If you have been forced to leave your country and are unable to return because you fear you will be persecuted for your race, religion, nationality or political opinion, you will be allowed to stay in the UK and integrate into life in Britain if the authorities find your claims to be credible. We have a large number of asylum caseworkers and lawyers who specialise in applying for asylum and who will be able to talk you through the process, advise you on what proof you will need to provide - if you are able to - and make the application for asylum on your behalf.
You may be in a position where you do not qualify for asylum but you need to stay in the UK so that your human rights are protected. In this instance one of our human rights lawyers will be able to examine your case and help you obtain the right to stay in the UK until you are able to return home.
If you have been detained and face deportation you can contact us 24 hours a day on our emergency hotline. A solicitor will be available to advise you if you have been arrested and detained by the authorities.
We have a diverse legal staff who can speak over 70 languages. We also have access to a large network of translators so we are able to accommodate almost all languages and dialects. We are therefore able to offer you legal advice and service in the language you are most comfortable with so that you are fully informed throughout the asylum seeking process.
You will increase the chances of your application being accepted if you apply for asylum at the earliest possible opportunity. Contact our immigration team now if you need to make an application immediately.
Here we will briefly outline all the stages of an application for asylum. For information about how to proceed with your case, contact one of our fee earners who will be able to advise what the next step you should take will be.
Duncan Lewis has a Category 1 Franchise from the Legal Aid Agency. This means that we can apply to the government to fund your case if you do not have the means to do so. If you are eligible for government funding you will not have to pay for any service we provide during your application for asylum.
The first part of the asylum application process is an interview with the immigration authorities at the Croydon detention centre. At this interview you will be given the opportunity to explain why you need asylum. Your identity documents, if you have them, will be kept by the authorities until the end of the application process, at which stage they will be returned to you.
If, at this stage, your case is considered straight-forward it may be categorised a Detained Fast Track (DFT) case. If your case is put in the DFT you will be detained while the decision to grant you asylum is considered.
If your case is not suitable for the DFT process it will be sent to an immigration decision making team in the area of the UK you are currently staying in. Before you leave the centre you will be given an Application Registration Card with your photo and details on it. This is so you have a piece of ID to prove you are an asylum seeker.
After your screening the immigration authorities will schedule a first meeting for you and your case owner. This will usually take place less than 1 week after your screening. Your case owner will be a representative from the UK Border Agency who will be responsible for your asylum application. At this meeting they will explain the application process to you and collect your identity documents from you if you were unable to provide them at the screening.
At the asylum interview your reasons for coming to the UK to seek asylum will be heard and examined in details. If you do not attend this interview your application for asylum will be refused. It will take place about 1 week after the first meeting.
The immigration authorities will try to make a decision regarding your status 1 month after you made the application for asylum. This can sometimes be delayed. Your representative from our firm will be able to follow up the progress of your application and inform you when a decision has been made.
If you do not meet the requirements to be granted asylum you may still be allowed to stay in the UK if you need to stay here to protect your human rights. We have a team of human rights lawyers who can present you case expertly on your behalf and ensure your application is dealt with correctly by the authorities.
If you are being brought to the UK for the purposes or result of a forced marriage the authorities will be able to provide you with the protection and support you need to either be safely returned home or settled into the UK if your human rights are at risk of being violated.
If you are suffering abuse we have lawyers trained to help you in emergency situations. If your safety is at risk we can act urgently to ensure you are protected from further harm.
If these issues affect you, you can find more information about how we can help in our Family Law section.
In many cases, you will be able to get public finding for your asylum or human rights matter. If you are eligible for funding, you will not have to pay us for our services.
It is possible that you will be held in a detention centre while the authorities process your application for asylum.
Immigration detainee human rights
If you are being detained awaiting deportation or a decision on your immigration status and you think your human rights have been infringed, we may be able to help you.
We have a number of lawyers who are experts in the field of human rights and deal specifically with cases where individuals are deprived of their liberty. For more information on this see our Prison Law section
The immigration authorities have a duty to grant you bail unless they can prove that there is a good reason for detaining you. The main reasons you may be detained are:
An experienced member of our immigration team will be able to present your interests to the immigration tribunal and potentially have you released on bail if you meet the requirements.
In some cases, the law prevents the authorities from being able to detain you while your application for asylum is being considered. It is against the law for you to be detained if:
If any you fall into any of these categories and have been detained by the immigration authorities you may be able to claim compensation from them. Members of our immigration team have extensive experience in unlawful detention cases and will ensure you are correctly treated by the UK Border Agency.
Delayed asylum decision
If the immigration authorities are taking a long time to decide whether or not you are eligible for asylum, you may be entitled to compensation for being unlawfully deprived of your liberty. You may fall into this category even if you have not been in detention for the time the decision is being made. If you have been released on bail with conditions attached to it, then your liberty has been affected.
For more information on this you can visit our Civil Liberties section.
We have a number of immigration lawyers who are particularly experienced in handling asylum applications for unaccompanied minors. Immigration regulations require all lawyers who represent unaccompanied minors to have been checked to enhanced CRB standard. Our specialists in this field have all undergone this process.
Our fee earners understand the complexities of these cases and will ensure the child understands the application process and how it will affect them. Should it be necessary, we will be also able to instruct an expert to carry out an age assessment if the child appears to be under 18 and has no identity papers to prove their age.
An asylum seeker will be considered an ‘unaccompanied minor’ if:
If the UK Border Agency has concerns about the child’s relationship with the responsible adult accompanying them, they will involve social services. More information on the service we can provide in this instance can be found in our Family Law section.
If your application for asylum is refused you have the right to appeal. This will give you the chance to provide new information that was not previously available. The deadline for submitting an appeal is very strict and in fast track cases, can be very soon after your application for asylum is refused. Our immigration team are experienced in acting quickly in these cases and can ensure you have the opportunity to appeal your immigration decision if you have grounds to do so.
If your immigration appeal has not been successful, your immigration lawyer will be able to tell you if you have grounds to apply for Judicial Review. You will be able to make this application if it appears that the authorities have not behaved according to the rules they must follow when dealing with your case.
More information on these matters can be found in our Public Law section.
If you have been granted asylum you will have the right to be rejoined with your family members if possible. This could either be with family members that are already in the UK, or family members outside the country. Our specialised team can help you assess what rights you and your family members have, and apply to bring your dependents here.
The Red Cross UK is a charity that does a lot of work helping refugees who have come to the UK. More information on how they may be able to help you once you have been granted asylum is available here:
Red Cross UK site