You must apply for asylum if you want to stay in the UK as a refugee.
To be eligible you must have left your country and be unable to go back because you fear persecution.
Apply for a visa if you want to come to the UK for another reason (for example to work, study or remain with family). If you’re already in the UK and want to remain with family living here, apply for a family of a settled person visa.
You should apply when you arrive in the UK or as soon as you think it would be unsafe for you to return to your own country. Your application is more likely to be denied if you wait.
You’ll usually get a decision on your application within 6 months.
You can get up to 2 years in prison or have to leave the UK if you give false information on your application.
Waiting for your decision
You’ll be told after your screening what you must do while you’re waiting for your asylum decision, for example report to a caseworker regularly (known as ‘reporting meetings’).
You must tell the authorities if your situation changes.
You will not usually be allowed to work while your asylum claim is being considered.
Help you can get
You can get help with:
- getting legal representation for your asylum claim
- living in the UK while you wait for your decision
Children applying on their own
You can apply as a child on your own if you do not have an adult relative who is also claiming asylum.
Documents you must provide to the U.K:
Documents you must provide
You’ll need documents for yourself and your dependants (partner and children under 18) for your asylum screening.
Documents you should bring (if you have them) include:
- passports and travel documents
- police registration certificates
- identification documents, for example identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records
- anything you think will help your application
Documents to prove your UK address
If you’re already in the UK, you and your dependants must bring documents that prove your UK address.
You’ll need different documents depending on whether you’re living in your own accommodation or staying with someone else.
Living in your own accommodation
You’ll need to provide documents showing your full name and address. This could be a:
- bank statement
- housing benefit book
- council tax notice
- tenancy agreement
- household bill
Staying with someone else
You’ll need to provide:
- a recent letter (less than 3 months old) from the person you’re staying with to confirm you have their permission to stay
- documents showing the full name and address of the person you’re staying with, like a council tax notice, tenancy agreement or household bill
How to get legal help with asylum in U.K:
Help you can get
You can get help from asylum helplines run by charities.
They can help with:
- explaining your asylum claim, for example getting a solicitor or lawyer to represent you
- living in the UK while your claim is being considered, for example getting asylum support, housing problems, dealing with agencies or finding English language classes and schools
You can get legal advice to help your asylum claim.
Housing and money
Help returning home
You may be able to get help with returning home.