If you have just arrived in the UK and would like to apply for asylum, you should first look for a good firm of immigration solicitors to help you prepare your asylum claim.
They will advise you about the asylum procedure and the potential mistakes or tiny inconsistencies to avoid.
Applying for asylum also requires drafting a very detailed witness statement providing an accurate account of your whole life, problems back home, journey to the UK and circumstances on arrival, as well as the gathering of evidence in support of your credibility.
This evidence should include witness statements from relatives or friends; letters or membership cards from your political party back home; psychological or scarring reports by medical experts which stand as independent evidence of torture; and country expert reports about the current specific risk return you face on account of your previous experience, imputed or actual political belief, nationality, race, religion, sexual identity or orientation, membership to a particular social group, etc.
If you can prove that you don’t possess a certain amount of savings or income, then you’ll be entitled to legal help, meaning that you will not have to pay your solicitor, so you should look for good legal aid solicitors.
Once you have found appropriate legal representation and prepared your case, you should be assisted in contacting the Home Office. You will then have to attend the screening interview, often at the Asylum Screening Unit at their offices in Croydon, or answer some initial questions by the Home Office on the phone and then attend their offices to have your biometrics taken.
You will subsequently have to attend a substantive asylum interview, which can last several hours. They will ask you a lot of questions about your problems and life back home, your journey to the UK and potential reasons for not claiming asylum immediately or other factors to be considered such as your family in the UK.
The Home Office will then make a decision on whether to accept your asylum claim and grant you refugee status, or to grant you Humanitarian Protection, or Discretionary Leave, or to refuse your case. You can challenge one of the last three options by way of an appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal-Immigration and Asylum Chamber.
You will attend a hearing before an Immigration Judge and your solicitors will argue your case against the submissions of the lawyer for the Home Office (called Presenting Officer). Should the judge dismiss your appeal, you might still try to apply for permission to appeal to the Upper Tribunal.
By Giulia Tranchina,
A trainee solicitor with Wilson Solicitors LLP.
Disclaimer: The above article is meant to be relied upon as an informative article and in no way constitutes legal advice. Information is offered for general information purposes only, based on the current law when the information was first displayed on this website.