This section explains who may be given asylum in the UK; how we process applications for asylum; what an asylum applicant can expect while we consider their application; and what happens after our decision has been made. The UK has a proud tradition of providing a place of safety for genuine refugees. However, we are determined to refuse protection to those who do not need it, and will take steps to remove those who are found to have made false claims.
Asylum is protection given by a country to someone who is fleeing persecution in their own country. It is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution. The UK also adheres to the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents us sending someone to a country where there is a real risk that they will be exposed to torture, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
If you do not qualify for asylum but we think there are humanitarian or other reasons why we should allow you to stay in the UK, we may give you temporary permission to stay here.
Who can Claim Asylum?
Asylum is given under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. To be recognised as a refugee, you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you have a well-founded fear of persecution because of your:
- political opinion; or
- membership of a particular social group.
How to Claim Asylum?
If you want to apply for asylum and you are already in the UK, you should book an appointment to attend our asylum screening unit in Croydon (south of London). If you want any of your dependants to be part of your application, you must bring them with you.
The asylum screening unit operates an appointment system and will also accept applicants on a walk-in-service. If you choose to use the walk in service, you should be aware that depending on your personal circumstances, there will be no guarantee that you will be seen. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you book an appointment.
Previous claim for asylum:
If you have previously made a claim for asylum you should not make an appointment to attend the asylum screening unit. If you are unsure what happened to your application you should contact your case owner.
If you know that your claim for asylum was refused and you have appeal rights exhausted you should follow the process for further submissions. If you were granted leave, either granted asylum or refused asylum and granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave you should follow the process given in the leave to remain section.
What will happen at the asylum screening unit?
When you make your application at the asylum screening unit, you will start the asylum process. The first stage in the process is a brief interview at the unit. This is known as ‘screening’. For those unable to attend the asylum screening unit and for further information about register an asylum claim, please see the asylum instruction: Registering an asylum application in the United Kingdom. Having insufficient funds or inconvenience is not an acceptable reason for a person not being able to make a claim in person.