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Political Asylum In The UK

Asylum in the UK can be a lifesaver for many who are fearful of prosecution in their home countries. While not all asylum seekers will be eligible for Political Asylum in the UK, those who are can find safety in the country and obtain refugee status.

For more information or assistance in applying for Political Asylum in the UK, IAS can help. Contact us today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get started on your application and for information regarding what to expect from the process.

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    Political Asylum In The UK: An Overview

    Those who are considered asylum seekers in the UK and wish to stay in the country as refugees will need to apply for asylum to do so. These individuals also need to be eligible to do so. Eligibility for political asylum requires the applicant to have left their country and be unable to go back due to the fear of persecution..

    Applicants who wish to apply for Political Asylum will need to apply upon arrival in the UK or as soon as they conclude that it is unsafe for them to return to their home country.

    There are many steps that applicants for Political Asylum need to be aware of, such as the screening interview process and the substantive interview. The decision on asylum claims in the UK can be quite long, as well.

    Applicants for asylum need to be aware of the process and how to apply for asylum, as a lack of awareness can lead to complications that could result in the time taken for an asylum claim to receive a decision being longer than necessary.

    In the UK, 75% of the initial decisions on asylum claims during 2022 were successful, granting refugee status or another form of protection. While the UK system for asylum claims is complex, there is a high success rate.

    Applicants should be mindful that the Home Office can take months or years to decide on an asylum claim, and there has been a backlog in cases at the Home Office. This was most evident in June 2022, when over 117,000 individuals were waiting for a decision.

    The typical number of asylum claims varies per year; in 2002, it reached a peak of 84,132, but this dropped in 2010 to 17,916 and rose again to 81,130 in 2022. In 2023, 75,340 asylum claims were related to 93,296 people.

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    Is Political Asylum Different Than Other Asylum Routes?

    Political asylum is defined as the right for an individual to live in a foreign country given by the government of said country to those who have had to leave their own country for political reasons. This could be due to war, political opinion, race, gender identity, and so forth.

    Asylum is the protection offered by a country to a non-citizen of this territory. The UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) states that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy protection via asylum. These reasons are generally due to a lack of safety in their home country and a fear of persecution.

    This means that political asylum is not necessarily different from other asylum routes. Political asylum is simply specifying that the need for asylum is political. Asylum seekers will leave their country to seek protection from human rights violations or persecution. This, in itself, is a political matter.

    What Is The Eligibility Criteria For UK Political Asylum Seekers?

    To be able to stay in the UK as a refugee, applicants need to make an asylum claim in the UK. Those eligible for asylum are those who are unable to live in any part of their own country due to fear of persecution.

    The persecution must be due to:

    • Race.
    • Religion.
    • Nationality.
    • Political options.
    • Other factors that may put an individual at risk due to the cultural, social, religious, or political situation in the individual’s home country. This can include gender identity, biological gender, or sexual orientation.

    It is also essential that those applying for asylum have failed to obtain protection from the authorities in their home country.

    It is possible that an applicant’s claim may not be considered in certain circumstances; this can include:

    • Where the applicant is from an EU country.
    • Where the applicant travelled to the UK via a ‘ safe third country’.
    • Where the applicant has a connection to a safe third country where they would be eligible for asylum.

    Safe third countries are considered to be countries that fit the following description:

    • The country is not one of which the applicant is a citizen.
    • The applicant would not be harmed in this country.
    • The country would not send the applicant to a country where they would be harmed.

    Political Asylum In The UK: How To Claim It?


    Applicants for an asylum claim in the UK will need to apply upon arrival in the UK or as soon as they consider that it may be unsafe for them to return to their home country. This is critical, as it is more likely that an application will be refused if the applicant waits to apply.

    When the applicant applies for asylum, they will have a meeting with an immigration officer in the UK as part of the asylum screening process.

    After this, the Home Office will decide whether or not the applicant’s claim can be considered in the UK. If the claim can be considered in the UK, the applicant will have an asylum interview with a caseworker. This interview is known as a substantive interview.

    After the substantive interview, the applicant must simply wait for a decision to be made on their application. This can take a while. However, applicants will be informed of what they need to do while they await their asylum claim decision.

    Applicants will need to inform the Home Office if their situation changes and most applicants will not be allowed to work during this time; however, some may be able to if they are eligible for a job on the Occupations Shortage List noted by the UK Government.

