An asylum applicant should make an asylum application as soon as practicable after entry to the UK, or as soon as possible after you realise you are at risk in your country of residence. Failure to do so could be damaging to the asylum claim.
As soon as practicable means you might claim asylum by approaching border staff on entry to the UK, or you might phone the ‘asylum intake unit’ after entry. The asylum intake unit can be contacted online. If you have no-where to live and need support from the government to obtain housing and food, then you should explain this to the asylum intake unit when you call. It may be helpful the first to you call to have person with you who can speak English, although there are interpreters available if required. On the initial call to the asylum intake unit you will be asked your name, date of birth and address and details of any passport you have or UK visa you have been issued. You will also be asked basic details of your family members on this call. The call usually lasts around 10 -15 minutes, but can last longer.
Following the call to the asylum intake unit, a screening interview will be arranged for you to attend to explain basic details of your claim. It is important that significant events are described and recorded at that meeting. You will be asked you reasons for claiming asylum, for example whether it is because you cannot return to your home country for fear of being persecuted because of your religion or because of your political opinion. It is likely that you will be told to explain your reasons for claiming asylum in brief, however you should still state all the reasons, if you fail to mention a reason that you then mention in your asylum interview, it is likely that this will be damaging to your credibility.
You should also mention all significant events in your screening interview, for example details of times you were detained and lengths of those detentions. You would not need to give specifics such as whether you were arrested by plain clothed or uniformed officers, but whether you were detained, the length of that detention and whether you were harmed during the period of detention are key features that should be mentioned at screening.
After your screening interview, you will be invited to a full asylum interview on a different day. The interview forms the core of your claim. It is worth preparing a witness statement of your claim before attending the asylum interview. This will allow you to assemble the factual matrix of your claim in a logical manner and note areas where your memory may have failed you before you get into the Home Office interview. Traumatic experiences often do strange things to memory, you may, for example, remember a certain smell, or colour or material but be unable to remember the location or the date.
You should also take with you to the asylum interview any evidence that you hold that is pertinent to the case. So any supporting documentary evidence, such as newspaper clippings, arrest warrants and so on. It is imperative that you retain copies of documents submitted to the Home Office and also make a record of all documents submitted at your interview. The Officer conducting your interview should also make a note of all documents submitted on your interview record.
You should obtain a copy of your interview record before leaving the asylum interview.
Home Office’s Decision
After the asylum interview the Home Office will consider your claim to determine whether you have a well-founded fear of persecution for one of the following reasons: your religious beliefs, your political opinion, your race, nationality, or because you are a member of a particular social group. If the Home Office decide that you don’t qualify for asylum, then it may be they decide that you qualify for a different kind of leave. This could be because you do not fit within the convention reasons , but would still be at risk, or, for example you have family life in the UK and it would be a disproportionate breach of your family life to remove you from the UK.
Right of Appeal
If your asylum application is refused, then you should have a right of appeal against that decision. If you are refused, and you wish to appeal that decision, then you should ensure you do so promptly. You have 14 days in which to appeal; appeals lodged outside that time frame will only be considered where there is a good reason to do so.
If you are in need of advice with regards to your asylum application please contact us.
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1 Maddox Street
0207 118 4546