Applying for Asylum Support | Bryson Intercultural (2023)

The following information relates to claiming asylum in Northern Ireland specifically. For comprehensive guidance on Claiming Asylum in the UK click on 'I am seeking asylum’ provided by Migrant Help.Available in 11 key languages.

Applying for asylum (international protection) should be based on a fear of returning to their country of origin. In accordance with the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, persons must have left their country and be unable to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution, based on reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group.

A claim for asylum is expected to be submitted at the ‘first available possibility’. The timeframe usually considered reasonable is within the first couple of days of arrival. Every effort should be made to make a claim immediately. Timing is important as a late claim may affect the credibility of the application and eligibility to receive support.

Arriving via airport or seaport, it may not always be possible to claim asylum because Immigration Officers may not be available. If a claim for asylum has not been made on arrival at a port, asylum seekers should go to the Home Office, Drumkeen House, 1 Drumkeen Complex, Upper Galwally, Belfast BT8 6TB, where an asylum claim can be recorded and initiated. Lodging an asylum claim may be done in person or via a legal representation.

Once an asylum seeker has lodged a claim with the Home Office, a Port Reference Number is generated. Should Emergency/Initial Accommodation and financial support be required, this will be arranged by the Home Office. Emergency Accommodation is arranged for adult applicants, if necessary, through the Mears Group. Some asylum seekers are self-supporting, relying on savings, or their family and friends, and do not require assistance with accommodation.

Assistance will then be given by Migrant Help to complete an application (ASF1) for NASS Support, which incorporates more permanent accommodation and a financial allowance that might be received weeks or months later.

Applications for Support may also be completed via free phone by calling Migrant Help’s helpline on 0808 8010 503.

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Guidance will be provided on the need for legal representation. Each applicant is means tested to ascertain Legal Aid entitlement. In most cases access to a solicitor is free of charge.

Unaccompanied children (under 18-years-old) are referred to the Social Services Gateway Team who look after them during the asylum process. After reaching the age of 18 years, and if still in the asylum system, they are referred back to our service for support.

Screening Interview

For comprehensive guidance on the Screening Interview in the UK click on‘Prior to Screening’ provided by Migrant Help. Available in 11 key languages.

The following information relates to theScreening Interview and Screening process in Northern Ireland specifically.

After lodging a claim for asylum in Northern Ireland the next stage of the asylum process is the Screening Interview. The main reason for ascreening interview is to establish the applicant’s identity, how they arrived in the UK and what particular needs they have. A further interview called a Substantive Interview (main asylum interview) will take place at a later date, which will involve in-depth questioning specific to the reasons international protection is being sought. An interpreter will be made available if one is needed.

A screening appointment letter will be provided by the Home Office with date and time of interview included. If the person has come to Bryson Intercultural to request asylum, the letter is usually given to them that same day. Under normal circumstances, the interview usually takes place within 2 weeks of requesting asylum.

If an application for asylum has been made by a main applicant with dependents (partner, or children under 18-years-old), everyone must attend the screening interview.

In Northern Ireland, theScreening Interview will take place at the Asylum Intake Unit in Drumkeen House, in South Belfast (1 Drumkeen Complex, Upper Galwally, Belfast, BT8 6TB). Upon arrival, applicants will be asked to wait in reception until their name is called for interview. The Screening Interview can last several hours.The Asylum Intake Unit has facilities for families and a separate area for children.

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The asylum screening process is split into several parts. These include:

  • Gathering biometric information (taking fingerprints and photographs), which will be stored on a card that will be given after the screening process. This is called an Application Registration Card (ARC) and will confirm that the applicant has claimed asylum and record the identity given to the Home Office;
  • Carrying out identity and security checks
  • Completing a screening interview:
    • basic questions asked about identity and details of family members;
    • confirmation on when to report to the Home Office (thisis a mandatory obligation).
    • discussion of travelto the UK;
    • any medical conditions, need for medication or medical attention;
    • brief explanation of why country of origin was fled;
    • questions relating to criminal convictions and tonational security;
    • preference to have a man or a woman to interview during the substantive interview.
  • Questions to determine:
    • requirement of medical attention;
    • if the person isa victim of torture;
    • if the person hasbeen trafficked and/or exploited;
    • if children have another parentin the UK;
    • if any children are doing final exams at school;
    • if the person ispregnant.

Once the Screening Interview is completed and the asylum application has been recorded a decision will be made about whether the applicant should continue on the asylum process or be detained.If they are detained the reason for this will be explained. ACase Worker/Case Owneris appointed, and free legal representation will be given. If the application for asylum is refused, they may be removedfrom the UK.If they qualify for an in-country appeal, this will take place while they are detained.

