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Asylum law is complicated and it is important that you get good legal advice and someone to put your case for you. You should seek advice from us as soon as possible, as there are very short deadlines for providing the evidence needed to support your claim for asylum.

Applying for asylum

To be recognised as a refugee, you will need to show that you have a real risk of being persecuted (treated badly) because of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group and that your home government is unable or unwilling to protect you.

When you apply for asylum you will also apply for permission to stay in this country for human rights reasons. If you can show that you would face inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment if you were returned to your home country, then you will have a claim for ‘humanitarian protection’.

You may have other reasons, based on human rights law, that mean you should be allowed to stay in the UK. We will be able to tell you whether your claim for asylum, humanitarian protection or other permission to stay is likely to succeed.

Screening interview

You should apply for asylum as soon as reasonably possible. This can be at the airport or seaport where you arrive. If you apply after you have arrived in the UK, you have to apply to the Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon.

Either on the same day you apply for asylum or soon after, you will have a ‘screening interview’ where UK Visas and Immigration will ask about your personal details and how you arrived in the UK. Your fingerprints and photograph will be taken and you will be given an Application Registration Card (ARC) which proves that you have applied for asylum. UK Visas and Immigration will then decide how to deal with your claim.

At the interview you will need to show UK Visas and Immigration a valid passport or another form of identification (ID). If you do not have acceptable identification, then we can advise you further.

Asylum interview

After the screening interview, you will need to go to a longer interview to explain why you are applying for asylum.

You should give as much information about your claim as you can, including any medical or experts’ reports if available. The interview is important, as UK Visas and Immigration will use the information you give to make their decision about your claim. The information in your screening interview may be compared against what you say in the asylum interview.

The interview is important, and you can ask us as your solicitor to go with you. If we do not go with you then you should ask for the interview to be recorded.


If your claim is refused, we will immediately advise you about appealing against the decision, as there are very strict time limits for appeals. In some cases you can only appeal from outside the UK. We will be able to prepare your case and represent you.