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Claiming Asylum in the UK

By: Louise Smith, barrister - Updated: 7 Aug 2017 | 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]
rozi - Your Question:
I was forced to get married in Pakistan in 2010 to my cousin but I love an other guy so after marriage my husband used to beat me and was very hard time for me to live with him so I got divorced after 2 years.I got married again with my beloved in 2012 but it was hidden from families.My husband was in uk for study so after a study, he got post study visa and he came back to Pakistan and we apply for a visa because it was difficult to hide marriage from my family.But visa was refused and I could not come in uk.My husband went back again in Pakistan when his visa finished and then I apply for student visa.I got it and last October I and my husband came to uk.so now everyone in families and my ex-husband knows that I got married again to my beloved so if I go back then its a great fear of prosecution because in Pakistan people consider love marriage as disrespect to their honor.That's why there are so many cases of honor killing.so what can you suggest me in this situation.Further more now we have a baby as well.waiting for a reply.Thanks

Our Response:
You can see more via the gov.uk link here which will tell you all you need to know about being eligible to claim asylum.
AboutImmigration - 8-Aug-17 @ 12:37 PM
I was forced to get married in Pakistan in 2010 to my cousin but I love an other guy so after marriage my husband used to beat me and was very hard time for me to live with him so I got divorced after 2 years.I got married again with my beloved in 2012 but it was hidden from families.My husband was in uk for study so after a study, he got post study visa and he came back to Pakistan and we apply for a visa because it was difficult to hide marriage from my family.But visa was refused and I could not come in uk.My husband went back again in Pakistan when his visa finished and then I apply for student visa .I got it and last October I and my husband came to uk.so now everyone in families and my ex-husband knows that I got married again to my beloved so if I go back then its a great fear of prosecution because in Pakistan people consider love marriage as disrespect to their honor.That's why there are so many cases of honor killing.so what can you suggest me in this situation.Further more now we have a baby as well.waiting for a reply.Thanks
rozi - 7-Aug-17 @ 1:49 PM
Kadi - Your Question:
I am a Muslim women I came here with visa tourist and I met a man I got a pregnant after that he left me and I found myself alone with my baby I can't go to my country because they gonna kill me and my son.What can I do?

Our Response:
To stay in the UK as a refugee you must be unable to live safely in any part of your own country because you fear persecution there, please see gov.uk link here for further information. If you overstay your visa you risk being deported from the UK, please see link here.
AboutImmigration - 4-Aug-17 @ 11:12 AM
I am a Muslim women I came here with visa tourist and I met a man I got a pregnant after that he left me and I found myself alone with my baby I can't go to my country because they gonna kill me and my son. What can I do?
Kadi - 3-Aug-17 @ 6:47 PM
Adami - Your Question:
Hello,I need urgent help !!!!Please don't hesitate to share your knowledge and information!!!My sister's life back home is in Danger ! She recently got married to a man who is extremely unkind to her so is his family.he keeps beating her everyday and tell her why she can't get pregnant.They went to Doctor and did all sort of test But it turned out that he can't conceive!But still out of arrogance he was not prepared to accept the fact.He is treating her like a slave keeps her locked in the house.He wouldn't even allow to get in touch with me or my family.My poor sister she asked for divorce but they have threaten her that they will kill her if she goes to court or to police.She is now thinking of committing suicide Because she has no other option as there is no law in the country.I'm wondering if there's any way that I can get her here. She is a very young girlI'm sure when she comes here she will continue to her studying and work here.Your help is appreciated.Thanks