For other applicants who proceed at this stage, anApplications Registration Card(ARC) is generated and will later be issued. Most asylum seekers are expected to report to Drumkeen House on a regular basis. They will be given a Bail 201 document, which explains reporting conditions and details surrounding temporary admission into the UK. This is also recognised as a form of ID.

Travel expenses to Home Office for reporting

Asylum applicants who live threemiles or more from Drumkeen House and receive Home Office support may be eligible for travel bus tickets for reporting. If an application for travel compensation is successful, the Home Office will issue the travel tickets.

Substantive Interview

For comprehensive guidance on the Substantive Interview in the UK click on‘Prior to Substantive Interview’ provided by Migrant Help. Available in11 key languages.

The following information relates to the Substantive Interview in Northern Ireland specifically.

The purpose of the SubstantiveInterview (main asylum interview) is to further establish the reasons an asylum applicant has fled their country of origin and to consider whether they are in real danger and in need of international protection in the UK.

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Asylum applicants should receive a letter inviting them to attend the Substantive Interview, which will take place at the Asylum Intake Unit in Drumkeen House, in South Belfast. A copy of this letter should also be sent to their legal representative. This letter provides information about arrangements for the interview. Children should not normally be present during the Substantive Interview. A male orfemale interviewer and interpreter can be requested, if the asylum applicant feels this will make them more comfortable when talking about sensitive or difficult personal matters. Legal representatives should help with arranging this.

The Substantive Interview is an opportunity for the asylum applicant to provide more information to the Home Office on why protection is needed. It is important that as much detail as possible is given, and how the individual or family is affected. It is important to give information about occasions in which they have been threatened or harmed in the country they come from, and events since leaving, if applicable. They should also include what is believed mayhappen if they or their family are returned home. This will help the Home Office make an informed decision.

After the interview a Case Owner will make an initial decision. About a third of applicants are granted protection at this stage. An appeal may be possible.

Post-Decision:Positive Decision

For comprehensive guidance on a Positive Decision click on‘Post Decision - Positive’ provided by Migrant Help. Available in11 key languages.

The following information relates to the Post-Decision stage in Northern Ireland specifically.

If it is accepted that the asylum applicant has a well-founded fear of persecution or it would breach their human rights to expect them to return to their country of origin, they will be allowed to stay in the UK for a set period of time. Asylum applicants will be notified of this decision via letter from the Home Office. The legal representative will also be informed.

Family members who are dependent on the asylum claim will also be allowed to stay for the same duration when Leave has been granted. The time period is dependent on what basis permission to stay has been granted. Information on what the person can and cannot do is provided with the decision in the paperwork given by the Home Office.

Upon receiving a positive decision, a Biometric Residence Permit will be provided. This is similar to the ARC. It is a form of ID and is proof of right to stay, work and study in the UK. Bryson Care also provides ‘Move On’ advice in relation to housing, benefits and employment.

(Video) Defensive versus Affirmative Asylum Application

Individuals are entitled to apply for jobs and have access to mainstream state benefits at this stage.

Externprovide a support service for individuals and families who have been granted protection status andgiven Leave to Remain in the UK. They work to assistduring the transition period from being an asylum seeker to being a refugee. They support with the 28-day notice period, which is given to move out of NASS accommodation. They provide medium to long term specialist and practical support and advice to resettle in the community.

When the period of Leave to Remain is due to expire, a further application to the Home Office must be submitted 28 days prior to the Leaveperiod running out. Advice should be sought from a legal representative at this time.


For comprehensive guidance on Refusal Decision click on‘Post Decision - Refusal’ provided by Migrant Help. Available in11 key languages.

The following information relates to the Post-Decision stage in Northern Ireland specifically.

Following the SubstantiveInterview, the Home Office may decide to refuse the claim for asylum. A right to appeal against the Home Office decision may be available. If the Home Office refuses the claim it will provide a letter setting out the reasons. The letter will be written in English and the applicant should discuss the contents with their legal representative. The letter will confirm why the Home Office believes that they do not meet the grounds for Refugee or Humanitarian Protection.

If the applicant is fully refused asylum, with no dependants under 18 and become 'appeal rights exhausted' or has chosen to withdraw their asylum application, they will lose their entitlement to support 21 days after their claim has been fully determined. They will receive a letter from the Home Office and will be given 7 day notice to leave their property, if residing in Home Office accommodation.

