's 2016 now and we;re still in our country. Almost 10 years now. What I wanna know is that can we go back? Is there any application we can put regarding our case? Can they bring us back to UK? If not, can i apply for the visa? I would like to fight for our case. Please answer correctly
alice - 12-Aug-16 @ 9:17 PM
I've nothing to do with an asylum I'm not even in the UK. But a random though when people apply for an asylum at a later date say someone has only six months left in their visa to expire and they apply how is this viewed negatively or positively? Secondly, how much do you view or consider in a positive sense , the statement of the person versus what the media has to say about that person or even people on social media of the area that person is coming from? Third, how much consideration is given to the truth? Truth is I'm a female in a country where honour killing happens as well but I don't flea why because if we all start leaving aren't we letting the bad people empower anyways? Can't staying in your homeland make a difference that's what I actually believe in unless someone's in a dire condition such as gay marriages ( which I think is a basic human right) or religious persecution or so on.
Dee - 19-Jul-16 @ 6:24 PM
Hi i wana ask im female and my ex boyfriend is threatening me.he misused my pics and videos in social media.hes harrasing me more.im not safe here no one is protecting vme.kindlt guide me can i take asylum?wats tge procedure
Nawal - 11-Jul-16 @ 11:57 AM
Hello I and my wife are same sex partners.i am on work visa and I got her here on marriage visa and then v got married here.and now she is on dependent visa. Our families don't know v r married and now my visa is going get over.and v are scared to go back as our families will not let us leave together back in India.so some of our friends advised us to claim for asylum in uk.can someone please help in how to apply and which source is best to apply for asylum.
V - 2-Jul-16 @ 3:31 PM
Hello My youngest sister has just completed masters degree and is bieng forced into a marriage with someone who is unsuitable. My father is retired and living with my abusive brothers one of whom had been released from a murder case in 2013-2014. My four brothers are so abusive that it has affected my sisters health drastically. She wants to work but is not allowed but they ask her to do all the domestic work from dawn till late night while thier own wives sit back like princesses. My sisters has been threatened several times of killing if she takes the name of a marriage by choice or work. My old father has no say in the matter. I am on a dependent visa in the UK but I can manage to bring her here as a visitor to stay with me for few months. But when she goes back she will face the same life threat or live the life of a slave all her life. My brothers dont even afford her, I send her money to even buy her grocery etc.. but they take full charge of her life not letting her breathe freely. She is losing her health and mental stability. I cant let her die there suffering from unpaid labour and mental & psychological torture. Please guide me if she can apply for asylum if I bring her here for sometime to live with me for few months.
ASkhan - 18-Jun-16 @ 3:57 AM
Oliver- Your Question:
Hi my names Muhammad come from Egypt and I am overstayed in the uk for five years ago and want to apply asylum coz I have change my relagin I was Muslim and become Christins if I apply and get refused do I have to leave the country coz I am so scared to even apply fo asylum but not sure if they refuse me for any reson do I have to go back coz I can't go back so what the best thing to do

Our Response:
Please see Asylum Aid site here which should give you more information about the process.
AboutImmigration - 17-Jun-16 @ 10:16 AM
I am overstayed for Fife year and I am from Egypt and want to claim asylum coz I have I am oferc to be Muslim and chose to be come Christian if I apply and get refused do I have to leave the country and Go back to Egypt coz and am to scared to even apply and don't have no choice I really want to apply before get couch
Oliver - 16-Jun-16 @ 7:19 AM
Hi my names Muhammad come from Egypt and I am overstayed in the uk for five years ago and want to apply asylum coz I have change my relagin I was Muslim and become Christins if I apply and get refused do I have to leave the country coz I am so scared to even apply fo asylum but not sure if they refuse me for any reson do I have to go back coz I can't go back so what the best thing to do
Oliver - 16-Jun-16 @ 7:15 AM
Mahendra - Your Question:
Hello sir , My case is very serious. I am from India. I love with another religion girl. We faced many problems in india.I am Hindu and my girlfriend is another religion.i want to marry with this girl.My parents don't like this and my girlfrnd also want to marry me and her parents don't alow. My girlfrnd always fraid. Sometime we decided if we can change our religion but we are also fraid then after me and my girlfrnd decided if you and me will be go another country we live safe.then after we came in cyprus for the study but we have no money now and our parents doubted.if we come in UK and change our religion and got Marry together. It is possible we want to asylum in UK and live together please sir help me.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this, but as specified in the article you can only claim asylum when you are actually in the UK.
AboutImmigration - 15-Jun-16 @ 12:37 PM
Hello sir , My case is very serious . I am from India . I love with another religion girl . We faced many problems in india.I am Hindu and my girlfriend is another religion .i want to marry with this girl .My parents don't like this and my girlfrnd also want to marry me and her parents don't alow . My girlfrnd always fraid . Sometime we decided if we can change our religion but we are also fraid then after me and my girlfrnd decided if you and me will be go another countrywe live safe .then after we came in cyprus for the study but we have no money now and our parents doubted .if we come in UK and change our religion and got Marry together . It is possible we want to asylum in UK and live together please sir help me .
Mahendra - 14-Jun-16 @ 5:32 PM
I am a 16 year old male who is being tortured by my parents,grand parents and being pressurised by my college to study what I dont like. I am daily subject to wordly abuse and treated very badly.People all around me and my society is bad. I need help from UK to study and start a new innings in life. I am forced to study 16hours a day daily and abused badly for even the food I eat. Please help me. These kind of Problems and Abuses are not dealt in India.
HonRed - 9-Jun-16 @ 2:06 PM
Joe - Your Question:
Hi; I m from india separated from my husband 2 1/2 ago my divorce proceeding in my home country; 1 1/2 years I met this man from pakistan we were good friend and now good patterns we want to live our life together and after claiming divorce we want to get married but we cannot make this delicious because we are not going to be safe in Pakistan; we are Christians also they treat Christian very badly in Pakistan and we want to live our life together can we plead for assyulum

