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Refugee Status Determination (RSD) is the process used by UNHCR to decide whether someone is a refugee or not.
1. What is the purpose of an RSD interview?⬇️
The purpose of an RSD interview is to understand the reasons why you left your home country and the reasons why you cannot return to it. It allows UNHCR to accurately determine whether you are a refugee or not. Based on the interview, UNHCR will determine whether you meet the refugee definition or not and whether to grant you international protection.
2. Who is a refugee? ⬇️
A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country of origin or previous residence because of persecution based on reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Refugees have come to Lebanon to seek the protection which they did not find in their country. They are unable to return to their country due to the persecution they are likely to face if they return.
3. What is the difference between refugees and migrants?⬇️
Refugees are different from migrants, as migrants choose to move not because of a threat of persecution or serious human rights violations, but for a range of other reasons. While migrants face no such threat if they return to their country, refugees cannot safely return home.
4. How will I know that I have an RSD interview?⬇️
UNHCR will call you to schedule an RSD interview and counsel you on the steps you have to take before the interview, as well as documents you need to bring, and family members that need to be present during the interview if any. In case you change your phone number, please contact UNHCR’s National Call Centre at 📞04726111 to inform that you have new phone number, or else UNHCR will not be able to contact you.
5. What happens during an RSD interview?⬇️
This is your time to tell what happened in your country and what you believe might happen if you return to it. UNHCR will help you in this process.
During the RSD interview, you are required to:
- Submit any documents and evidence available regarding your application,
- Inform UNHCR about your family members accompanying you. Adult family members will be interviewed individually, and
- Tell the truth and be cooperative.
During the RSD procedure, you have the right to:
- Be interviewed in a language you can communicate in, and
- To be represented by a lawyer or a legal representative, who qualifies as such under UNHCR’s established procedures, during your RSD procedure. Please note that UNHCR will not provide a lawyer or a legal representative for you. Beware of individuals who present themselves as lawyer or legal representative, especially if they claim that they have links or connections to UNHCR that would facilitate the processing of your case, as these individuals may be misrepresenting themselves to obtain money from you (i,e. check credentials).
Please also 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.
- Please, do not pay attention to rumors within your community about specific stories to tell to be granted refugee status.
- 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 Lebanon 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.
6. What should I prepare/ bring with me to the RSD interview?⬇️
- Your UNHCR certificate.
- Any documents that are relevant to support your refugee claim.
- Your own and your family members’ original identification documents (such as passports, ID cards, military booklet, marriage certificate, birth certificates, medical reports if any, etc.).
- Proof of previous registration with other UNHCR Offices (if any).
Please note that all adult family members registered under your case should also be present at the time of the interview, unless indicated otherwise. When you are scheduled for an interview, please make sure to inform UNHCR if you need an interpreter and whether you prefer to be interviewed by a man or a woman.
7. Does the information I share with UNHCR during my interview remain confidential?⬇️
Any information you provide during an RSD interview remains confidential and no details of your application will be shared with any third party, without your permission and explicit consent.
8. There are some sensitive issues that I do not want to be shared with a family member or relative. Should I be concerned?⬇️
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.
9. Why is UNHCR recording my interview?⬇️
UNHCR records RSD interviews to protect you and UNHCR staff members and to ensure the integrity of our procedures. Recording of interviews aims to:
- Ensure that the information provided during the interview is accurately captured.
- Ensure the quality of the interpretation in case the interview was conducted with the assistance of an interpreter.
- Better respond to fraud allegations and facilitate investigations.
- Better respond to allegations of procedural breach.
10. What if I missed an RSD appointment?⬇️
If you failed to attend an RSD appointment without a reasonable explanation, your case may be closed. If you miss an appointment, it is your responsibility to call UNHCR at 📞04726111 to request a new one as soon as possible, and to explain the reason why you could not approach UNHCR. Please note that the new appointment will only be granted if you provided a reasonable explanation as to why you failed to attend the first interview.
11. What happens after an RSD interview?⬇️
UNHCR will assess and review your case to decide if you meet the refugee definition or not.
UNHCR will assess and review your case to decide if you meet the refugee definition or not.
To inform you about the decision, UNHCR will contact you by phone and give you and appointment (location, date, and time) where you will be informed of the decision and counselled on your options depending on the outcome.
If your application for refugee status is rejected and you disagree with this decision, you have the right to appeal. Information on the appeal procedures is included in the decision that you will receive. For more information on how to appeal, please refer to Question No. 15. If you are recognised as a refugee, please refer to question 13.
In some cases, if the information you provided during the interview was not sufficient for the committee to decide whether you are a refugee or not, you can be called for a second interview. If that is the case, you will be informed accordingly.
12. How can I correct or add information to my case?⬇️
You can contact UNHCR via mail at 📧[email protected], if you wish to correct or add any information to your case, or if you would like to request copies of documents you have previously submitted to UNHCR. In case you change your phone number, please contact UNHCR’s National Call Centre at 📞04726111 to inform that you have new phone number, or else UNHCR will not be able to contact you.
