Refugee status determination is a unit within the protection team in which staff members are extensively trained in interviewing refugees to obtain information on the reasons why individuals have left their homes and are seeking asylum, to enable them to accurately determine whether an individual is a refugee or not.
What is the purpose of the refugee status determination interview?
The purpose of the Refugee Status Determination interview is to obtain the reasons of why you left your home country and the reasons why you cannot return. It is an opportunity for you to put forward your case and fully explain your experiences and circumstances that led you to fleeing your home country and why you cannot return to your home country. Based on the interview, UNHCR will determine whether you do or do not meet the refugee definition according to international refugee law.
The Refugee Status Determination Interview
When you are scheduled for an individual refugee status determination (RSD) interview, you will receive a scheduling call to inform you about the RSD interview and counsel you on steps you have to take prior the interview. Furthermore, the RSD website at rsd.unhcregypt.org/refugeeresult.aspx will be updated with your appointment date as well. As there may be changes in the RSD appointment, you are also requested check the website regularly, especially 48 hours before your RSD appointment. If you agreed to a remote interview, after the scheduling call, you will receive an SMS with the link of the Signal application.
During the RSD procedure, you are required to:
- This is your time to tell your story, and UNHCR staff will help you in that process. During the interview, you will be asked several questions about yourself, your family and any problems you may have had and your fear of return to your home country;
- Inform UNHCR about your family members accompanying you. All individuals over 12 years old will be interviewed individually;
- Bring all documents available to you and any family members accompanying you, such as travel documents, identity papers, employment records, and other documentation which will help support your claim for refugee status.
- It is important to only provide genuine identity documentation as providing fake or fraudulent documentation may negatively affect the processing of your case and may lead to a negative decision.
- It is important that you cooperate with the UNHCR staff member during the Refugee Status Determination interview and provide truthful and complete information at all times. Failure to provide a truthful and accurate account will negatively affect the processing of your case and may lead to a negative decision.
- If you agreed to a remote interview, have a smart phone with a functioning front camera and stable internet connection and be alone in the room. Failure to ensure that you are in a safe and confidential place, will lead to rescheduling of the interview.
During the RSD procedure, you have the right to:
- Be interviewed in a language you can communicate in;
- To be represented by a lawyer or a legal representative, who qualifies as such under UNHCR’s established procedures, during your RSD procedure.
Please also take note that:
- Each applicant has a different profile, background, and reason for fleeing his/her country; hence, each case will be assessed individually, according to UNHCR rules and procedures.
- Do not pay attention to rumors spread among refugees about specific stories to be presented to be granted refugee status as this will be providing a false account to UNHCR and will negatively affect the processing of your case and may lead to a negative decision.
- Intentionally misleading UNHCR about the facts of your case or your identity is fraud. Please note that this will negatively affect the processing of your case and may lead to a negative decision. UNHCR reserves the right to take appropriate measures in such cases.
- Your statements and documents will be kept confidential and will not be shared by UNHCR with other third parties without your consent. Please note that under no circumstances will UNHCR share your information with the government of your country of origin.
- Do not sign any documents unless read, understood, and approved by you.
- While in Egypt you, like any other foreigner, are expected to respect the laws, customs and traditions of the society hosting you.
- Verbal and physical threats made to UNHCR staff violate national law. UNHCR will report any person making such threats to the police and this person may be prosecuted as per national law.
What should I prepare/ bring with me to the RSD interview?
- Your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card;
- Any documents that are relevant to support your refugee claim;
- Your and your family members’ original and genuine identification documents (such as passports, ID cards, military booklet, marriage certificate, birth certificates as well as any education certificates or medical reports if any, etc.);
- Proof of previous registration with other UNHCR Offices.
Can I have a legal representative/advisor to assist me during my refugee status determination procedure?
You are entitled to have a legal representative/advisor to assist you during your refugee status determination interview. In Egypt, Saint Andrews’ Refugee Services (StARS) provide information, counselling, referral, representation, and advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees in Egypt free of charge.
Why are there different procedures at first instance?
UNHCR Egypt has different procedures depending on the complexity of the cases. Some cases undergo registration and refugee status determination (RSD) interviews together in the same interview, which is called the Merged Registration/RSD procedure; some cases have separate registration and RSD interviews; and some cases have more than one RSD interview in order to ensure the Office has sufficient amount of information to complete the RSD procedure.
What if I missed an RSD appointment?
