Registering with UNHCR
ASAM, a UNHCR implementing partner organization, registers asylum-seekers on behalf of UNHCR. Asylum-seekers of all nationalities are registered through this process except for Syrians and Europeans.
When you approach the ASAM registration centre to be registered with UNHCR, you and your family members will undergo a short registration interview at which point photographs will be taken. Please have your supporting documents (IDs, passports, medical reports, driving license, etc.) ready for your registration interview. During the interview, you should explain in your own language the reasons why you left your home country and what will happen to you if you return. You will be also asked to write the same in the form that will be provided to you.
When your registration is completed, you will be requested to sign a consent form informing you that basic bio-data collected from you will be shared with the authorities for the purpose of assistance. You will be also provided with a referral letter to a province of Turkey. You are expected to approach the PDMM in the city to which you have been referred to complete the registration with the authorities. UNHCR will not provide any additional certificate for referral.
Following your registration interview with UNHCR, your case may be reviewed for a vulnerability assessment. Only the cases with the most acute vulnerabilities and protection risks may be called for a Refugee Status Determination (RSD) interview. Registration with UNHCR does not automatically entitle you to an RSD interview.
Refugee Status Determination procedures with UNHCR
The Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process conducted by UNHCR involves collecting information and examining applications for refugee status with a view to determining whether the concerned individuals qualify as ‘refugees’ – that is, whether their situation meets the criteria specified in the applicable refugee definition under the 1950 UNHCR Statute and Article 1 (A) of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.
In Turkey, RSD is conducted by UNHCR under its mandate, in parallel and in coordination with the procedure carried out by the Turkish authorities.
Why am I being interviewed by UNHCR for refugee status?
Recognizing the refugee status of those individuals who meet the refugee definition is a core part of UNHCR’s protection function. UNHCR conducts RSD to be able to protect and assist individuals who meet the refugee definition with the most appropriate and effective instruments and resources. This includes providing them with a durable solution – that is integration in the host country, resettlement, or voluntary repatriation.
What does an RSD interview with UNHCR mean?
Refugee status is determined through an individual RSD interview. This interview with UNHCR is the way through which an asylum-seeker substantiates his/her application in detail by personally explaining what caused his/her flight from the home country and what he/she fears upon return, and thus allows UNHCR to make a decision on his/her claim. The eligibility officer conducting the interview poses questions to the asylum-seeker in order to obtain his/her account of the reasons that made him/her leave the country of origin.
How is an RSD interview conducted?
An RSD interview is conducted individually with each asylum-seeker, meaning the principal refugee status applicant and each adult family member or dependent included in the same case/file. The interview is conducted with the assistance of an interpreter in the language preferred by the asylum-seeker, who is asked to confirm his/her actual comprehension during the interview. The asylum-seeker can also express his/her preference as to the sex of the interviewer. The detailed content of the interview, with all the questions asked by the eligibility officer and the answers provided by the asylum-seeker, are recorded in electronic format by the eligibility officer who takes notes during the interview. The asylum-seeker is informed of possible audio-recording and his/her consent is taken.
The whole content of the RSD interview remains strictly confidential, and the asylum-seeker is counselled about it at the beginning of the interview. The eligibility officer asks the asylum-seeker to cooperate and tell the truth, in order to facilitate a smooth process and a fair decision. The asylum-seeker is reminded that the RSD interview and decision-making processes of UNHCR are free of charge and informed of the contact details to report fraud and corruption.
UNHCR examines eventual requests from the asylum-seeker, provided that they are received in a timely manner, to be accompanied to the RSD interview by a legal representative or a third party, whose participation may be authorized by UNHCR in accordance with the Procedural Standards for RSD under UNHCR’s mandate and in adherence to the procedural requirements established by the Office. For the authorization to act as a legal representative, the signature of the asylum-seeker is required. UNHCR can provide a form for such purpose. The qualified legal representative appointed by the asylum-seeker and accredited by UNHCR can, on behalf of the asylum-seeker, make submissions, share documents, petitions and updates, on which UNHCR follows-up as deemed necessary.
Which steps does an RSD interview include?
The first step of a RSD interview normally includes the verification of the asylum-seeker’s fitness for the interview, a counselling on the above-mentioned rights, duties and procedures, and a request to the asylum-seeker to briefly confirm bio-data and other relevant personal information, as already shared at Registration. The asylum-seeker is reminded to provide any relevant identity, travel, or other documents which he/she may have and wish to show. Furthermore, the eligibility officer asks the asylum-seeker about his/her fulfillment of the obligations established by the national law for persons applying for international protection in Turkey.
Then the asylum-seeker is guided by the eligibility officer to illustrate the reasons why he/she left the home country; his/her social, family, educational and occupational context and background; and the details of his/her flight as deemed relevant. The officer may request any other information in respect of what may happen to the asylum-seeker upon return to the home country and why.
The interview normally ends with requests to confirm or clarify the statements made during the interview and with a final invitation by the eligibility officer to share any other information or question as wished by the asylum-seeker.
Keeping in touch with UNHCR
Please ensure that UNHCR and its partners have your up-to-date contact phone number and address. You can update your contact details online at http://results.unhcr.org.tr. On this website, you can access the update menu by clicking the update button. This will allow you to update your phone number, address and foreigner’s ID number. This means that you can be easily reached provided with information pertaining to your case and status in the country.
All services provided by UNHCR and its partners are free of charge. Do not pay anyone for UNHCR registration, RSD and other services. If you are asked to pay for any services or suspect that you are subject to fraud, please inform UNHCR immediately. Find out more about how to complain about fraud.