Asylum in the United Kingdom

The UNHCR office in the UK does not accept applications for asylum in the UK and does not make decisions on asylum applications.

What is Asylum?

Asylum is the protection that a country grants to a non-citizen in its territory. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution.

An asylum-seeker is an individual who has left their country of origin in order to seek asylum in another country.   Practically and legally, it is necessary for that person to formally apply for asylum as soon as possible. When an individual who has applied for asylum is found to meet the definition of a refugee according to the 1951 Refugee Convention (Convention), they will be formally recognised as a refugee and granted asylum.

The definition of a refugee according to the Convention is someone who:

‘owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.’

Refugee Status Determination is the process in which either the host government or UNHCR determine whether an asylum-seeker meets the definition of a refugee.

In the UK, the UK Government (the Home Office) are responsible for the Refugee Status Determination process. The UNHCR office in the UK does not accept applications for asylum in the UK and does not make decisions on asylum applications.

Am I eligible to seek asylum?

Information on eligibility can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

What is the process of seeking asylum?

Information on what documents you must provide to claim asylum can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

Information on how and where you can register your asylum claim can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

What happens after my screening interview?

Information on what happens after your screening interview, including information on: your asylum registration card (ARC) and immigration removal detention can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

Information on your asylum interview can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

I am under 18, what is the process for me?

Information for minors (under 18 years old) that are applying on their own can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

What happens after my asylum interview?

Information on the possible decisions that can be made by the UK Home Office after your asylum interview can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

I want to claim asylum outside the UK, can UNHCR in the UK help?

Every country has different rules and regulations regarding asylum and how to claim asylum. For more information on different countries, please refer to the different UNHCR Help Pages here.

I have previously registered with UNHCR in another country and need access to documents and information about my claim.

If you are currently in the UK and would like assistance in verifying that you were registered as a refugee with UNHCR in another country, please email us with details on: [email protected].

I have applied for refugee status in the UK but my claim has not been successful. Can UNHCR assist me?

No. UNHCR in the UK cannot provide any legal advice and we cannot represent individuals in their asylum claims and appeals.

I am currently outside the UK but wish to seek asylum in the UK. Can UNHCR assist me?

No. To apply for asylum in the UK, you must be physically in the UK. Applications for asylum are submitted to the UK Government and not to UNHCR. More information can be found on this UK’s Government Services webpage.

I am in the UK and I want to seek asylum in another country or be transferred to another country, can UNHCR in the UK help me?

No. UNHCR in the UK  cannot assist individuals who are in the UK with submitting an asylum application to another country. In addition, UNHCR in the UK cannot arrange for the transfer or relocation of refugees and asylum-seekers from the UK to another country. If you are interested in making an application to relocate to another country from the UK, you should contact the diplomatic mission of the third country concerned directly.


Related information

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