Where can I apply for asylum?

There are countries where the national authorities have assumed responsibility to receive and register asylum applications and others where, in the absence of a national procedure, applications may be lodged with the UNHCR. If you do not know which is the authority responsible for receiving and registering asylum applications in the country where you are, please check with the UNHCR office in that country.

What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant?

Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or serious human rights violations, but for a range of other reasons. This can include seeking to improve their lives by finding work, or in some cases for education, family reunion, or other reasons. Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants face no such impediment to return. If they choose to return home, they will continue to receive the protection of their government.

Refugees are persons fleeing the risk of persecution or serious harm, including human rights violations, armed conflict or persecution. In the absence of protection in their countries of origin, which the State is unwilling or unable to provide, they are forced to cross an international border and seek safety in other countries. They thus fall within the internationally recognized definition of “refugees” with access to assistance from States, UNHCR, and other organizations. They are so recognized precisely because it is too dangerous for them to return home, and they need international protection elsewhere.

Who can apply for asylum?

Anyone can apply for asylum. Normally, however, it is a person who considers themselves at risk of serious harm in their country of origin, or who is compelled to leave their country in search of safety in another country.

Who determines refugee status?

States establish their procedures of how to examine and determine the status of asylum applications. In countries where there is a national asylum procedure, UNHCR is not in principle part of the procedure but may offer advice and technical support. That said, there are situations where UNHCR may be the one examining asylum applications. This applies when a state is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or does not have a fair and efficient national asylum procedure in place.

How do states guarantee refugee protection?

When a person applies for asylum or refugee protection, the State will determine whether the person is a refugee. The State will protect the person against refoulement, permit the person to remain on the territory and provide access to humane standards of treatment and to a durable solution.

See also