- The Eligibility Criteria to Claim Asylum
- How to Claim Asylum
- The Initial Interview
- The Substantive Interview
- About Subsidiary Protection
- Applying for Permission to Remain
- Appealing a Refused Decision
- Accommodation Support
- Financial Support
- Access to Healthcare
- Attending English Classes
- Accessing Employment
- Asylum Support for Minors
- Frequently asked questions
Claiming Asylum in Ireland
International protection legislation varies all around the world. Ireland is no different. In the State, the term ‘Refugee’ can apply to many different people from all walks of life who have been awarded with a permanent immigration status and ultimately refuge in the country. Refugees may have sought humanitarian protection in Ireland but are granted different rights and obligations depending on their individual circumstances.
However, generally speaking, all those who wish to seek international protection in the Republic of Ireland must first enter the country before lodging a claim. The key requirement to be deemed eligible for Refugee Status is that you cannot return to your home country out of fear of persecution. There are set rules as to what constitutes as ‘persecution’ and there is no guarantee that your application will be successful, but it is applicable to all ages.
The International Protection Office (IPO) is in charge of handling all asylum cases while the Minister for Justice and Equality maintains the overall responsibility for asylum law and implementation in the State.
How can IAS help?
At the Immigration Advice Service, we know just how daunting the application for Refugee and Subsidiary Protection can be. That is why we aim to alleviate the burden of the paperwork for you, and can even represent you in court should you need it.
Ring us on (+353) 061 518 025 to book your first appointment with a qualified Irish immigration and asylum lawyer. We can help you minimise the chances of a refusal, compile the necessary paperwork in your application and liaise with the Minister and IPO on your behalf throughout the lengthy process.
The Eligibility Criteria for Refugee Status
In order to claim asylum in Ireland, you must have entered the State and be able to show that you are at risk of real persecution in your home country.
You can face persecution on the grounds of:
- Your race
- Your religion
- Your nationality
- Your political opinions
- Your membership to a particular social group, such as your gender, gender identity or sexual orientation
The persecution must be so severe that you cannot realistically live safely in any region of your home country and your country of origin must not be deemed a ‘safe country’.
European citizens are generally ineligible for international protection in the Republic of Ireland.
In addition, you may be eligible if you have tried but failed to gain any form of protection from the local authorities of your home region. However, if you have previously filed for asylum in a different country, the Irish government may seek to return you to this country to finish your asylum application there instead.
How to Claim Asylum in Ireland
It is of utmost importance that you launch your asylum claim as soon as you arrive in the State. Whether you arrive by ferry, plane, car or other means, you must inform the nearest immigration officer of your arrival. An example would be to declare your intention to claim asylum when at passport control. Alternatively, you could inform the Garda (Irish police) that you wish to claim asylum.
After this immediate declaration, the immigration officer will tell you that you have only 5 working days to being your official asylum application. You must attend one of the IPO offices to do so. Failure to attend within this strict timeframe may see your application outright refused.
The next steps are compiled between a few interviews with the IPO and filing some paperwork to validate your claim.
As a result, you should seek out professional immigration advice to help you with the asylum process.
At IAS, our dedicated asylum lawyers are well versed in Ireland asylum law and are waiting, ready to help you. We can assist you and help you to prepare for your first interview with the IPO and all subsequent meetings afterwards. We can even help you to prepare a portfolio of evidence to support your claim.
Ring us today on (+353) 061 518 025 to see how we can help.
The Initial Asylum Interview
Every single asylum seeker and refugee who steps foot in Ireland must attend an appointment within an IPO office. Here, you will be required to attend a number of interviews and will need to fill out numerous forms to support your claim.
It cannot be underestimated how important attending these interviews are. However, the application process is fortunately broken down into bitesize bits.
Your initial interview with the IPO is just to clarify and confirm that you intend on claiming asylum in the Republic of Ireland. You will need to explain the reasons why you are claiming asylum and outline where you meet the eligibility criteria – I.e. on which grounds you face persecution in your home country. The immigration officer in charge will take notes and gather some basic information about you.
