If you are applying for asylum for the first time, you can visit the UNHCR Registration Centre, corner Keate and Pembroke Streets, Port of Spain, from Monday to Thursday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Please be reminded that Living Water Community will no longer be registering asylum seekers from 1 April 2023.
Applying for asylum is free. You should not be requested to submit any form of payment to receive and process your application. If you are asked to submit any form of payment during this process, please report the situation to UNHCR at [email protected] as soon as possible.
You have the right to contact UNHCR in Trinidad and Tobago at any point during the process.
Who Can Apply?
Any foreign national or stateless person at a border point or within the territory of Trinidad and Tobago may apply for asylum, regardless of age, sex, gender, nationality, race, religion or political opinion if he or she fears to return to his or her country of origin because a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
Children have also the right to seek asylum even when a representative or guardian is not present to do it on their behalf.
Asylum applications at border points, air and seaports and the Immigration Detention Center are subject to follow immigration procedures until the application is referred to UNHCR.
If you are applying for asylum for the first time, the first stage of the process is Registration.
Registration is the recording, verifying and updating of information on persons of concern to UNHCR with the aim of protecting and documenting them and of implementing durable solutions. Registration of asylum-seekers is carried out by UNHCR only in Trinidad and Tobago and should help protect against refoulement, arbitrary arrest and detention. Registration is a voluntary process.
Registration with UNHCR
UNHCR’s registration interview may take place in person at the UNHCR office or through a WhatsApp videocall. For your interview with UNHCR, you should present any identity documents or other documents belonging to you and your family which you believe may be useful to help with your asylum claim. During the interview, you will be enrolled in our biometric system (BIMS) and UNHCR will provide you and those included in your asylum application with a UNHCR card. The UNHCR card will identify you as an asylum-seeker registered with UNHCR.
The UNHCR ID Card is used for the purpose of documenting refugees and asylum seekers under UNHCR mandate. It does not replace official documentation issued by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago and/or Immigration Division such as work permits for which you will need to follow the established processes under the national law.
The UNHCR card and the UNHCR certificate are equal in value to UNHCR and its partners.
What to do if you have a UNHCR certificate (paper document) and remain to be registered?
You can also visit the UNHCR Registration Centre from Monday to Thursday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.
How to renew your UNHCR card (expired, lost or stolen cards)?
If you need to renew your UNHCR Card, you can visit the UNHCR Registration Centre from Monday to Friday between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.
Closing your asylum application
You have the right to withdraw your asylum claim at any point while your application is pending. You must submit your decision to withdraw your claim in writing to [email protected] and you will be scheduled for an appointment to close your case. Following the withdrawal of your application, you will cease to be considered an asylum-seeker and your asylum case will be closed. UNHCR will inform the Immigration Division and you will be subject to national Immigration laws.
While awaiting the determination of your claim, you must stay in Trinidad and Tobago or inform UNHCR of your intent to leave the country. If you leave at any time without prior communication to UNHCR, your departure may be considered as an abandonment of your asylum claim and your asylum case may be closed.
Applying for Dependents
If you have dependent family members with you in Trinidad and Tobago, they may apply for asylum on derivative status. Dependent family members may include:
- Your spouse,
- Your unmarried child who is under 18 years,
- Your parents or guardians if you are under 18 years, as well as their dependents and,
- Your minor siblings under 18 years,
- Your family members who are above the age of 18 but who depend on you due to specific reasons.
The procedure to seek asylum is completely confidential, which means that the information you share with UNHCR, will not be shared with external persons or with authorities of your country of origin without your consent.
For all other queries related to Registration, please contact [email protected]