What happens after I apply?

ATTENTION! Registration interviews and documentation issuance are suspended as a preventive measure to avoid the spread of Covid-19. RAS and UNHCR will inform you as soon as registration interviews and documentation issuance are resumed.
Should you lose your proof of registration or have any queries, please contact our helpline: Email: [email protected] or 1517 (Toll-free Telephone).
Should you have applied for your Refugee ID card, kindly approach the RAS office in your location to check its status and collect it if ready.

Once you have registered your application for asylum, you will be invited to come for an interview, unless you are an asylum seeker coming from South Sudan. During the interview you will discuss in more detail the reasons why you left your country and why you feel you cannot return. This interview is called the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) or Eligibility Interview. Based on the information you provide in the interview and general information on your country a recommendation is drafted for your application at the assessment stage. The file is then reviewed to confirm the quality of the recommendation drafted. Once the review process is finalized, the application will proceed to the decision stage and be presented to the Commissioner for Refugee Affairs for endorsement. The decision on an asylum application can either be recognition of refugee status or a rejection of the asylum application.

What happens during the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) interview?

The RSD interviews are conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. Some applications are processed with priority due to the vulnerabilities of the asylum seekers. Once the RSD interview is scheduled, you will be contacted by RAS and informed of the date and venue for the RSD interview.

The purpose of the RSD interview is to gather information to obtain a complete and objective understanding of your circumstances to determine whether you meet the refugee definition. The interview will therefore focus on your experiences in your country of origin. The interview shall be conducted by an RSD officer from RAS or in some rare occasions UNHCR. For more information on how to prepare for the interview, see below.

The role of the RSD officer is to give you the best possible opportunity to explain what happened to you in your country that made you leave your country as clearly as possible and the reasons for your application for international protection.

At the start of the interview, the Eligibility staff will make the necessary introductions; explain the purpose of the interview; his or her role as the interviewer; the role of the interpreter in case one is required and your responsibilities. For further information on your rights during the interview, see below.

The statements you make during the interview will be considered along with other available information and where inconsistency is noted, this shall be put to you for an explanation.

Sometimes you might be called to come back for a follow-up interview when there is insufficient information or a need to clarify some aspects of your application before a comprehensive assessment can be made on your application. This does not mean that your application for refugee status is starting afresh. If required, you will be contacted by phone and informed of a date for the follow-up interview.

In case you wish to be accompanied by a legal representative, please inform RAS so that the appropriate arrangements can be made.

Please contact the help line or reception desk at RAS for any RSD queries and assistance.

In order for RAS and UNHCR to contact you during the RSD process, it is important to inform RAS and UNHCR of any changes to your phone number. Updating of your phone number or other contact details can be done through the Helpline (1517) or through the Helpline mailbox ([email protected]).

What happens if I miss my RSD appointment?

You will be contacted by RAS and informed of a new date for the interview. Alternatively you can approach RAS during counselling days in Nairobi or Kakuma to follow up on asylum application and other RSD querries.

If you live in the urban area and your appointment slip expires before the new appointment date, you may approach RAS to obtain a new appointment slip.

What happens after the RSD interview?

If your RSD interview is in Nairobi, RAS shall issue you with an appointment slip at the end of the interview. The validity of the appointment slip is a period of six months; therefore, you will have to renew it every six months until a decision on your asylum application has been taken.

On the appointment date, you shall approach RAS to check whether a decision on your application has been issued.

If your RSD interview is in Kakuma you will be requested to check the notice board.

Decision issuance only takes place at RAS premises in Nairobi and Kakuma and you will be contacted via SMS when your decision is ready for collection.

Should a decision be reached on your application before the expiration of the appointment slip, you will be contacted to collect the decision letter from RAS.

Updating of your phone number or other contact details can be done through the Helpline (1517) or through the Helpline mailbox ([email protected]).

How long does it take to get a decision on my application for asylum?

It will at least take several months to receive a decision on your application. However due to a backlog in asylum applications it currently takes much longer to be scheduled for an interview and receive a decision. RAS is taking steps to address this issue with the support of UNHCR. Pending a decision on your application for asylum, you are allowed to stay in Kenya.

The timeframe to receive a decision on your application for asylum is further affected by the complexity and information available on the application. For some applications one or more of these stages of the RSD process might have to be repeated if there is insufficient information or need for further clarification. This means that RSD decisions are not often completed in the same order as the interview. Additionally, some applications are processed with priority due to the vulnerabilities of the asylum seekers.

Once the decision letter is endorsed and ready for collection, you will be notified by phone to collect it in person at RAS in your location.

What can be the decision on my application for asylum?

The decision on an asylum application can either be recognition of refugee status or a rejection of the asylum application.

