- I have just arrived in India, what should I do?
If you have just arrived in India, please go to help.unhcr.org/india for information on UNHCR and partner services. you can contact UNHCR or our partners for information on registration and assistance
- How will I know when my registration or refugee status determination interview will take place?
UNHCR will contact you and explain to you the process in detail. You do not have to come to the UNHCR office for these interviews.
- How can I submit documentation in a remote interview?
Please let your interviewer know and they will help you to update your records.
- How will I know the result of my RSD interview?
UNHCR will either call you or invite you to its office to let you know the results of your interview.
- Is a remote RSD interview different from being interviewed in the office?
The only difference is that you will be interviewed at a distance for your safety.
- Do I have to attend my RSD interview remotely if I am invited to do so by UNHCR?
No, we only interview remotely those who agree to do so.
- What happens if I choose not to be interviewed remotely?
Your decision to wait and be interviewed in person has no effect on your RSD procedures or on any assistance you receive from UNHCR.
- What if I missed the call for my remote RSD interview?
We will always try to call you several times within the time slot of your interview. If you miss our calls, our team will call you later to try to reschedule your appointment to a time suitable for you. Please also reach out to UNHCR to explain why you missed your appointment and request a new one.
- I need refugee status for an urgent protection/health/other issue. How can I let you know about this?
Please share your protection/health concern with UNHCR over the available phone lines or [email protected] and the closest partner organization to seek support.
- I am registered with UNHCR India. What is the next step?
Following registration, you will be contacted for an appointment for a Refugee Status Determination interview that will take place remotely. Appointments will occur according to the interview schedule.
- Do I need to travel to Delhi for my interview?
Given the current COVID context, UNHCR is conducting all interviews remotely over the phone. You don’t need to travel to Delhi for the interview. If you cannot attend your interview due to health issues or any other reason please let us know over the phone or email as soon as possible, so that we can reschedule it for another time. Please note that our registration process is only open to asylum seekers present in India.
- When will UNHCR India answer my RSD enquiry?
Rest assured that whichever communication method you choose, UNHCR reviews your enquiry and follows up on your case. We will contact you only if we need more information.
- What happens during the Refugee Status Determination interview?
This is your time to tell your story, and we 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. It is important that you cooperate with the UNHCR staff member during the Refugee Status Determination interview and provide truthful and complete information.
Please have all documents available to you at the time of the Refugee Status Determination interview such as travel documents, identity papers, employment and education records, and other documentation which will help support your claim for refugee status.
Should you have a legal representative assisting you in presenting your case to UNHCR, you may submit a request for approval to UNHCR.
IT IS NOT PERMITTED FOR YOU TO RECORD ANY CALL OR INTERVIEW MADE BY UNHCR. THIS IS A BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY. IF UNHCR DISCOVERS THAT YOU HAVE RECORDED A CALL OR AN INTERVIEW, THIS WILL BE NOTED IN YOUR FILE.
- What happens after the Refugee Status Determination interview?
Your case will be assessed, reviewed and decision reached whether you meet the refugee definition or not. You will be notified of the decision that UNHCR has made on your application. If your application for refugee status is rejected and you disagree with this, you have the right to appeal the decision. Information on the appeal procedures is included in the decision that you will receive.
- I have been rejected for refugee status, but my family member is accepted. How does this affect me?
You have the right to appeal your decision. Please make sure to inform UNHCR of your family relationship when you appeal.
- My case has been pending for some time. Why am I not receiving my result?
We strive to provide results as soon as possible
- Does the information I share with UNHCR during my interview remain confidential?
Any information you provide during any interview with UNHCR remains confidential and no details of your application will be shared with any third party without your permission and explicit consent. You can contact UNHCR at any point if you wish to correct or add any information to your case, or if you would like to request any copies of documents you have submitted to UNHCR previously.
- There are some sensitive issues that I do not want to share with a family member or relative. Should I be concerned?
We respect 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.
- I am worried about sharing all the details of my case. What if the authorities of my country or people I know in my country find out?
