Immigration Law

Asylum

Asylum is the protection given to people who have come to the UK because they cannot return to their country of origin. This due to fear or persecution because of race, religion, nationality or membership to a particular social group or political opinion.

Under International Law, any person who fears persecution or threat to their life has the legal reinforcement available to support an Asylum application.

How could our solicitors help?

At Farani Taylor solicitors, our main objective is satisfying the needs of our clients. We truly understand how distressing an application for Asylum can be; our outstanding team of experts go to great lengths to ensure our clients seeking Asylum are supported, understood and heard. 

What makes our Asylum solicitors unique is their time is solely dedicated to obtaining Asylum for their clients. Unlike many other law firms, we have dedicated experts for each component of law, ensuring your solicitor works on your behalf throughout the entirety of your case. We believe in driving relationships and trust with our clients, it fosters the understanding that your success is our motivation; this is demonstrative in all we do. We care about our clients and work tirelessly to secure the best outcome for you and your loved ones. 

What is Asylum?

Asylum is protection for people who have come to the UK because they can’t return to their country of origin due to fear of persecution. This could be due to race, religion, nationality or membership to a particular social group or political opinion.

The process by which an individual can acquire asylum status is complex and we would always recommend speaking with a legal expert to secure your asylum claim.

Who are considered as Asylum Seekers?

Whilst there is a strict criteria for being granted asylum in the UK, if you are faced with any of the below circumstances, you could be eligible to claim:

  • You feel a threat to your/your family’s life in your country of origin
  • You fear persecution in your country of origin if you return. This could be based on religion, sexual orientation, political standpoint or race. 
  • You face persecution for any matter and require asylum in a more liberal country.
  • The powers at force in your country of origin are unable to protect you or unwilling to do so. 

If you meet any of these criteria, or perhaps are unsure as to whether your circumstances permit you to apply for asylum in the UK, please contact our asylum solicitors. We can provide you with free, no obligation advice and support, ensuring you are fully aware of your options and next steps. 

What services do we provide?

International law and indeed UK law are complex, particularly if you are attempting to translate them. Our multilingual solicitors offer free guidance to provide our clients with a deeper, more accessible understanding of law. Asylum in particular can be a lengthy, problematic process and it is vital you receive expert, knowledgeable advice to ensure your application’s success. Our solicitors review your circumstances and provide you with a detailed, honest account of what they believe your best options are. We value our clients and we want them to feel safe and supported within our care. We can help you through obtaining supporting documents and evidence, translate and act as a spokesperson for you, or simply provide you with a free consultation on what your rights are when considering asylum. We are here for you on your terms and we are confident that we can achieve success for you and your family.

Process of Making the Asylum Application

In order to make an application, please review the criteria above to ensure you are eligible. You can also consult with our experts if you are unsure. 

To begin an application after meeting the eligibility for asylum, you should apply for asylum as soon as you arrive in the UK, or as soon as you believe it is unsafe for you to return to your country of origin. 

After your application has been submitted, you are given an interview or ‘screening’ with an immigration officer who reviews your circumstances with the Home Office, determining whether they believe you have a case for asylum.

Upon passing the initial ‘screening’, you are delegated a case worker who arranges a formal asylum interview with you. After your interview you should expect to receive a decision from the Home Office within 6 months. 

During this period of waiting for a decision, your case worker details what you can and cannot do during this time, how they are to contact you and the expectations set upon you and your family whilst they determine your case’s outcome. You are not allowed to work during this time. If you require financial information or support on how to provide for your family during this period, please speak with our asylum team who can provide you with information on charities and schemes available to help you through this challenging time.

1. Claiming Asylum

  • Asylum Claim Documents

There are many supporting documents required to evidence  a claim for asylum. Each stage requires further evidence and information, so it is always useful to have these organised prior to application submission and your initial interview. 

Some examples are as follows: 

  • Passports and travel information
  • Police certificates of registration
  • Birth, marriage or divorce certificates (any school records for your children) 
  • Any other evidence that you think may support your case.

If you are already a resident in the UK, you are required to provide: 

  • Evidence of your address i.e. tenancy information, council tax or utility bills
  • Benefit letters
  • Proof of the person’s address you are staying with

If you would like more information on what types of documentation arerelevant to supporting your claim for asylum, our dedicated team can contact you in various ways and provide you with guidance on how to successfully obtain asylum in the UK.

  • Registering Asylum Claim

Upon arrival to the UK it is vital you register your application for asylum as soon as possible. If you fail to do this upon entry to the UK border, you could fail to obtain asylum status altogether. 

After registering your claim for asylum, you are interviewed by an immigration officer who takes your details, photographs, fingerprints and relevant information.

If you already reside in the UK and believe you are eligible for asylum status, you must apply at the nearest opportunity or it may be deemed you are not in an immediate threat and can return to your country of origin. 

After your initial screening, your case is reviewed by the Home Office and a decision determined within 6 months of your application.

For more guidance on the application process, or for translation support, please contact our asylum solicitors who can provide you with expert legal assistance for your case.

  • Asylum Screening

If you notify authorities at the UK border that you wish to obtain asylum, you will be taken for an initial screening interview whereby your details, evidence and circumstances are reviewed. This is an informal interview at this stage to determine whether your application can be referred to the Home Office. 

If you are already living in the UK and wish to seek asylum, you have to attend an immigration unit to have a screening interview. This process is referred to the Home Office who have the decision over the outcome of your case. 

There are many outcomes that can occur following an initial screening and your case is categorised based upon its own individual merit and the evidence provided. This experience can be somewhat overwhelming, particularly if your understanding of the English language is limited. We strongly suggest speaking with an experienced legal expert who specialises with immigration and asylum cases, whatever stage of the application process you are in.