To ease the process, you should bring the following documents with you if you have them:
- Your passport as well as any children/family members that are with you
- Travel documents such as aeroplane or ferry tickets that detail your arrival into Ireland
- Other means of identification such as ID cards, birth certificates, marriage certificates or school records if you have any children
The Second Substantive Interview
In your initial asylum interview, you will be given a longer application form to fill in your own time. You must then fill this form and return it to IPO within a certain timeframe. Once you have returned the form, you will be given a set date for your subsequent interview, known as the ‘substantive interview’.
It is of utmost importance that you continue to attend these interviews. Failure to do so may see your application refused and you may face forceful removal from the country.
Unlike the first relatively informal interview, this second meeting will be a little more stringent. Applicants are usually interviewed alone, without any family members, but may have an interpreter if necessary.
Here, you will need to:
- Detail why you were persecuted in your home country
- Prove that you are afraid to return to your home
- Outline why you are eligible for international protection in Ireland.
If you have any evidence of this persecution, you will need to bring it with you and show it.
After completing your substantive interview, the IPO will start to assess the merits of your case. The Irish authorities will begin preparing a recommendation about whether your asylum claim is legitimate and whether it should be approved or rejected.
The Types of Asylum Statuses in Ireland
When you come to apply for asylum in Ireland, you may not necessarily be granted the internationally recognised ‘Refugee Status’ as outlined by the Geneva Convention definition on refugees. Instead, you may be granted Permission to Remain or Subsidiary Protection.
If for whatever reason you don’t qualify for Refugee Status and your application is refused, not all is lost as you may alternatively be granted Subsidiary Protection instead. This only means that you don’t fully qualify as a Refugee in accordance with the Geneva Convention but that you do still face genuine persecution in your home country. Subsidiary Protection is granted for those who have shown ‘substantial grounds’ to ‘real risk of suffering serious harm’ in their home country.
You can apply for this form of status alongside your general asylum application. In the event that your application for Refugee Status is refused, the Irish government will review if you meet the terms and conditions of Subsidiary Protection instead.
Under Subsidiary Protection, you will be given the same rights as an Irish citizen and will be able to remain in the State legally.
Permission to Remain
In the event that you do not qualify for Refugee Status or Subsidiary Protection, the Minister for Justice and Equality may consider whether to give you Permission to Remain instead. This may be because of humanitarian reasons, if you have any family members in the State or if there is a compelling reason why you should remain in Ireland.
Appealing a Refused Asylum Decision
If for whatever reason your claim for international protection to the State is refused, the International Protection Office (IPO) will outline the reasons of your refusal within a letter. Both you and your solicitor will receive this notification.
Once you have become aware of your verdict, you can appeal this decision via the International Protection Appeals Tribunal (IPAT). Normally, you have 15 working days from the date of notification to do so.
Within this 10-15-day timeframe, you can request an oral hearing for your appeal. You must lodge this in writing on an official Notice of Appeal form. It is best practice to seek legal advice almost immediately upon receiving your Letter of Refusal to maximise your chances of overturning the Minister’s verdict.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your appeal is lodged within this time period. You should keep receipts or any other notifications with dates on to prove that you have met the deadline. If you do miss your appeal, you can seek to request an extension but you must detail thoroughly why you missed your first appeal.
If your appeal has been granted, you will receive a notification from the Tribunal. Your appeal hearing should be at least 20 working days away from the date of your notification. If you fail to attend the Tribunal hearing without reasonable cause, your appeal will be considered withdrawn and you may be liable to deportation from the country.
The Immigration Advice Service can help you throughout every step of the appeals process. Contact us today to book an appointment with an asylum lawyer in Ireland and to find out more about our Appeal Package. We can help you to apply for any form of international protection in the State and offer support from start to finish.
Accessing Asylum Accommodation
When attending your initial interview, you should inform the appropriate person that you need accommodation and/or financial aid if you need it.
The IPO will give you a Temporary Resident Certificate that demonstrates you are in the process of claiming asylum in the State. This is a form of temporary permission to legally remain in Ireland while your case is under review.
The Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) will arrange for you to attend a reception area in which accommodation arrangements will be made for you. The RIA takes care of all your accommodation queries from start to finish of your application.
These temporary safe houses are stationed all across Ireland. You will not be able to choose where you can stay, but each centre is safe and secure and offers regular meals and laundry services. It is rare to move from one centre to another, but should you need to, the RIA may consider a transfer for you.
If your application is successful and you receive full Refugee Status, Permission to Remain or Subsidiary Protection, the RIA will directly provide you with accommodation for you and any family members to permanently live in.
Contact IAS on (+353) 061 518 025 if you need help with your accommodation and asylum support.
In addition to accommodation provisions, asylum seekers are entitled to monetary funds to help with toiletries, clothes, phone calls and local travel within the country.
Each adult will receive €38.80 per week.
A child (under the age of 18) will receive €29.80 per week.
It is important to note that you cannot leave the State while claiming any kind of international protection, even if it is temporary. Furthermore, you are unable to return to your country of origin for at least 5 years while in Ireland, even if your application is granted.
Access to Health and English Classes
While under Temporary Residence Permission, you will have access to the same health provisions as though you are an Irish citizen. You will be given a medical card which encompasses access to medicine prescriptions, dental care, eyesight tests, pregnancy and maternity services and any other services related to children’s health.
If you need it, you may also request English language classes for adults, but this is not always granted. It is not an automatic right to access free State third-level education courses, however, there are some sponsored places that you may be able to apply for.
Accessing Employment in Ireland
As of 2018, asylum seekers have been granted temporary access to the labour market in Ireland. This means that you can apply for a temporary Employment Permit which will be granted by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.
In addition, you could seek self-employment as permitted by the Department of Justice and Equality.
However, international protection applicants may only enter the workforce if they have not yet heard a verdict on their asylum claim for over 8 months. You must be able to demonstrate that you have been waiting for over 8 months in order to be eligible, and you must be able to show that you have been cooperating with the Irish authorities throughout your application.
The permission to work will only grant you the opportunity to enter the labour market for a period of 6 months. If you still do not receive a decision on your application within this six-month timeframe, you can renew your working permission.
Asylum Support for Children
If you are under the age of 18 and are alone in the Republic of Ireland, you must tell IPO upon your arrival. This means that you have made the journey into the State and/or have arrived in the country without the supervision of any family members.
As a child, you will be placed into the care of the Child and Family Agency and will be given a social worker. The agency and your assigned social worker will help you throughout the duration of your asylum claim and may even file the application for you on your behalf. You may also be given access to free legal assistance.
If you already have existing family members in Ireland, the authorities will try to reunite you with them.
Any children between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school while in Ireland. Education for children is free. If possible, you/your children will be given language support in order to integrate into Irish life and school.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Department of Justice & Equality on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
At the Immigration Advice Service, we know just how daunting your asylum application and subsequent interview process can be. It may feel as though your life is put on hold and hangs in the balance of receiving a positive verdict.
As a result, we hire dedicated OISC certified asylum lawyers. Our lawyers are here to help you throughout the duration of your claim for asylum, and can assist you in an appeal should you need representation.
Contact us today on (+353) 061 518 025 to see how we can ease some of the burden from you.
If your claim for asylum is successful, the Minister for Justice and Equality will make a declaration that you are entitled to protection.
You will either receive Refugee Status, Permission to Remain or Subsidiary Protection. Either way, you will be able to remain and live in Ireland in peace. You will receive many of the same rights as an Irish citizen and will be able to stay in the State indefinitely.
In addition, you can further seek to apply for Family Reunification in Ireland. However, this only applies to immediate family members who may be in different countries.
If you have exhausted all your options to remain within the State via the asylum and humanitarian protection route, you may lose your legal entitlement to stay in Ireland.
As a result, the Minister for Justice and Equality may make a deportation order. This order will be delivered to you on the grounds that you have no legal basis to abide in the State as you have been refused Refugee Status, Subsidiary Protection, Permission to Remain and have failed your appeals.