    Documents Required

    When an individual is claiming asylum in the UK, they must provide certain documents during their application. Those who are applying will need to present documents for themselves and any dependents who may be included in the application for the screening interview.

    Documents that applicants should bring to their screening interview include the following:

    • Passports or travel documents.
    • ID documents such as identity cards, marriage certificates, birth certificates, or school records.
    • Any additional documents that may aid your application.

    Note that the Home Office is aware that applicants may not have all of the above; it is advisable to bring all of the above to a screening; however, if the applicant does not have any of these, it is generally understood. Especially in circumstances where individuals have had to flee their country quickly and have been unable to bring them to the UK.

    Those who are already in the UK will need to bring documents that prove their UK address. These individuals will need to provide specific documentation depending on whether they live in their accommodation or if they are staying with another person.

    Individuals living in their own accommodation will need to provide documents that show the individual’s full address and full name. This can include documents such as:

    • Bank statements.
    • Council tax notices.
    • Housing benefit books.
    • Tenancy agreements.
    • Household bills.

    Those who are staying with another person will need to provide documentation such as the following:

    • A recent letter that is no older than 3 months old from the person that the applicant is staying with confirms that they have permission to stay.
    • Documents that show the full address and full name of the person that the applicant is staying with include forms such as a household bill, council tax notice, or tenancy agreement.

    Your application for political asylum in the UK can be aided by our immigration specialists. We're here to support you as well. Contact Us

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      What To Expect After The Asylum Claim Has Been Submitted?

      Once the applicant has submitted all forms of evidence regarding their claim and proven their identity at the screening interview, and once they have attended the substantive interview, if required, they will have to wait on a decision from the Home Office.

      The application will be decided upon as soon as the Home Office is able. However, some applications may take longer, especially if the situation is complicated. The asylum system will attempt to get applications processed as soon as possible, but some circumstances may draw out the process. This can include the following:

      • The supporting documents require verification.
      • The applicant is required to attend more interviews.
      • The circumstances of the individual seeking asylum need to be checked. This could be due to a criminal conviction or if the individual is being prosecuted currently.

      Successful applicants will usually receive either refugee status or humanitarian protection. Those who have claimed asylum and obtained refugee status are recognised as refugees as defined in the Refugee Convention.

      Alternatively, those who seek asylum because they are unable to return to their home country but are not eligible for refugee status will be able to obtain humanitarian protection.

      Those who are successful applicants and are granted refugee status or are granted humanitarian protection will be able to stay in the UK for a minimum of five years.

      After five years in the UK, individuals can then apply to settle in the UK. This is very important, as settling in the UK enables these individuals to remain in the UK after these five years.

      Claiming Political Asylum And Your Family & Dependants

      Applicants for Political Asylum in the UK can include their dependent family members in their applications. The UK asylum system enables applicants to include their partner and any children under 18 years of age in their application if they are with them in the UK.

      If the applicant has a successful application, any dependents that are named on their application can stay for the same duration as the primary applicant. However, dependents will not obtain refugee status unless they make their claim.

      Additionally, families can apply for family reunions in the UK.

      Family reunion visas are allowed for the partners and children of those in the UK as refugees or with humanitarian protection. Your partner and child can join you in the UK if the following are true:

      • You were a family unit before you were forced to leave your home country.
      • You have protection status in the UK, either as a refugee or with humanitarian protection.

      However, as per safe and legal routes in the UK, the partner or children of those in the UK who are claiming asylum will not be able to apply for reunion in the following circumstances:

      • If you are under 18 years of age.
      • If you have yet to receive a decision on your asylum claim.

      Our Total Law Immigration Solicitors Can Help You Claim Asylum

      Starting an asylum application can be difficult and complex. There is a strict progression for asylum applications in the UK, and there are specific requirements individuals must meet as part of the asylum process. This is why applicants should seek asylum support from an immigration solicitor who is well-versed in immigration, international law, and the legal process of asylum claims.

      Here at IAS, we can help you obtain refugee status, provide humanitarian protection, and aid unaccompanied children who need asylum in the UK. Our legal team is experienced in helping resettled refugees, assisting with a challenging asylum case, and immigration detention. Just give us a call today at +44 (0)333 305 9375 to get help with your asylum claim.

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