Everything you say will be kept strictly confidential and cannot be shared with anyone outside of UNHCR unless you agree to it. Details of your case will not be shared with the authorities of your country. If UNHCR needs to share your information with a third party, we must obtain your consent/permission first.
- I need a document to prove my status as a refugee for a residency (or other) application I am submitting to another country or institution. Can you help me?
Please consult the information on our Resettlement page for information on this.
- What if I need to submit more documents after my interview, do I have to come to the office to do that?
You do not need to come to the Office. You can send an email to [email protected] and attach a copy of the documents to the email. You can simply take a picture of the documents and attach them as copies to the email. Please write your case number, name and phone number in the email.
You can also ask the interviewer at the end of your interview how you can share additional documents.
- My community members told me that if I say certain things, I have a better chance of being recognized. I am worried that my case is weak.
It is important that you tell the truth about your own experiences and cooperate in giving information during your interview. If you do not inform UNHCR that you gave an untruthful account of your experiences and it is discovered later that you misled UNHCR, this may negatively affect your RSD case.
- Do other family members in my file also have to be interviewed during the RSD process?
Other family members registered and included in your file need to be interviewed individually and separately. They may have their own individual reasons for seeking asylum/international protection. It is their right to be heard separately.
All individuals included in your file, both adult and children, need to be present on the day of your RSD interview. The RSD interviewer needs to see them on the day of the interview.
- How long will the RSD interview take?
It depends on the circumstances and details of your case. The interview could last for one hour or it could last for several hours. You will be able to ask for a break if you need one.
- What are my rights and obligations during the registration or RSD interview?
It is your right to be interviewed in a language that you are comfortable speaking. If you feel that there are communication problems with the interpreter, or if you want an interpreter of another gender, you may request for a change of interpreter during any part of the interview. Do not worry, this will not affect your case in any way. It is important that you have an interpreter suited to your needs to ensure accuracy of information. The interpreter’s role during the RSD interview is only to interpret the questions asked by the RSD interviewer and the answers you give. The interpreter plays a completely neutral role and plays no part at all in the decision made in your case.
You also have the right to confidentiality, the right to ask for a break during the interview, and the right to ask the interviewer to explain the purpose of the interview if they have not already done that at the beginning of the interview. If you do not feel well enough to continue with the interview, please tell the interviewer. If you have a medical condition that you think UNHCR should be aware of, please tell the interviewer.
The interviewer will also inform you that a written transcript of the questions and answers will be taken during the interview.
You have the obligation to provide a truthful account of your identity and your reasons for seeking asylum. You also have the obligation to cooperate with the RSD interviewer during the RSD interview.
It is in your best interest to provide as much detail as possible about the reasons why you left your country and why you are seeking asylum.
- What if I feel a need to change my interviewer? I think a male interviewer is not suitable for my case. What should I do?
It is your right to request for an interviewer of another gender that is suited to your case, if you do not feel comfortable with the gender of the interviewer assigned to process your case. Doing so will not affect your case in any way.
If there are specific reasons why you feel strongly against being interviewed by a particular interviewer, please inform the interviewer you do not wish to proceed with the interview and that you would like them to bring this to the attention of their manager. The manager will consider the matter.
- What happens if I get a negative RSD result? What if I am rejected at the first instance stage?
There are two stages of the RSD process – the First Instance RSD stage and the Appeal Stage.
You will be contacted by an UNHCR staff and receive your RSD result.
You have the right to appeal within 30 days after being notified of your negative result.
You can send your appeal application by post or deposit it at UNHCR’s office. You can fill it in a language of your choice. Please address the envelope to:
UNHCR: RSD Unit
B-2/16, Vasant Vihar, 110057 New Delhi, India
You can also send your appeal application by email to [email protected]. You must write “Appeal Request” in the subject of the email and include your name, your UNHCR file number and updated contact number in the text of the email.
If you do not submit an appeal application within the specified time period and you do not have exceptional reasons for failing to submit an appeal before the deadline, your file will be closed.
At the appeal stage, your case will be processed and reviewed by a different set of RSD staff, not the same one who interviewed you the first time.