You will be notified of the State’s intention to deport you and will be asked to present yourself at your local Garda station.
Get in touch with an immigration lawyer as soon as you receive this letter if you feel you still have eligible grounds to remain and wish to contest the Minister’s decision.
If you have been awarded with Refugee Status in Ireland, you are on the right path towards claiming Irish Citizenship.
However, the general requirements dictate that you must have legally abided in the State for a minimum of 3 years before applying for Irish Citizenship.
If you are claiming asylum and have not yet received a verdict on your claim, you generally won’t be able to leave the State.
However, if you have been awarded with Refugee Status or another form of international protection, you can apply for a Travel Document. This document allows you to travel to and from Ireland without needing to seek a Re-Entry Visa.
It is important to note that it may look suspicious if you have claimed asylum in Ireland and then wish to visit your home country. You will have been granted Refugee Status on the grounds that you face genuine persecution in your country of origin. As a result, even those with Refugee Status are not permitted to travel to the country that has made them a refugee for 5 years.
If you have received a decision on your application for international protection, you can choose whether or not to appeal or apply again.
If there are serious grounds for your removal from the State, you may not be able to do either. However, if you find new elements or factors that might help your case for Refugee Status, you can re-submit a fresh asylum application.
It is important to note that any fresh information you may provide a second time around must be compelling enough. These details must also have only come to light since you filed for asylum the first time. In other words, you must have been incapable for whatever reason to present these elements to the immigration officer at the time in your initial application.
Asylum seekers cannot apply to be a Programme Refugee. It is only possible to go through this scheme if you have been referred and/or invited to it by the Irish Government. The Irish Refugee Protection Programme offers protection for up to 4,000 people. The quota is filled by the Minister for Justice and Equality.
It can take weeks or even months until you hear a verdict on your asylum claim.
Generally, it can take around 6 months until you receive your decision. But if there have been any discrepancies in your application or if the State has a backlog of applications, it can take even longer until you receive a decision.
If your asylum application has been successful and you have been awarded with Refugee Status, a few more doors open for you in terms of education.
Even when claiming asylum, children whether preschool age or primary and secondary school age or able to attend school. Here, they will learn English to help them integrate into Irish life.
For adults, there are few educational sponsorships available for those wishing to learn English. However, once you have gained Refugee Status, you are entitled to free English language and literacy classes. In addition, those with approved international protection in the State who are therefore able to live in Ireland indefinitely are able to apply for Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) courses under the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS).
If you have lived in Ireland for at least three years and have Leave to Remain or Refugee Status, you may be eligible to seek free third-level education. You may also qualify for maintenance grants, scholarships and Access Courses. For instance, the University of Sanctuary Scholarships is designed specifically to help refugees access university.
In the eyes of Irish immigration law, a country is deemed unsafe if it is one that does not respect of adhere to internationally accepted human rights legislations and protections. An ‘unsafe country’ is one in which people are frequently displaced and are susceptible to persecution.
For an example, the State might consider that you originate from an ‘unsafe’ country is your country is ensnared in war or civil unrest. But this isn’t the only condition: you may fear persecution as an individual on the basis of your class, faith, status, race, political opinion, sexual orientation or gender identity. Some countries that persecute LGBT people or those of Christian faith, as just one example, may be considered to originate from an ‘unsafe country’ and could therefore be deemed eligible for international protection in Ireland.
If you are an adult but are entering the State with any children to claim asylum, you must outline this in your asylum application.
Children are generally included within their parent/guardian’s application, meaning they won’t need to make a separate claim.
In certain circumstances, you may only have 10 days to launch your appeal. This applies if:
- You have no relevant reasons to seek international protection, nor can you meet the eligibility requirements
- You have made any “inconsistent, contradictory, improbable or insufficient” claims
- Your claim for asylum appears insincere and unconvincing
- You failed to attend meetings
- You failed to file for asylum as soon as reasonably possible
- That your country of origin is classed as a ‘safe country’