  • Immigration Bail

Immigration bail is a term used to describe the conditions you are expected to adhere to whilst your asylum application is reviewed. The stipulations vary but generally they detail the expected dates to report to your caseworker, where you reside and any restrictions placed upon you whilst you await the decision.

  • Preliminary information questionnaire/one stop notice

Once you have received your initial interview or screening, you are assigned a caseworker for your application. Your caseworker may provide you with a ‘ one stop notice’ or you may be sent a questionnaire to fill out and submit. Both of these forms provide you with an opportunity to submit your request for asylum in writing. If you require support with this, our asylum solicitors can guide you through what is required to ensure your application is successfully reviewed. Contact us now for a free consultation.

  • Asylum Interview/ Substantive Interview

When you have completed your initial interview, you are provided with an asylum application registration card which evidences that you have applied for asylum

You then are required to conduct a further interview with your caseworker to outline why you wish to apply for asylum.

During your interview, you should detail as much information as possible as well as your documentation of evidence to support your persecution claim. 

The interview is a vital stage of your application as it is your opportunity to tell your story, be heard and enable the immigration team to understand your case. Usually the interviewer compares notes taken from this interview and your initial screening, so it is important you don’t fabricate any details and offer a true reflection of your circumstances. You are entitled to bring a solicitor with you at this interview, however, in most cases you are expected to incur the full legal costs if you opt to instruct one.  You can request that your interview is recorded but you must ask your case worker at least one day prior to the interview to ensure this happens. 

The interview process can be stressful, if you would like further details of what you should expect, or perhaps further resources that can support you in this stage of the application, please get in touch with us. Our immigration team specialise in this area of law and would welcome an opportunity to help alleviate any pressure you may be experiencing. Our initial consultations are free and there is no obligation for you to continue working with us afterwards.

Detention

On occasion, the Immigration team may decide to detain you whilst your application is being examined. They can choose to do this at any stage of the application process. If you are detained, you should contact an immigration solicitor immediately to ensure your rights are being upheld and to see whether a grant of bail can be obtained.

If you are eligible for bail you may be placed on a tag (this is where your movements are observed electronically), or you may be informed you have to report to the immigration team at specific times to verbally report your movements. 

2. The UK government will make the decision

The average time taken for the Home Office to make a decision on an asylum application is anything up to 6 months. 

If you are successful in obtaining asylum in the UK, you are permitted to remain in the country for five years under a ‘leave to remain’ status. Contact our solicitors to discuss your settlement options for when your leave to remain expires. 

If your asylum application is refused under refugee status, you may be eligible to remain in the UK for humanitarian reasons, for more information on your options or what to do if your application is unsuccessful, contact our expert team who can advise you further on your next steps.

3. Application Succeed or Refused 

  • Appeals

If your application for asylum has been refused, you are granted a right to challenge the decision through an appeal. Please see our ‘Appeals and Judicial Review’ sections for details.

However, if the Home Office still believes that your case lacks merit, they may still refuse your application, certifying the decision and in this instance, an appeal would have to be made from outside of the UK. 

  • Removed from the UK

If your asylum application and subsequent appeals have been refused or unsuccessful, you are expected to leave the country.

UK immigration has the power to do this by force and can detain you in order to do so. It is a criminal offence if you fail to follow instructions to leave the country and if you are in this position, we would strongly recommend speaking with an immigration solicitor to receive guidance on your options. 

Alternative Options For Asylum Seekers

  • Asylum Claim

To make an asylum claim you need to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria. Please see above for more information regarding this type of application, or get in touch with our immigration team who can support you with making an application. 

  • Family Reunion Program

In this instance, a person granted refugee status can apply for their spouse or dependants to join them in the UK to ensure their family remains together. This application can be made online but we would encourage receiving information about its requirements from a legal expert to ensure it is successful. 

  • Humanitarian Protection

This is similar to refugee status but applicants must evidence they are in immediate danger if they return to their country of origin. Unlike a refugee status, you do not need to have a specific reason, ie gender, political, race discrimination. A humanitarian protection status can be granted if your country is at war.

  • Gateway Protection Program

This is a Government run protection scheme, backed by the United Nations Commissioner to grant legal support for those seeking refuge in another country. For further information about the support they can provide, please visit Gateway Protection Programme – Refugee Council or contact our solicitors who can provide you with further details. 

  • Discretionary Leave to Remain

Applicants can be granted this status on compassionate grounds if their circumstances are compelling or that there are grounds to grant residency in the UK outside of immigration legislation. This is not an easy route to achieve, however, our solicitors can examine your circumstances for you, determining if this is a viable option for you and your family. 

What happens whilst my claim is pending?
Open What happens whilst my claim is pending?

Whilst your claim is pending, you are not permitted to work in the UK. You can discuss this further with your caseworker, however, and request permission to carry out paid or voluntary work.

You may be eligible for asylum support in the form of housing and finances to assist your family whilst your claim is pending. There may also be options available for healthcare and education should you require it. Speak with a member of our immigration team or your caseworker to receive more information about the types of support available during this time.

How long does it take to make a decision?
Open How long does it take to make a decision?

The Home Office suggests that it takes approximately six months to make a decision about an asylum application. However, it may take longer than this if your case is complicated or if you have not provided sufficient documentation to evidence your claim. 

At Farani Taylor, our solicitors use their expertise to provide you with the best legal advice and guidance for your circumstances. If you require further support or information, contact us today on 020 7242 1666 and together we can source the best outcome for you and your family.

Key Contacts

If you are looking for help and guidance or have a question relating to Asylum, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7242 1666.