Asylum in Syria

The Refugee Status Determination (RSD) unit is tasked to determine whether an individual who has applied for international protection is a refugee within the meaning of refugee definition.

Who is a Refugee?

A refugee is someone who is outside his/her country of origin, has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and because of this fear is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country. (extract: Article 1A2 – 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees).

If you do not meet the refugee definition you will not be granted refugee status.

If UNHCR has serious reasons to believe that a person has committed serious crimes, he/she may not be eligible for refugee status.


How is the Refugee Status Determination interview?

The purpose of the RSD interview is to gather information to obtain a complete and objective picture of your circumstances and to determine whether you meet the refugee definition.

The interview will focus mainly on your past experiences in your country of origin, the circumstances that led you to flee your home country, and the reasons as to why you cannot return home.

The role of the officer who will interview you is to give you the opportunity to explain what happened to you in your country as clearly as possible. All information you provide during the interview will be treated in a confidential manner by UNHCR.

Each applicant has a different profile, background and reason for fleeing his/her country. Therefore each situation will be assessed individually according to UNHCR rules and procedures.

There are no right or wrong answers. Please, do not pay attention to rumors about specific stories to be presented to be granted refugee status.

How many times will I be interviewed by the RSD unit?

Sometimes you might be called to come back for a follow-up interview when the information previously collected is insufficient or there is a need to clarify some aspects before a final decision on your case can be taken.

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.

How can 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 case.

Remember to bring to the RSD interview the following documents if available:

  • Identity documents
  • Travel documents
  • Medical records
  • Marriage /Birth Certificates
  • Driving Licence
  • Education Certificates
  • Military booklets
  • Proof of registration with other UNHCR Offices
  • Any other document which you think might be relevant to support your case

On the day of interview, please come with your dependents or other family members (if any) who have been scheduled for the interview on the same day.

What are my rights and obligations during the interview?


  • To an interpreter

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

  • To confidentiality

Everyone attending the interview is under an obligation to keep all information about your case confidential.

The information provided during the interview cannot be shared with anybody outside UNHCR without your consent. The RSD staff and the interpreter attending the interview are bound by the confidentiality obligation.

  • To ask for a break

During the interview you have the right to ask for a break during which you will be asked to remain within UNHCR premises.



  • To tell the truth and fully cooperate in the interview process

This means you must not misrepresent, fabricate or leave out information.

If you intentionally misrepresent, fabricate or leave out information, your request for international protection might be  denied.

What if I remember some information to share after the end of the RSD interview?

You may contact us by phone and request to have another interview to add some information or submit documents. Afterwards, UNHCR will contact you to schedule a complementary interview with you.

What happens after the Refugee Status Determination interview?

Based on the information you provide in the interview and general information on your country of origin, a decision on your case is taken.

The decision can either be recognition of refugee status or a rejection of the application for international protection. You will be informed of the decision in writing.

If your application for international protection is rejected, you have the right to have your case reconsidered within 30 days. More information and counseling on this procedure will be provided to you when UNHCR informs you of the decision.

If the decision is to recognize you as a refugee, UNHCR will schedule an appointment to issue you a refugee card.


My case has been pending for some time. Why am I not receiving my result?

Decisions on RSD require a review which sometimes takes time. We try to provide results as soon as possible but the extra time is sometimes needed to ensure that your case is addressed thoroughly.

However, if your case has been pending for long time, you can:

  • call the RSD number 📞 0988 005 086 from Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 am – 4:00 PM
  • write to ✉️  [email protected] and ask about your specific case

You must mention your file / case number when you contact UNHCR.

There are some sensitive issues that I do not want to share with a family member or anyone else. 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. Both the interviewer and the interpreter attending the interview are under an obligation to keep all information about your application for asylum confidential.

An RSD interview is an individual interview and you will be alone in the room with the RSD staff (and the interpreter if applicable). None of your family members, even the ones registered with you in the same case, will be present during your personal/ individual RSD interview.

Moreover, should we need to share some information with a family member, UNHCR will always ask for your consent in advance. UNHCR will never act without receiving your consent.

I still have questions about RSD which are not answered on this page, how can you help me?

You may contact our RSD number 📞 0988 005 086 from Sunday to Thursday from 8:30 am – 4:00 PM and UNHCR will answer all your questions or will refer your question to relevant other UNHCR personnel. You can also send an email to ✉️ [email protected].

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