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. However, in order to be eligible to claim asylum in the UK, your sister must have failed to get protection from authorities in her own country. Therefore, I suggest you (on her behalf) or she approaches the authorities in her home country directly to report this.
AboutImmigration - 3-Aug-17 @ 10:30 AM
Hello, I need urgent help !!!! Please don't hesitate to share your knowledge and information!!! My sister's life back home is in Danger ! She recently got married to a man who is extremely unkind to her so is his family .he keeps beating her everyday and tell her why she can't get pregnant . They went to Doctor and did all sort of test But it turned out that he can't conceive! But still out of arrogance he was not prepared to accept the fact . He is treating her like a slave keeps her locked in the house. He wouldn't even allow to get in touch with me or my family. My poor sister she asked for divorce but they have threaten her that they will kill her if she goes to court or to police. She is now thinking of committing suicide Because she has no other option as there is no law in the country. I'm wondering if there's any way that I can get her here . She is a very young girl I'm sure when she comes here she will continue to her studying and work here . Your help is appreciated. Thanks
Adami - 1-Aug-17 @ 5:52 PM
Sunny - Your Question:
I am Indian passport holder unmarried father to English mother. My child is English and I have name on her birth certificate when I was there on tourist visa. Now we are not together any more. My question do I have any right to seek asylum or any rights to live in U.K. And take care of my baby as father ?

Our Response:
To be eligible to seek asylum 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. You cannot seek asylum because you have separated and wish to stay in the UK. You must tell the Home Office when you divorce or separate from your partner if your visa is based on your relationship. You must then either apply for a new visa or leave the UK, please see link here. You can see more about asylum seeking here.
AboutImmigration - 27-Jul-17 @ 4:11 PM
Hello, I read all your terms. I do not want to enter the United Kingdom for something I write. It's all true, and I do not have to worry about it. I am an Afghan and live in Afghanistan My life is not in danger My humanity and honor are in danger I fear that one day I will not commit suicide in this miserable situation In Afghanistan, humanitarian problems have not yet been established in this country. I did not have. My family, who should love me as the great son of my family, but I have never complained about myself, I always said that he did not love you, so you do not bring to the world the torture I see on my family not only from me but from all sisters and Brother I'm not complaining I said maybe my part I got bigger In the school of martyrs Worse than the family out of the worst I do not want to say more and this and I ask you for help This is my last email to you if you can help. I'm in a state of trouble for life. My hope is that you are the last. I'm so tired that I can not stand myself anymore. good time
samadi - 27-Jul-17 @ 9:26 AM
I am Indian passport holder unmarried father to English mother . My child is English and I have name on her birth certificate when I was there on tourist visa . Now we are not together any more . My question do I have any right to seek asylum or any rights to live in U.K. And take care of my baby as father ?
Sunny - 26-Jul-17 @ 5:06 PM
did uk give the asylum to internal people
cries honey - 21-Jul-17 @ 7:17 PM
Leena - Your Question:
I am holder of Mauritian passport and can enter uk on tourist visa for 6 month in a year.i came last Dec and left in may 2017. I met a Pakistani guy and married him in a mosque in uk in December. I came back to Mauritius and my family is harassing me. I want come uk and claim asylum. Is that possible. I have proof of my religious marriage certificate , pictures and also threats messages from my family

Our Response:
To stay in the UK as a refugee you must be unable to live safely in 'any' part of your own country because you fear persecution there. You will need to show that you have a real risk of being persecutedbecause of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. You also must have failed to get protection from authorities in your own country in order to be eligible to claim asylum in the UK. You can see all you need to know via thegov.uk link here .
AboutImmigration - 17-Jul-17 @ 10:04 AM
I am holder of Mauritian passport and can enter uk on tourist visa for 6 month in a year.i came last Dec and left in may 2017 . I met a Pakistani guy and married him in a mosque in uk in December. I came back to Mauritius and my family is harassing me . I want come uk and claim asylum . Is that possible . I have proof of my religious marriage certificate , pictures and also threats messages from my family
Leena - 14-Jul-17 @ 3:24 PM
len - Your Question:
Hallo,can a south african claim asylum? thank you