In case your application is accepted, a recognition letter is prepared and issued to you. You can then apply for a Refugee ID card.

In case your asylum application is rejected, you will be issued with a letter detailing the reasons for the rejection. You have the right to appeal against the decision to the Refugee Appeal Board within 30 days of receiving the negative decision.

How do I prepare for my Refugee Status Determination (RSD) interview?

Get plenty of rest the day before so that you are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared for the interview. Some interviews may last longer than others depending on the complexities of the application.

Remember to carry along to the RSD interview the following documents if available;

  • Identity documents
  • Travel documents
  • Medical records
  • Marriage /Birth Certificates
  • Driving License
  • Education Certificates
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Any other relevant documents

Set a reminder for yourself of your appointment date so that you do not forget. On the day of interview, show up with your dependents (if any) who have been scheduled for the interview on the same day.

You may contact Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) on the possibility of legal assistance.

What are my rights and obligations during the interview?

You have an obligation to tell the truth and fully cooperate in the interview process which means you must not distort, fabricate or omit facts. If you intentionally distort, fabricate or omit facts, this may have implications on the way your application for asylum will be considered and processed.

An interpreter may be made available to you if required so that you and the eligibility staff are able to communicate. The interpreter is both impartial and neutral and he or she has no role in making decisions about your application.

Everyone attending the interview is under an obligation to keep all information about your application for asylum confidential. The information provided during the interview cannot be shared with anybody outside RAS/UNHCR without your consent. The interviewing officer, the interpreter and other people attending the interview are bound by the confidentiality obligation

How do I get a decision on my application?

In case a decision on you application for asylum is reached before the expiration of the appointment slip, you will be contacted to collect the decision letter from RAS.

If recognized, you will be issued with a letter of recognition with which you can approach the RAS registration center to apply for a Refugee identity card, minor passes are being issued for minors (below 18 years).

After your application for a Refugee identity card, you will be issued with a waiting slip, pending processing of your Refugee identity card, which is expected to be received within two weeks.

Please make sure all the information appearing on the document particularly the spelling of your name is accurate when it is issued to you at Registration.

In case of rejection, how do I appeal my RSD decision?

The notification of rejection will include the reasons for the rejection and the procedures for submitting an appeal application.

If you have been issued with a negative decision by the Commissioner of Refugee Affairs and you believe that the decision to reject your asylum application has been reached in error or there are new elements that you think are relevant to your claim, you may appeal this decision.

To lodge an appeal, you must complete the Appeal Application Form which was issued to you together with the negative decision and return it to the Refugee Appeal Board within 30 days from when you received the decision letter. The Refugee Appeal Board offices are at the following address:

Maendeleo House, 7th floor, Monrovia Street, Nairobi Central Business District.

Please note that the Refugee Appeal Board only considers appeals from decisions by the Commissioner of Refugee Affairs. If you would like any further information, the Refugee Appeal Board staff are available to provide more information at the RAS registration center during counselling days.

What shall I do when I lose my document? Or my document expires?

Should you lose your documents, please report to the nearest police station, where you will be issued with a police abstract and approach the RAS registration center to facilitate the issuance of a replacement for your documents, which is expected to be received within two weeks.

Should your documents expire, approach the nearest RAS registration center to apply for renewal, which is expected to be received within two weeks.

What other documents can I access as an asylum seeker or refugee?

You can have access to other documentations as asylum seeker/ refugee, as follows:

  • Birth Notification: Issued after delivery of your child in the hospital.
  • Birth Certificate: Issued after one to two months of delivery of the child, by the Ministry of Interior.
  • Work Permit: facilitated by RAS and issued by the Department of Immigration – to all recognized refugees who meet the class M requirements.
  • Driving License: Issued to all asylum seekers or refugees who meet the driving requirements, by the National Transport Safety Authority. (NTSA)
  • National ID card: Issued to all asylum seekers or refugees who meet the requirements of citizenship through the vetting process by the Department of Immigration.
  • Marriage Certificate: Issued to all asylum seekers or refugees who meet the relevant requirements and whose certificates issued by Churches or Mosques are then certified by the Office of the Attorney General.
  • Conventional Travel Document (CTD):  Issued to recognized refugees who have been authorized to travel outside the country of asylum but NOT to their country of origin.
  • Education Certificate: Issued to all asylum seekers or refugees who study in the country of asylum, by the Ministry of Education.
  • Police Abstract: Issued to all asylum seekers or refugees who have lost their documents in the country of asylum; this document can be requested from the nearest police station.
  • Certificate of Good Conduct: Issued by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to all asylum seekers or refugees who meet the requirements.
  • Exit Permit: Issued by the Department of Immigration for all asylum seekers or refugees who meet their requirements(in the case resettlement, the permit is facilitated by the International Organization for Migration(IOM).

See also

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