Our Response:
I'm afraid you can only plead asylum when you are in the country you wish to seek asylum in, please see further information on the gov.uk site here.
AboutImmigration - 8-Jun-16 @ 12:59 PM
Hi; i m from india separated from my husband 2 1/2 ago my divorce proceeding in my home country; 1 1/2 years I met this man from pakistan we were good friend and now good patterns we want to live our life together and after claiming divorce we want to get married but we cannot make this delicious because we are not going to be safe in Pakistan; we are Christians also they treat Christian very badly in Pakistan and we want to live our life together can we plead for assyulum
Joe - 7-Jun-16 @ 9:00 PM
Denjen- Your Question:
I have a client who is Pakistani and came to UK in 2015 after an arranged marriage with a Pakistani national who has leave to remain in UK. They have a child born here who has a British passport. My client is a victim of domestic abuse and she cannot return to Pakistan. The relationship with her husband has now broken down. She has sought asylum and been issued with a temporary ID card by the Home Office whilst awaiting her next substantive immigration interview. Is she able to claim Benefits? Her husband is not supporting her.

Our Response:
As a rule, an asylum seeker is not entitled to non-contributory benefits like Income Support and Housing Benefit. While they are not prevented from claiming contributory benefits - it is unusual that they will qualify because they generally haven't paid NI contributions. With regards toJobseeker's Allowance, they are prevented from claiming this on the basis that because of their status they are not permitted to work. It's a tricky situation as asylum seekers are given help while waiting for asylum, and also can gain some help in the short term if they have been refused. I can only suggest you give the asylum helpline a call as if your client has a child, she may be able to get some financial help, please see link here. I hope this helps.
AboutImmigration - 2-Jun-16 @ 11:23 AM
I have a client who is Pakistani and came to UK in 2015 after an arranged marriage with a Pakistani national who has leave to remain in UK.They have a child born here who has a British passport.My client is a victim of domestic abuse and she cannot return to Pakistan.The relationship with her husband has now broken down.She has sought asylum and been issued with a temporary ID card by the Home Office whilst awaiting her next substantive immigration interview.Is she able to claim Benefits?Her husband is not supporting her.
Denjen - 1-Jun-16 @ 2:29 PM
I have am a UK citizen and I married my Ukrainian wife 10 years ago in Kuwait where I am working full time. My contract is due to finish soon and we would like to go back to UK. Her residence is Lugansk which is, as you know, a war zone. Is there any chance that she can apply for asylum when we enter the UK?
Andy - 30-Apr-16 @ 12:28 PM
Maheera - Your Question:
Hi, I am from Pakistan, a single parent with one 11 years old daughter. I have taken divorce from my husband and now fighting my daughter custody case in family court. most probably the custody will go in my favor. I want to ask if I can come to UK for asylum with my daughter as my ex husband is threatening me contentiously that he will through acid on me and take my daughter. I have a family visit visa valid for next 6 months with 6 months stay. Please help me in this regard as I am very much depressed and losing every hope. please reply urgently.Thanks.

Our Response:
You can only apply for asylum if you are already in the UK. To be eligible you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution. If you feel threatened by your husband, you must seek advice and help from your own country police etc, who should be able to help you. To be recognised as a refugee in the UK, 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, or have failed to get protection from authorities in your own country. Please see link: here.
AboutImmigration - 27-Apr-16 @ 10:53 AM
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