Asylum in the UK is granted for five years, but this is still subject to review by the government.
Asylum in the UK is granted for five years, but this is still subject to review by the government.

Although the United Kingdom is leaving the EU, the country still remains a vital host country for refugees in Europe. How does the UK handle asylum requests?

The UK offers asylum based on the criteria stated in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

To be eligible to claim asylum in the UK, you must present your case that you are unable to live safely in any part of your own country because you fear persecution there. This persecution must be because of: 

  • your race
  • your religion
  • your nationality
  • your political opinion
  • anything else that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country, for example, your gender, gender identity or sexual orientation

Important note: if the individual already claimed asylum in an EU country before their arrival in the UK, your claim for asylum may be ineligible.  

How do you apply?

As soon as you have arrived in the UK, you should announce you are seeking asylum to an immigration officer at immigration and border control. As a next step, you will have to go to the UK Border Agency in Croydon, South London. Your asylum claim needs to be filed as soon as possible upon entering the country.

The process begins with a "screening interview" in which the UK Border Agency records basic information about the applicant, asks them if they have applied for asylum in Europe before and then gives them a registration number. A few days later the asylum seeker will meet the worker assigned to their asylum case. Soon afterward, you will have a "substantial interview," where you will be questioned thoroughly on your reasons for seeking asylum in the UK. The decision on the asylum case will usually be given within six months.

Asylum seekers will be asked to regularly keep in touch with the authorities regarding the details of their case. During this time they might be eligible to receive accommodation or financial support if they fit certain criteria. Their application may be "fast-tracked," where the asylum seeker is sent to a detention center and their application will be decided on in seven days.

 Asylum in the UK is granted for five years, but this is still subject to review by the government. At the end of the five years, you may be eligible to settle in the UK and get full residence there. Those granted asylum may work, receive benefits and apply for family reunification in the UK. You may also be granted permission to stay for humanitarian reasons, say if you face violence in your home country or are sick.  

Asylum appeals

Those whose asylum claim has been refused for the first time, can try to make an appeal and will be allowed to wait in the UK while their appeal is pending. For an asylum seeker inside the UK, they have 14 days after the date of the decision by the First-Tier Tribunal to make an appeal.

Information on appeal:

If there is new evidence or a change in law after the asylum seeker has been rejected, they may even be allowed to apply for asylum again after their first claim had been rejected. If the claim was refused and an appeal was rejected, the failed asylum seeker may be deported.

You can find more information on the asylum process on the website of the UK government

According to the UK Refugee Council, there were 19,170 asylum applications in the first three quarters of 2017. In quarter three of 2017, the top nationalities of those who applied for asylum were Iran, Pakistan and Iraq.

Read more from the Refugee Council's statistics here:


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