Short-term support if an application was unsuccessful

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If support is terminated the applicant may be eligible for short-term support while preparing to return to their country or for other reasons. This is known as Section 4 supportbecause it is given under the terms of Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Section 4 support is for refused asylum seekers. An application for Section 4 support can be made via Bryson Intercultural/MigrantHelp or a legal representative. For further information on Section 4 support, provided by the Home Office,click here.


What gives you the best chance to get your application for asylum approved? ›

Strategies for Improving Chances of Qualifying for Asylum

You must show that this persecution was (or would be) inflicted on you because of one or more "protected grounds": your race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

What are the five criteria needed to qualify for asylum? ›

Eligibility for Asylum

You are unable or unwilling to return to your home country due to past persecution or have a well-founded fear of persecution if you return. The reason for persecution is related to one of five things: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

What is Section 96 asylum Support? ›

Section 96 support is an additional payment option for asylum seekers who experience 'exceptional' circumstances or need and are currently in receipt of Section 95 support.

What is Section 95 asylum Support? ›

The Home Office can provide housing and financial support to a person who has claimed asylum if they do not have accommodation and/ or cannot afford to meet their essential living needs.

Is it easy to win asylum? ›

Winning an asylum case for clients isn't a matter of luck. It is the result of careful preparation and detailed documentation that paints a clear picture of the persecution you have experienced in the past or your reasonable fear of being persecuted in the future.

How do I win an asylum interview? ›

8 Tips for a Successful Asylum Interview
  1. 1) Practice makes perfect. ...
  2. 2) Make travel arrangements. ...
  3. 3) Prepare physically and emotionally. ...
  4. 4) Wear appropriate clothes. ...
  5. 5) Correct mistakes. ...
  6. 6) Be honest, detailed, and consistent. ...
  7. 7) Don't be afraid to cry. ...
  8. 8) Utilize an attorney.
13 Mar 2016

Why do people get denied asylum? ›

We have seen asylum applications that were rejected merely because a person did not list their foreign address properly. We have also seen asylum applications that were rejected for not providing the required number of copies. Failing to provide sufficient evidence – It is never too late to obtain evidence.

What are the 2 types of asylum? ›

Forms of asylum

There are two paths to claim asylum in the U.S. The affirmative asylum process is for individuals who are not in removal proceedings and the defensive asylum process is for individuals who are in removal proceedings.

Under what circumstances does asylum refuse? ›

Asylum seekers who have committed crimes against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, or other serious non-political crimes, or whose actions are contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations, are excluded from international protection.

What is Section 98 Asylum Support? ›

Section 98 of the 1999 Act provides that the Secretary of State may provide or arrange for the provision of support for asylum seekers or dependants of asylum seekers who appear to the Secretary of State to be destitute or likely to become destitute pending the consideration of their support application under Section ...

What is Section 4 Asylum Support? ›

The Home Office can provide housing and financial support to a person who becomes appeal rights exhausted (ARE) when their asylum claim is unsuccessful if they do not have accommodation and/ or cannot afford to meet their essential living needs.

What is Section 22 asylum seeker permit? ›

The section 22 permit which is valid for a period of six monthslegalizes the asylum seeker stay in the Republic of South Africa temporarily pending a final decision on his application. The permit can be extended by an RRO for a further six months while the process of status determination is in progress.

How much is asylum support in the UK? ›

Asylum support is a fixed amount for both adults and children and is currently £40.85 each member of your family.

Who has the burden of proof in an asylum support appeal? ›

It is the applicant who has the burden of establishing the veracity of his/her claim and the accuracy of the facts on which the refugee claim is based.

How much money do asylum seekers get in UK? ›

Cash support

You'll get £40.85 for each person in your household. This will help you pay for things you need like food, clothing and toiletries. Your allowance will be loaded onto a debit card (ASPEN card) each week. You'll be able to use the card to get cash from a cash machine.

How long does asylum approval take? ›

How Long Does the Affirmative Asylum Process Take? A decision should be made on your asylum application within 180 days after the date you filed your application unless there are exceptional circumstances. For more information about the step-by-step asylum process, see the Affirmative Asylum Process page.

What is the burden of proof in asylum cases? ›

The burden of proof is on the applicant for asylum to establish that he or she is a refugee as defined in section 101(a)(42) of the Act. The testimony of the applicant, if credible, may be sufficient to sustain the burden of proof without corroboration.