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 would also have to prove it would be unsafe for you to return to your own country i.e because your country is at war.
AboutImmigration - 29-Jun-17 @ 2:35 PM
Hallo,can a south african claim asylum? thank you
len - 28-Jun-17 @ 11:03 AM
I am in living in UK from past 8 years. I came here as student, and then extended as post study work permit, I have applied for tier1 entrepreneur visa but was refused, I have appealed against the decision, all my appeals have been exhausted. Can I claim asylum as gay now after living 8.5 years here? My family and society cannot tolerateand there is fear of persecution if I go back. I understand that asylum is claimed when we first arrive here but in my case it is time for me to claim now. And moreover I cannot provide any physical evidences from my country India because I am living here now since 8.5 years. I can provide only a statement and news articles of persecution of gay life and couples in india. And also I am in a relationship with a Indian partner who is exactly same situation living together since 6.5 years.I can provide all evidences that we are in relationship. The home office has confiscated our passports and have no right to work from more than an year since the appeals exhausted on entreprenuer application. We are still fighting on the same application with court of appeal but with few hopes, home office has made our life miserable though we are economic migrants with excellent skills to add to the british economy. Recently my partner has been detained which has been a traumatic episode for both of even after lots of education and investment in the country. Do we have any human rights left for us? Can you please advise?
Vishal - 25-Jun-17 @ 10:47 PM
Which countries can a refugee (with a 5 year leave to remain in the UK) travel to without a visa on a Convention Travel Document issued by the UK?
Zal - 23-Jun-17 @ 1:08 AM
Len - Your Question:
If I come to the uk and claim asylum,will I be detained? and if so,what is the reason for this?

Our Response:
If you come to the UK on a valid visa, you will not be detained. Only when you claim asylum will you then be in the official hands of the Home Office.
AboutImmigration - 15-Jun-17 @ 10:35 AM
If i come to the uk and claim asylum,will i be detained? and if so,what is the reason for this?
Len - 13-Jun-17 @ 10:30 AM
Hi my question is that my husband is an extremist and he has kept me in house for about 12 years no financial support no medical treatment also not taking any responsibility of me and my childrens he has threatened me with the gun on my head twice that he gonna kill me and my kids as i mentioned he is islamic extremist he got lots of guns at home and treated me like a slave he has taken my id card and passport and told me that i have to die serving him he has beaten me and my kinds hundreds and thousand times pulled a gun on me twice just because i am a women now he is planning to Honor killing buy spreading roumors that i am.not a good character women and he gonna kill me i am quite as my nd my kids life is in danger i tries to report it to the local police but he got good resources, friend and relatives in FIA and Police department and threatened me that if i report it to police and if he sia find out he gonna shoot me in the head and kids straight away so he got political supportand support from law agencies and he got a gun which he can use any time on me and my kids, my parents also not supporting me by saying that they have married me now my husband ia my owner i can die but can not come back, my question is that i have a fear that he is planning honor killing on me and my kids and he is strong and powerful resources if i manage to gwt viait visa for uk and run away from.here to save my and my kids life what are my chances to get asylum in uk on the basia i have mentioned, as if they find out that i left the country and if i came back to my country they will kill me and my kids straight away. Please let me know if a take a step to safe my and my koda life what are the chances british government will help and safe us. Please email me the answer, i didnt mention my name as he is checking online all the time if some one has tried to contactes me.or i have tried to get help. Please please please help me Thank you
Zoh - 13-May-17 @ 11:01 PM
i, I'm Abdul Rahman Jouda from Iraq. I am 33 years old. I am married and have three children. I am displaced because of my violent. My brothers have lost my home and my life is difficult. My wife and I are seeking help in getting asylum because I can not live with my children and I can not protect my wife and children from danger. Request for humanitarian action
Hessun - 6-May-17 @ 7:59 PM
Hi, I claimed asylum in uk. I did my interview in liverpool now I don't go to sign .when can I get decision
Khattak - 1-Apr-17 @ 10:50 PM
I am in the uk 9 years my asylum was refuse still leaving illegal working 6 day oneday off I can pay tax but if I have document I have British pathnar 4 years living together??
Noor Mohammad - 28-Mar-17 @ 12:43 AM
I am from the state of UTTAR PRADESH which happens to be the seat of orthodox,militant hinduism.I have had been a closeted CHRISTIAN for a very long time now...for the past 18 years or so....I am 36 years of age.......ALSO,I am a POET in the language ENGLISH.I am a terrible outcast here and am vulnerable to a lot of harassment.I will like to know my chances of obtaining asylum in GREAT BRITAIN as an apostate.
asshole - 22-Mar-17 @ 12:02 PM
sir i am here in pakistan and i am a afghaani Abbasi and k am refugee there but i does not have any save shelter there because i am a student and talibans was enimies of my life they killedy whole family but i am succeed to safe my life but now if they find me there they will kill me and pakistan police does nit helps me to save my life and there i have run short of money and food i think i does not have anything with me and i am here in wait of anyone who helps me if you are able to safe my life so please give me asylum because i want to study more and safe myself from talibans because they are nit good persons and i does not know that how to go with water way for uk if i know that way but i am not abble to go with water way or any boat way but i ma really sceared there so please help me
zaib - 7-Mar-17 @ 8:55 PM
I hate immigration of UK as they don't have human rights
Fara - 6-Mar-17 @ 12:13 PM
hi, i cam in this country in 2010 and my visa got finished in 2012. Since then i havent gone back to my country and i am living in uk. This year my whole family which includes my parents and sibblings are moving to canada after selling the house we use to live together. Now i dnt have anyone back home in pakistan and i dnt have anyone with my blood ties i can live with. Can you please advice me on this problem
danish - 5-Mar-17 @ 10:15 PM
Harbi - Your Question:
Hi my is abdul originally I am somalian stays in south africa as a refugeeand as everybody knows that hre in south africa they kill us everyday they threaten also I my self met alot of treaten against humanity and I have all thr prooof so if I come to uk and bring all the evidence will uk accept me coz there is zenophopia here also reply plz

