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8 Claiming Asylum

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1. Introduction

2. Who qualifies for asylum?

3. How do I apply for asylum?

You must claim either:

  • to the immigration officer on duty at an airport or seaport when you first arrive; or
  • at the Home Office Asylum Screening Unit in Croydon or Liverpool if you are already in the UK.

You should normally apply:

  • when you first arrive at a UK port; or
  • if you are already here lawfully (as a student, for example) when the reasons for your fear of being persecuted in your country first arise.

Many people delay because it gives them time to meet friends and family, or to find a legal representative. However, if you do not apply as soon as you can, the authorities will doubt your reasons for applying. Also, you may get support only if you apply as soon as you can (see 'What can I live on while I am waiting?'), and the authorities may be more likely to detain you if you do not.

4. What happens when I apply?

5. What can I live on while I am waiting?

6. What happens while I´m waiting?

7. Where can I get help with my claim?

8. What will be the outcome of my claim?

9. What if my claim is refused?

10. What happens if my appeals fail?

11. Further help

12. About this leaflet


The leaflets in this series give you an outline of your legal rights. They are not a complete guide to the law and are not intended to be a guide to how the law will apply to you or any specific situation. The leaflets are regularly updated but the law and the way the government deals with asylum seekers often change, so information may be incorrect or out of date. If you have a problem, you will need to get more information or personal advice to work out the best way to solve it. See 'Further help' for sources of information and advice.

This leaflet was written in association with the Immigration Law Practitioners Association and Mick Chatwin, a barrister and solicitor specialising in immigration law.

Leaflet version: February 2008

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