Please be informed that if you failed to attend an RSD appointment without a reasonable explanation, your case might be closed. If you miss an appointment, it is your responsibility to request a new one as soon as possible explaining the reason why you could not approach the office. Please note that the new appointment will only be granted if you provided a reasonable explanation as to why you failed to attend.
Are my family members, who registered with me, required to be present at the refugee status determination interview?
All those who are registered in the file need to be present for the refugee status determination interview unless you are informed otherwise. All individuals over 12 years old of the case will go through a separate interview at UNHCR.
Please also note that UNHCR respects the privacy and sensitivity of the information that is shared with us. All information is treated with the utmost confidentiality. Should we need to share some information with a family member, your consent will always be sought first. UNHCR will never act without receiving your consent.
What happens if I am recognized as a refugee?
Notifications that RSD results have been finalized are sent by SMS or through a call providing an appointment that clearly indicate the location, date and time. In order to collect the decision, you will be required to present to UNHCR reception staff your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification) when you approach UNHCR.
If you are recognized as a refugee, you and your dependents will be provided with a UNHCR refugee card.
What happens if I am denied a refugee status?
If you are denied refugee status after the first instance interview, you will be given a result notification appointment by SMS or through a call which will clearly indicate the location, date and time. In order to collect the decision, you will be required to present to UNHCR reception staff your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification) when you approach UNHCR.
On the date of your appointment, you will receive a negative decision letter, which contains an explanation on the reasons that led to the denial of the asylum application. If you are notified with a negative decision you have the right to submit an appeal request within 30 days. The notification letter will clearly explain where and how you can submit the appeal request. If you do not wish to file an appeal against the first instance decision denying your asylum application, you will no longer be considered as person of concern to UNHCR.
I have been rejected for refugee status, but my parent, child or sibling is accepted. How does this affect me?
If you are rejected for refugee status, but your parent, child or sibling is accepted as a refugee, in certain circumstances you may be eligible for refugee status by UNHCR. If for some reason this has not happened for you, then UNHCR would explain to you the reasons behind this decision. If you still have concerns about this or believe an error has occurred in your application, please inform UNHCR.
How will I be notified of my Refugee Status Determination decision?
Once your RSD decision is ready, you will receive an SMS or a call to indicate your result notification date/appointment. You will be notified of your decision either remotely through Signal Application or you will be scheduled for an in-Office notification. Each individual will be informed on the method, location and date of their notification by call/SMS.
In the meantime, you can also check this website via the RSD status part https://rsd.unhcregypt.org/RefugeeResult.aspx, which will also reflect your result notification date/appointment, once available. The decision on your asylum application could either be recognition or rejection.
I have already had my RSD interview. How long do I need to wait for the RSD results?
That depends on the details of your case. Each case is considered individually. Because of the high number of applications we receive, you may need to wait some time to receive your results or even be called for another interview to ask you more questions before completing your case. The RSD Unit tries its best to finalize RSD decisions as soon as possible after the RSD decision, but due to high volumes of cases, it is not always possible to stick to this timeline. We appreciate your understanding and patience.
It is important you keep UNHCR updated on your phone number, email or other contact information. We will use these details if we need to contact you to come in for another interview or for any other follow up.
How can I submit an appeal request?
You can download the appeal request form from the Forms and Leaflets section of this website https://rsd.unhcregypt.org/FormsAndLeaflets.aspx. In your appeal request form, you must include the following:
- Your name and case number
- The reasons why you think the first instance negative decision is wrong
- Your updated contact information
You can then submit your duly filled appeal application form either in an email to Appeal/Reopening [email protected] or by approaching the RSD Building at 44A street, 2nd proximity, 8th District, 6th October City.
What will happen during the appeal process?
The appeal process allows for UNHCR to review the first instance rejection and ensure that the decision made was a correct one. During the appeal process, different UNHCR protection staff members than the ones who were involved in the initial first instance decision review all appeal requests. Not all appeal requests will lead to an appeal interview and decisions in some cases can be made without an appeal interview. This is why it is important that you provide in your appeal application all the reasons why you believe the first instance decision is wrong.
If an appeal interview is needed, you will be notified of the date of your appeal interview via SMS, and the appointment will also be available in the RSD status section of this website https://rsd.unhcregypt.org/RefugeeResult.aspx.
If the first instance decision is overturned, you will be granted refugee status; if the first instance decision is confirmed, your file will be closed as you will be found not to qualify as a refugee under international law.