What do they ask in an asylum interview? ›

During the interview, the AO will ask you questions about your identity, information you had provided in your asylum application, any applicable bars to your eligibility for asylum, and any documents you had submitted in support of your application.

How many asylum claims are rejected? ›

Decisions and refusals

The percentage of asylum applicants refused at initial decision reached its highest point at 88% in 2004. Since then, the refusal rate has been falling overall and was at 28%, its lowest point since 1990.

How long does it take to get asylum decision after interview 2022? ›

Generally, results take about two weeks after the asylum interview is conducted at the office of the institution, where you must submit your form along with all the necessary documentation for your case.

How do you get granted for asylum? ›

To apply for asylum affirmatively or defensively, file a Form I-589, Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal, within 1 year of your arrival to the United States.

Can you be deported after asylum denied? ›

If you are still denied asylum by federal court – or if you do not file an appeal when the immigration judge denies your case – you will probably be deported. It is almost impossible to do any of this successfully without an attorney with experience in asylum.

How often is asylum granted? ›

Approval rates varied by immigration court from about 10 percent to 80 percent. USCIS approved 11,729 affirmative asylum applications in FY 2016, representing slightly more than 10 percent out of the 115,399 affirmative asylum applications filed with the agency.

Do asylum seekers stay forever? ›

Thankfully, an asylum seeker eventually receives a more permanent place to stay. But they have no choice about where they end up – even if they do know someone in a certain part of the country.

How long does the asylum interview take? ›

The interview will generally last about 1 hour, although the time may vary depending on the case. You may also bring witnesses to testify on your behalf. For more information about your asylum interview, see our Web page on Preparing for Your Asylum Interview.

What is the difference between asylum and refugee? ›

An asylee is a person who meets the definition of refugee and is already present in the United States or is seeking admission at a port of entry.

What happens after you win asylum? ›

Asylees are admitted to lawful permanent resident status as of the date 1 year before the approval of their Form I-485. Upon the approval of their Form I-485, refugees are admitted to lawful permanent residence as of the date of their arrival in the United States.

What happens if you fail your asylum interview? ›

What if I Fail to Appear for My Affirmative Asylum Interview? If USCIS does not receive a written explanation for your failure to appear within 45 days after the date of the scheduled interview, and you do not have legal status in the United States, your case will be referred to the immigration court.

Why do asylum cases take so long? ›

Why does USCIS take so long to process asylum cases? USCIS can take many years to process some asylum cases. One of the reasons for this is the way USCIS processes cases. USCIS does not process asylum cases in the order in which they came in, starting with the oldest cases first.

Is asking for asylum a right? ›

Seeking asylum is a human right protected under our laws.

The right to asylum was enshrined in 1948's Universal Declaration of Human Rights and then again in the Refugee Convention of 1951 and its 1967 Protocol.

What is the difference between section 95 and section 98? ›

This will be offered if the asylum seeker is destitute, or is likely to become destitute, while the Section 95 application is being considered. Section 98 support is short term, in initial accommodation, and covering essential living needs.

What are the new asylum seekers Rules 2022 UK? ›

The 2022 Act and Part 11 of the Immigration Rules contains the legal framework within which a person granted refugee status in the UK will be provided with permission to stay. A recipient of refugee status will either be granted refugee permission to stay or temporary refugee permission to stay.

How long can Failed asylum seekers stay in the UK? ›

Negative asylum claim decision

The asylum applicant may choose to exercise any right of appeal, but if there is no further right of appeal or the appeal is unsuccessful, they must leave the accommodation within 21 days of being told the outcome of the appeal (but see Section 4 support below).

What percentage of UK asylum claims are granted? ›

There were 48,540 asylum applications (relating to 56,495 people) in the UK in 2021. This is 63% more than the previous year and the highest number for almost two decades.
Table 1: Individuals applying for asylum as a proportion of the total, by age and sex in 2021.
2 more rows
3 Mar 2022

Do asylum seekers get free NHS? ›

Groups that are exempt from charge include: refugees (people who have been granted asylum, humanitarian protection or temporary protection under the immigration rules) and their dependants.

How much is the asylum seeker allowance? ›

[2] In 2021, protection applicants receive a weekly allowance of €38.80 per adult and €29.80 per child.

How do I write an asylum letter? ›

explain in detailed and include the reasons for the harm.

Explain what you think will happen to you if you return to your country. Write specific facts and not general statements, but don't write things that you are not sure about. It is difficult to change facts once you turn in your asylum application to Immigration.