13. My case has been pending for some time. Why am I not receiving my result?⬇️
We strive to provide results as soon as possible but sometimes take extra time to ensure that your case is addressed thoroughly. However, if your case has been pending for over 6 months, please contact the UNHCR National Call Centre at 📞04726111 to inquire about your result.
14. What happens if I am recognized as a refugee?⬇️
If you are recognized as a refugee, you and your eligible dependents will be provided with a UNHCR refugee certificate.
To inform you about the decision, UNHCR will contact you by phone to inform you about your appointment’s location, date, and time. On the day of your appointment, you need to bring your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification).
15. What happens if I am denied refugee status?⬇️
If you are notified with a negative decision, you have the right to submit an appeal request within 30 days.
To inform you about the decision, UNHCR will contact you by phone to inform you about your appointment’s location, date, and time where you will receive your letter informing you of the negative decision.
The letter informing you of the negative decision contains an explanation on the reasons that led to the denial of your asylum application. During the same appointment, you will be handed an empty appeal form (yellow form), which you can fill in case you wish to submit an appeal. If you do not wish to file an appeal against the negative decision denying your asylum application, you will no longer be eligible for assistance by UNHCR.
On the day of your appointment, you need to bring your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification).
16. How can I submit an appeal request?⬇️
If you wish to submit an appeal, you need to fill out the appeal form (yellow form) given to you when you were counselled by UNHCR about the first instance negative decision. Once you filled the form, you need to submit it to UNHCR reception staff at the nearest UNHCR reception centre within 30 days of the appointment where you were notified about the decision.
In case you lost the yellow appeal form, you can approach the UNHCR reception center and request a new one. Please make sure that your name, your case number, and your phone number are clearly written on the form.
17. What will happen during the appeal process?⬇️
Your appeal request will be reviewed by UNHCR protection staff that were not involved in the initial decision that did not grant you refugee status.
Not all appeal requests lead to an appeal interview. If an appeal interview is needed, you will be notified of the date of your appeal interview by phone.
If the initial decision is overturned, you will be granted refugee status and UNHCR will give you an appointment by phone to receive your refugee certificate. On the day of your appointment, you need to bring your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification).
If the initial decision is confirmed, you will be given an appointment by UNHCR to inform you regarding the decision and your case will be closed. UNHCR will contact you by phone to inform you about your appointment’s location, date, and time. On the day of your appointment, you need to bring your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification).
18. My case with UNHCR was closed, because I was rejected/ I was unreachable over a period during which UNHCR tried to contact me/ or because I left Lebanon. Can I ask UNHCR to reopen my case?⬇️
If your case is closed before you were interviewed, this is probably because you left Lebanon or UNHCR was not able to contact you despite several attempts over a considerable period of time.
If you were unable to follow UNHCR’s procedures due to valid reasons e.g., circumstances out of your control, like health issues, and you want to reopen your case, you can approach the UNHCR Reception Centre or Field Office closest to you to file a reopening request (green document) or call the UNHCR National Call Centre at 📞04726111 to explain these circumstances. UNHCR will consider this application, and if found to be justified, your case may be reopened to allow continuance of the procedures.
If you departed for your country of origin at one point and want to re-open your case after returning to Lebanon, you can submit a reopening request by approaching the UNHCR reception centre to ask for a green reopening form to fill.
If you decide to submit a reopening request, please make sure that your name, your case number, and your phone number are clearly written, and the information you provide is legible. Explain in your re-opening request the circumstances of your travel to the country of origin as well as the reason why you still want your claim to be examined by UNHCR.
19. Can I request the re-opening of my case after my case was rejected at appeal stage?⬇️
You can request the re-opening of your case after it was rejected at appeal stage if you:
(a) think that there is a significant change in your personal circumstances or that of your country of origin,
(b) believe there are serious reasons to believe that you were wrongly denied refugee status, or
(c) have a new refugee claim that you did not mention before, which may change your status…”
You can submit your re-opening request to the UNHCR Reception Centre or Field Offices for further assessment together with relevant supporting evidence (document etc.).
Please note that re-opening a case after the rejection at appeal instance is exceptional. UNHCR cannot ensure that your case will be re-opened, nor confirm the time it may take to re-open your case. You will be informed regarding the outcome of your re-opening request by phone.
If your case is rejected on an appeal instance and you ask for the re-opening of your case, you have already completed UNHCR’s asylum procedures. You will not be considered as asylum-seeker or benefit from UNHCR assistance during the period your re-opening request is assessed. You will be eligible for assistance as asylum-seeker only if UNHCR concludes that there are valid reasons to re-open your case.
If your case is not re-opened, you are not a person of concern to UNHCR and UNHCR is not able to assist you.
20. I have other questions which are not answered on this page, how can you help me?⬇️
For any other questions about RSD, please contact UNHCR through our National Call Center at 📞04726111 or by email at 📧[email protected].