You have a right to legal representation at any the appeal stage of the RSD procedure, either at your own cost or on a pro bono basis (free of charge). The legal representative should have the necessary training and/or experience to perform this role.
- How can I reopen my file with UNHCR after it was closed and how can I get a new UNHCR document?
You can submit a written reopening request by email to the RSD Unit email at [email protected] in a language of your choice.
You must write “Reopening Request” in the subject of the email and include your name, your UNHCR file number and updated contact number in the text of the email and explain why you request the reopening.
UNHCR will review your reopening request make a decision on whether to reopen your file.
You can still choose to submit a reopening request if your RSD case was rejected at the appeal stage, but there is no guarantee that your file will be reopened after a final rejection. The RSD Unit already assessed your case two times.
- I have other questions which are not answered, how can you help me?
For any other questions about registration and Refugee Status Determination, please use one of the communication methods available to get in touch with our team (call the or write us a letter or email) to get in touch with our team.UNHCR Helpline or write us a letter or email. For more information visit help.unhcr.org/india/).
If you face a serious problem with police or authorities in India, you can contact us on [email protected].
- My UNHCR document expires, can you renew it?
For steps to take for the renewal of your document, please see Remote Registration – UNHCR India
- Who can I contact to know the services available to me?
Please visit the UNHCR Help Website here to see the full list of UNHCR partners in India and the services they provide
- Who is eligible for UNHCR cash assistance?
Only the most vulnerable receive cash assistance the eligibility criteria for prioritisation takes in consideration different elements such as family size, medical and other vulnerability ,and disabilities in the family and y, socio economic conditions .
- Why am I not eligible for cash assistance?
Due to the limited funding, UNHCR must focus on those at heightened vulnerabilities. Although we understand you are in need, others who are more vulnerable than you have been selected for cash assistance However, you may be eligible for other types of assistance from UNHCR Partners.
- Can I send my children to school?
UNHCR advocates for access to quality education of all children through their inclusion in national education systems.
Children 6 years and above can be enrolled in government schools situated close to their residence. All children 6-14 years have a right to education in India.
If you have problems in getting admission for your child in a government school, you can approach UNHCR partners for assistance, see their contacts here.
During COVID-19, resumption of physical face-to-face classes at schools are under review by the states in gradual phased out manner. Keeping in mind the third wave. Remote education modalities are being encouraged. If you need support for remote education modalities, please contact UNHCR partners.
UNHCR advocates for improved access to higher education opportunities for young people. If they get conditional admission in a college/university in India and face problems in finalizing the same mainly because of lack of documentation, they can approach UNHCR partners.
If you are unable to enroll/ pursue formal secondary or senior secondary education, you can approach UNHCR partners to be facilitated to enroll in National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). NIOS imparts education through Open and Distance Learning with the help of specially designed Self Learning Materials (SLM).
NIOS grants certificates up to pre degree level at par with other National Boards in India- Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) for Secondary Course-Equivalent to class X (ii) and Senior Secondary Course-Equivalent to class XII. You can also visit the NIOS website www.nios.ac.in or call Toll Free No. 1800-1809393 from 09.30am to 5.30pm.
During COVID, remote supportive classes including bridge and tuition classes are available through UNHCR partners in some locations.
Children and youth are encouraged to join children groups/ youth groups supported by UNHCR partners for recreational/sports/community development activities.
- I have heard about special programs set up by other countries to help Afghans who worked with or for them. Can UNHCR India help me access these programs?
Some countries have recently announced opportunities for Afghan nationals who have worked or been affiliated with those countries to apply for permission to travel to those countries. These programs are established by those countries and UNHCR does not refer people to the programs or process applications.
There may be more programs that are now or soon to be available to support Afghan people in or outside of Afghanistan. UNHCR will try to keep up to date with announcements as we become aware of these State-sponsored programs. For more information on relocation programmes, please see Relocation Programmes – UNHCR Afghanistan and websites set up by the particular state.
- How do I know if I have a resettlement case?
If your case is being considered by UNHCR for resettlement, you will be contacted by the resettlement unit and invited for an interview. After the interview, you will be contacted again by telephone and you will be informed whether your case has been transferred to a resettlement country, or not. If it is not transferred to a resettlement country and you are advised that you are not currently eligible for resettlement, this means that you no longer have an active resettlement case.