How long does asylum work permit last? ›

If you've already received an initial asylum work permit, you can simply apply to renew your work permit before the expiration date. As of May 2022, renewals last for 540 days, or about a year and a half. Before this, renewals only lasted 180 days or half a year.

How do I apply for new asylum in 2022? ›

To apply for asylum, you need an appointment with an RRO.

Since 4 May 2022, RRO has been open for appointments which can be made through email; here are the steps you need to follow: Please send an email to They will send you an application form to complete.

Is it hard to get asylum in UK? ›

76% The UK asylum system is strictly controlled and complex. It is very difficult for people seeking asylum to provide the evidence required to be granted protection. Despite these challenges, the majority of asylum claims are successful.

How long do asylum seekers get money? ›

ORR-funded cash and medical benefits are limited to a maximum of 12 months from the date the immigration court or DHS granted you asylum. Most ORR employment services and other services aimed at economic self- sufficiency will be available to you for up to five years from the date you were granted asylum.

How long does asylum decision take UK? ›

How long will it take to make a decision after my asylum claim is made? We will aim to make a decision on your claim within 6 months but this is not always possible and there may sometimes be delays. We will however seek to prioritise claims based on individual circumstances.

What happens if my asylum appeal is denied? ›

If your case was denied at the Asylum Office, there is an automatic appeal when the case is “referred” to the Immigration Court (EOIR). If your case is then denied by the Immigration Judge, you can appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), an administrative court within the U.S. Department of Justice.

What are the five protected grounds for asylum? ›

This module provides you with an understanding of the requirements needed to establish that persecution or feared persecution is “on account of” one or more of the five protected grounds in the refugee definition: race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.

How do I win an immigration appeal? ›

If you want to win an immigration appeal, following these tips: Prepare a robust appellant's bundle. The documentation you provide should prove that you adhered to all the necessary personal immigration rules or that your circumstances are compassionate and compelling to warrant a visa. Get a robust legal ...

Why would asylum be denied UK? ›

There are various reasons why this can happen. For example, the Home Office may consider that you are not destitute or that you do not meet one of the eligibility criteria. In most cases a refused asylum seeker will have the right to appeal against the decision to refuse Section 4 support.

Do asylum seekers get free electricity? ›

Support provided under section 95 of the 1999 Act is usually provided in the form of free, furnished accommodation (with no utility bills or Council Tax to pay) and a weekly cash allowance to cover the asylum seeker's other essential living needs. Free access to healthcare and schooling is also provided.

What qualifies you for asylum in UK? ›

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.

Why would asylum be denied? ›

We have seen asylum applications that were rejected merely because a person did not list their foreign address properly. We have also seen asylum applications that were rejected for not providing the required number of copies. Failing to provide sufficient evidence – It is never too late to obtain evidence.

What are the chances of winning an immigration case? ›

This view is far from the truth. Even if you are not a permanent resident, do not fall into the trap of assuming defeat is automatic. Yes, the reality is once served a Notice To Appear at immigration court, the odds of winning are far less than 50-50. But that does not mean you cannot be one of the fortunate ones.

What percentage of asylum applications are denied? ›

The success rate of asylum applications at initial decision increased sharply from 2018 to 2021. Taking into account appeals, 59% of asylum applications submitted in 2017 to 2019 inclusive are estimated to have received a grant of asylum-related protection by May 2021 – up from 44% at initial decision.

How long is asylum granted for? ›

The length of the asylum process varies, but it typically takes between 6 months and several years. The length of asylum process may vary depending on whether the asylum seeker filed affirmatively or defensively and on the particular facts of his or her asylum claim.

Does immigration watch you? ›

If you're an immigrant, green card holder, or naturalized citizen—or if you have interacted with someone matching that description—the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is monitoring you.

What to say if immigration stops you? ›

Say, “I am exercising my right to remain silent.” Do not answer questions or provide any information about your immigration status or national origin. ICE can use anything you say against you. Stay calm.

How much money can asylum seekers receive in asylum support? ›

You'll get £40.85 for each person in your household. This will help you pay for things you need like food, clothing and toiletries. Your allowance will be loaded onto a debit card (ASPEN card) each week. You'll be able to use the card to get cash from a cash machine.

Which European country takes the most asylum seekers? ›

In 2021, Germany received over a quarter (30%) of asylum applications in the EU, followed by: France (19.1%) Spain (10.4%)
Number of applications per EU country (2021)
Country ▲Number of applications in 2021
France120,685 120,685 120,685
Germany190,545 190,545 190,545
Greece28,355 28,355 28,355
Hungary40 40 40
23 more rows
30 Aug 2022


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