Our Response:
As with the post below and as highlighted in the article, asylum can only be claimed if you are already in the UK. Asylum seekers must show that they have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and are unable or unwilling to seek protection from the authorities in their own country. Therefore, I suggest if you are being threatened in your own country, you approach your country's policing authorities for help.
AboutImmigration - 24-Feb-17 @ 9:52 AM
Hi my is abdul originally i am somalian stays in south africa as a refugeeand as everybody knows that hre in south africa they kill us everyday they threaten also i my self met alot of treaten against humanity and i have all thr prooof so if i come to uk and bring all the evidence will uk accept me coz there is zenophopia here also reply plz
Harbi - 23-Feb-17 @ 3:57 AM
ram kishan - Your Question:
Hi,i am ram kishan reddy residing in bangalore,india.i am studying designing here I met muslim girl after having a friendship with her,she removed her veil(burqa) completely.her relatives came to me threatening me,they are saying we will kill you.my life in danger still she is friend in my facebbok,i am scared for my life &scared to go to institute I do not have job,money I want asylum in uk please help me.i am staying inside home not going outside in daytime,i am scared for my life pls I need your help.if anything happens to me uk needs to take responsibility,thanks.

Our Response:
Asylum can only be claimed if you are already in the UK. Asylum seekers must show that they have a well-founded fear of persecution due to their race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and are unable or unwilling to seek protection from the authorities in their own country. Therefore, I suggest if you are being threatened in your own country, you approach your country's policing authorities for help.
AboutImmigration - 16-Feb-17 @ 10:19 AM
hi,i am ram kishan reddy residing in bangalore,india.i am studying designing here i met muslim girl afterhaving a friendship with her,she removed her veil(burqa) completely.her relatives came to me threatening me,they are saying we will kill you.my life in danger still she is friend in my facebbok,i am scared for my life &scared to go to institute i do not have job,moneyi want asylum in uk please help me.i am stayinginside home not going outside in daytime,i am scared for my life pls i need your help.if anything happens to me uk needs to take responsibility,thanks.
ram kishan - 15-Feb-17 @ 6:22 AM
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