Registration & Refugee Status Determination Procedures

Who is an asylum seeker?

When people flee their own country and seek sanctuary in another country, they can apply for asylum – the right to be recognized as a refugee and receive legal protection. An asylum seeker must demonstrate that his or her fear of persecution in the home country is well-founded.

Asylum-seekers are protected from forced return to their country of origin from the time they express a fear of return until a final decision on refugee status is determined by UNHCR.

UNHCR in India works with individual asylum-seekers and refugees from India’s non-neighbouring countries and Myanmar.

Who is a refugee?

A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of war, violence, or persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution and, because of such fear, cannot return home or is afraid to do so because he or she would not be able to find protection there.

Following registration as an asylum-seeker, a refugee status determination procedure will be conducted to determine who is a refugee. In the absence of national legislation, UNHCR determines who is a refugee based on the refugee definition in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its own mandate. Registration seeks to help protect asylum-seekers against forced return, deportation, arbitrary arrest and detention.

How do I register with UNHCR?

If you would like to apply for asylum, you and your family members should approach UNHCR. The first step in the asylum process is registration. Registration is the recording, verifying and updating of information on persons of concern to UNHCR. The registration process may take place at the UNHCR Registration Center in Delhi, the UNHCR office in Chennai, or through a partner organization.

In Delhi, registration takes place at the UNHCR Registration Centre located at:
C-543A, Vikas Puri, New Delhi 110018.

In Chennai, registration takes place at:
UNHCR, No.11, 17th Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600090

In Hyderabad and Pune, UNHCR’s partners facilitate the registration process.
Locations and contact details of all our partners are listed here.

Registration will take place the day you approach the UNHCR Registration Centre, or as soon as possible in the following days. You must come for registration with all of your family members who are present in India who are also not yet registered with UNHCR. Please bring details of your complete address and phone numbers with you when you come for your registration interview.

If you are in possession of any of the documents listed below (original, expired or copies), kindly bring them with you when you approach UNHCR for registration and present them during your registration interview:

– Case numbers of immediate family members who have been registered with UNHCR (in India or elsewhere),
– Passport/nationality document/identity document
– Birth certificates/vaccination cards for children
– Marriage/divorce/death certificates
– Any other documents you may have

Please note that if you don’t have any of the above documents, you can still register with UNHCR.

You will be requested to fill in a registration form with basic information about yourself and your family members, including your name, date of birth, education, place and country of origin, contact details, etc. You will also be asked to explain on the form why you left your country and why you cannot go back. If you are unable to fill out the form, you will be assisted. You will be interviewed by a Registration Officer who will go through the form with you and who may ask additional questions. Your picture will be taken and your fingerprints and iris scan will be recorded.

What happens after I apply for asylum?

Once the registration process is complete, you will be provided with information about the next steps in the refugee status determination process.

You will receive a case number and an “Under Consideration Certificate” (UCC), acknowledging that you have applied for asylum with UNHCR India and that your application is under consideration. Information will be provided about subsequent steps including your refugee status determination interview during which you will be questioned in detail about your reasons for seeking asylum. Please note that the refugee status determination interview can be scheduled up to 20 months from the registration date. Following this interview, based on the information you provide and information available on the situation in your place of origin, UNHCR will make a determination on your refugee status.

Additional information for asylum seekers

Asylum seekers who have a disability or a serious medical condition, children without adult support, or others with exceptional protection needs may be referred to services available through UNHCR and partners.

If you change your residential address, email address or phone number, please inform UNHCR over through our toll free number 1800-1035635 or through email: [email protected]

When will I hear about the result of my application for refugee status?

UNHCR makes every effort to ensure that decisions are made and shared on time. Please note that the decisions may take 12 months from the interview date.

If 12 months have passed and you have still not received the outcome of your refugee status determination interview, you can email [email protected], call our toll free number 1800-1035635.

You will be informed of the result of your application through post, email and/ or phone.

Please always inform UNHCR through email [email protected], letter or on the above mentioned phone numbers when your contact information including email address, postal address and/or phone number change, so that UNHCR’s records are updated and UNHCR and partners can contact you without any problems.

I received a rejection on my application for refugee status for the first time. How can I appeal?

You have the right to appeal if your application for refugee status is rejected for the first time. UNHCR issues a ‘notification of rejection’ decision along with a blank appeal form. You have 30 days from the date of receiving the decision, to submit this appeal form to UNHCR.

You may submit the appeal form in person at the UNHCR Registration Centre, via the blue mail box at UNHCR’s Registration Office in Vikas Puri or at the offices of UNHCR’s partners or send it to UNHCR via post.

Your Under Consideration Certificate will be extended at the UNHCR Registration Office in Vikas Puri or via the UNHCR partners once your appeal is received.

My application was rejected on appeal and my case was closed. Can my case be reopened?

Reopening of a closed case is not a right. Cases are reopened only on exceptional grounds and UNHCR may not be in a position to respond to all requests received.

Written requests for reopening of closed files can be submitted through the blue box kept at UNHCR, Vasant Vihar or UNHCR Registration Centre in Vikas Puri. You can also send your re-opening application to [email protected].

How do I extend the validity of my Under Consideration Certificate (UCC/Blue Certificate)?

You should approach UNHCR Registration Office at C-543A, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018 with the original UCC for extension.

If you live outside Delhi, please contact UNHCR Chennai or one of UNHCR’s registration partners in Pune or Hyderabad. Their contact details are listed here.

If you live outside Delhi and there is no partner office in your location, you can send your UCC to UNHCR’s main office at B-2/16, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi 110057.

In case there is a change in your family composition and contact details, please also bring the relevant birth/marriage/death certificate or any other document and submit the same along with an application for making these changes, when you approach for extension of your UCC.

In case of loss of your valid UCC, please inform UNHCR immediately.

If you have any questions about the renewal or extension of your UCC, kindly contact UNHCR in advance of the expiry of your UCC on our toll free number 1800-1035635.

My UNHCR refugee card is expiring. How do I renew it?

Three months before the expiry of your UNHCR refugee card, please call the Socio-Legal Information Centre (SLIC) at 011-24379855 or 011-24374501 or 011-45705649/011-45705654 to make an appointment for the renewal of your UNHCR refugee card, or UNHCR in Chennai, or our partner organizations in Hyderabad and Pune. Their contact details are listed here.

In Delhi NCR the interview for the renewal of your card will take place at SLIC’s office at the UNHCR Registration Center: C-543A, Vikas Puri, New Delhi-110018.

Your entire family will have to be present for the interview for the renewal of the UNHCR refugee card, along with all relevant documents like your UNHCR refugee card, passport, copies of visa etc. In case there has been a change in your family composition, please also bring the relevant birth/marriage/death/divorce certificate.

In case of loss of any of the above-mentioned document(s), you are requested to lodge a First Information Report (FIR) with your local police station. You should also keep UNHCR and SLIC informed about the loss immediately. During the interview to renew your UNHCR refugee card, please also submit a copy of the FIR.

If you have any questions about the renewal or extension of your refugee card, kindly contact UNHCR in advance of the expiry of your refugee card on our toll free number 1800-1035635.