How do you apply for asylum in the UK?

What is claiming asylum?
If you want to live in the UK because you fear living in your own country due to persecution then you are looking to claim asylum. 
Am I eligible to claim asylum in the UK?
In order to be eligible for claiming asylum in the UK you must be regarded by the UK government as a refugee. In order to be considered a refugee you must:
  • be afraid to live in any part of your own country due to fears of persecution
  • be unable to get protection while living in your own country
  • be unable to return to your country due to fear of persecution
To be regarded as a refugee there must be evidence of persecution due to one or more of the following:
  • your race
  • your nationality
  • your religion
  • your political opinion
  • your membership to a particular social group that puts you in danger in the country; for example your gender or sexual orientation
Would my family be eligible to claim asylum too?
You can include in your application any dependant family member if they are with you in the UK. 
How do I claim asylum in the UK?
If you want to seek asylum in the UK you will need to attend an asylum screening.
An asylum screening is a meeting with an immigration officer who will review your situation to see whether you are eligible to claim asylum in the UK.
You can claim asylum either at a UK border or once you are living in the UK. To claim at a border you must tell a Border Force officer you want to claim asylum. To claim asylum when already in the UK you must make an appointment with the asylum screening unit.
Contact details:
Asylum Screening Unit
Appointment line – 020 8196 4524
The office is open Monday to Thursday 9am to 4.45pm and Friday 9am to 4pm.
If you are in the UK and you have nowhere to live, you can go to the Asylum Screening Unit between 7:30am and 4pm Monday to Friday. Please ensure you get there as early as possible to complete your screening.
The Asylum Screening Unit’s address is:
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road
What do I need to bring to an asylum screening?
If you go to an asylum screening you will need to bring the following documents if you have them:
  • your passport and any other travel documents
  • a police registration certificate Identification documents such as a birth certificate or identity card
Anything else you think would help your claim for asylum If you already live in the UK then you should also bring documents that prove your address in the UK. These could be:
  • a bank statement
  • a housing benefit book
  • a council tax notice
  • a tenancy agreement 
  • a household bill
If you are staying with another person who is supporting you then you need to bring:
  • A letter that is less than three months old from the person you are living with confirming the arrangement
  • Documents that show the person helping you lives at the address. This could be a council tax bill, tenancy agreement, etc.
What happens at the screening?
At the screening you will be photographed, have your fingerprints taken and be interviewed by an immigration officer.
The immigration officer will ask you why you want to claim asylum and ask for the documentation mentioned above. If you have any documentation that proves your persecution in your home country then it is advisable you bring that with you. 
Furthermore, you will be asked about your living situation and whether you need help with accommodation.
If your living situation changes before your appointment date you should contact the service as soon as possible.
The meeting should take approximately 30 minutes of your time.
What happens after the screening?
Once the screening is complete your case will be given to a caseworker. Depending on the particulars of your case you will either be:
  • given an application registration card (ARC) or a standard acknowledgement letter (SAL); or 
  • detained
Your caseworker will also interview you and tell you about the asylum process in more detail.
Please be aware if you do not go to your meetings with your caseworker your application may fail and you may be removed from the UK. 
Once you have been assigned a caseworker and if you receive an SAL you must exchange it for an ARC within two months. The SAL will inform you how to do this. 
You will need you ARC when you attend meetings with your caseworker and when you collect asylum support from the Post Office.
If you are detained following your caseworker meeting then two things may happen.
  • You are detained as your application can be handled quickly through the ‘detained fast-track’ process. This means you may be granted asylum very quickly. 
  • Alternatively, you may be detained and removed from the UK.  Your caseworker should inform you of why you are being detained.
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