In the United Kingdom, a person is considered a refugee when the government has approved the individual’s application for asylum based on the criteria stipulated in the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention. Such an individual will be issued refugee status documentation which allows them to stay in the UK as a refugee for five years.

An individual is considered a refugee if they’re unable to return to their home country or a safe third country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted as a result of their political affiliations, race, religion, or membership of a particular social group. Such an individual must prove to the UK government that they are unable to live safely in any part of their home country because their government is unable or unwilling to protect them.

How do you Apply
If you wish to stay in the UK as a refugee, you must begin your application as soon as you arrive in the country or as soon as you discover that it is unsafe to return to your home country. The chances of your application getting denied increases the longer you remain.

Documents Needed for a Refugee Status Application
You will need to provide the following documents at the point of your application if you wish to stay in the UK as a refugee:

Passports and travel documents
Police registration certificates
Identification documents (ID cards, birth certificates, marriage certificates & school records)

In addition to these, you should also bring along any other document that you feel might help your application.
If you already live in the UK by the time of your application, you will need to provide proof of your address. The documents to provide will depend on whether you’re living on your own or staying with someone else at the time of your application. If you live on your own, any document that shows your full name and address such as bank statement, tenancy agreement, utility bill, council tax notice, or housing benefit book will suffice.

Similarly, if you currently stay with someone, you will be required to provide any of these documents along with a written letter from the person you’re living with to confirm that you live with them.

How to Register a Refugee Claim?
If you wish to apply for asylum, you should present yourself for a screening with an immigration officer where you will inform them of your wish to stay in the UK as a refugee. If you’re just coming into the country, your screening will be at the UK border where you must announce your intention to claim refugee status as soon as you arrive.

At the screening, your photograph and fingerprints will be captured. There will also be an interview with the immigration officer to get information about your case. You should bring along evidence to support your claim along with your ID documents.

After this initial screening is completed, your case will be reviewed by the Home Office where it will be decided whether your refugee application will be considered or not. If your case will be considered, you will be given an Asylum Registration Card which is proof that your case is being reviewed. You will also be assigned a caseworker.

Your Asylum Interview
Your caseworker will schedule an asylum interview to discuss your refugee application. The purpose of the interview is to hear the details of your case and determine if your application should be approved or not. Thus, you will be required to explain how you were persecuted in your country and provide proof that it is unsafe for you to return. The interview can be very difficult and you will find the help of a UK asylum lawyer very valuable at this stage of your application.

During the interview, you must tell the caseworker everything about the case and present all the evidence of your persecution that can help your case. Your lawyer is allowed to attend this interview with you as your legal representative. While hiring a lawyer for your case is not compulsory, it’ll help your case quite significantly. The lawyer will help you prepare for your interview and ensure that you have all the documents required for a successful application.

You will be asked to leave the United Kingdom if your caseworker decides that there’s no reason for your application to be approved. You may appeal this decision with the help of your immigration lawyer.

If your refugee claim is approved, you will be given a “leave to remain” which allows you to live and work in the UK for the next 5 years. You may also be allowed to stay in the UK for humanitarian reasons or any other reason even if you don’t qualify for asylum. This will also allow you to stay in the country for 5 years. You can apply to extend your stay or settle permanently in the UK after the expiration of your refugee status.