- UNHCR has contacted me and informed me that my file is not considered for resettlement?
UNHCR regularly counsels refugees on their resettlement case status. If you have received a call from UNHCR stating that your file is not considered for resettlement, this means you do not currently have an active resettlement case.
This does not affect your situation in India regarding UNHCR’s protection or any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR.
- Who makes the final decision on my case for resettlement?
While UNHCR identifies refugees for resettlement consideration and interviews them to assess their eligibility for resettlement, the final decision to accept a refugee for resettlement rests with resettlement States and not UNHCR.
- How long does it take between the resettlement interview and departure?
Resettlement is a process with many different steps. It may take months or more than a year, depending on the resettlement state and its procedures. Some resettlement countries undertake further interviews with refugees in the resettlement pipeline, and others do not. You will be required to undergo medical checks and receive further information from the resettlement country and IOM prior to departure. UNHCR will be in contact with you during the different stages of the resettlement process.
UNHCR will contact you by telephone about each stage of the resettlement process. Therefore, it is very important you keep UNHCR updated in case you change your contact number.
- What happens if your case is rejected for resettlement?
If your case is rejected by the resettlement country, you will be contacted by the resettlement country and/or UNHCR to inform you accordingly.
If your resettlement case is rejected by the resettlement country, this does not affect your situation in India as a refugee under UNHCR’s protection. It also does not affect any assistance that you may be receiving from UNHCR.
Only a small number of cases are re-submitted to another country. UNHCR will re-assess your case and decide if there is a possibility for your case to be re-submitted. You will be informed by UNHCR if your case is eligible to be resubmitted.
- Can I withdraw my application after it was submitted for resettlement?
You have the right to withdraw your resettlement case; however, it will not automatically be considered for re-submission to another country and may result in your resettlement case being inactivated. Resubmission also may not be an option if there are no resettlement countries available.
- If I am resettled can my family members join me afterwards?
It is very important that you declare your family members during the resettlement process so that they are mentioned in UNHCR’s records. There is no guarantee that your family members will be able to join you in the resettlement country, as this will depend upon the legislation and criteria of the country. Many countries limit their family reunification criteria to nuclear family members, and have financial requirements before you can bring your family members.
- Will I be able to work in the resettlement country?
Yes. You will have the right to work in the resettlement country. Services and the levels of support provided vary between resettlement countries. However, generally, in the long term, resettled refugees will be expected to work in the resettlement country to support themselves and to allow for successful integration.
- Can I apply directly for resettlement through an Embassy?
Private visa procedures through Embassies are different than resettlement through UNHCR. If you applied directly with an Embassy for immigration or other migration opportunities, UNHCR will not likely have information on the status of your application.
As indicated above, UNHCR identifies only the most vulnerable refugees for resettlement consideration through its own identification methods. You can, however, consult the immigration websites for the country you would like to make an application to see whether you qualify for immigration to that country and verify how to go about applying for immigration.
- Can I join my family members in a third country through family reunification procedures?
Resettlement countries decide who is admitted through family reunification immigration procedures, and the process for family reunification normally takes place through the relevant embassy. Priority for family reunification is normally given to the nuclear family members, such as spouses and minor children. However, depending on the circumstances of the case as well as the national legislation of the country in question the criteria and eligibility for family reunification might be different.
If you have applied for family reunification at an embassy and are facing problems in the process you can approach UNHCR for assistance and information.
- Is the resettlement process and/or UNHCR’s services free of charge?
Yes. All of UNHCR’s services are free of charge, if anyone requests any form of payment in return for services, this should be reported to UNHCR immediately.
Anyone can contact the Inspector General Office (IGO) if they have concerns or information about possible misconduct or sexual exploitation or abuse by any UNHCR staff member or other persons working directly with UNHCR. Anyone can contact the IGO if they have a reason to believe that a staff member or other persons associated with UNHCR has not behaved correctly. Write an e-mail to: [email protected].
- How can I contact UNHCR and share information about my case?