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Documents Required For Asylum In UK

Documentary evidence and relevant supporting information are crucial to establish the genuineness of an asylum claim in the UK. This article explains what are the must-have documents for asylum seekers in the country.

If you are a South African national seeking more information and/or legal advice about what documents you must submit to rightfully claim asylum in the UK, or what other evidence you may need to prove the genuineness of your claim, dial +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online today, to speak to our immigration experts.

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    Who Can Claim Asylum in the UK?

    In this article, we will be discussing at length the different documentary evidence you must arrange for to support your asylum claim in the UK. To understand the importance of certain types of evidence, it is essential to understand what situations may make you eligible to claim asylum in the UK.

    Foreign nationals fearing persecution in their countries of origin because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, sexual preference, or any other issue that puts them at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political circumstances there, may be eligible to claim asylum in the UK.

    In addition, citizens from countries at war or undergoing severe internal armed conflict may also claim asylum in the country.

    However, the UK government has taken an explicit stance to deter people from seeking asylum in the country, as is evident from its relevant policies issued lately. Seeking asylum in the UK can, therefore, prove to be a difficult process. More so because of the Home Office’s complex and strictly controlled approach towards processing asylum claims.

    The asylum seeking process in the UK can apparently be smoother for citizens whose countries are going through war or armed conflicts, given the current higher rate of asylum approval for Ukrainian, Afghan and Syrian asylum seekers compared to those from other countries.

    Since South Africa is not at war or undergoing severe armed conflicts currently, documentary evidence will play a crucial role if South African nationals are seeking asylum in the UK, due to their fear of persecution in the home country because of race, religion, political opinion, sexual preferences etc.

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    Documents You Must Provide for Asylum in the UK

    Overview

    The asylum seeking process in the UK starts with an initial interview where you will have to register your asylum claim in the country, which is known as ‘screening’.

    After screening, if the Home Office decides that your claim can be considered in the UK, you will have to appear for an asylum interview with your Home Office-appointed caseworker and submit your documentary evidence.

    We will discuss in this section the documentary evidence or any other information you will need to share with the authorities throughout the asylum seeking process.

    Evidence/Information Required During and After Your Screening Interview

    Although you will not be asked to submit any documents during your screening interview, the immigration officer will want to know preliminary details about yourself, why you are seeking asylum in the UK, and also take your biometrics information (i.e. your photo and fingerprints).

    During the screening, you should also mention if you or your dependent family members, who are also seeking asylum in the UK with you, have any medical conditions or are taking any medications.

    You can bring documentary evidence supporting your claim to the screening interview if you so wish, but it is not mandatory.

    The Home Office will review your case after the screening interview, to decide whether it can be considered in the UK. If they decide that your case cannot be considered in the UK, you will be sent to a safe third country, where your asylum case will be considered and where you will not have to fear persecution.

    Given that, it is advisable to bring supporting documents to your screening interview, if you are able to, since such formal evidence may help demonstrate the merit of your asylum claim in the UK from the very beginning of the asylum seeking process.

    Following your screening interview, the Home Office may also send you an asylum questionnaire, asking further questions about your background, such as:

    • Why you fear persecution if you go back to your home country
    • What happened to you in your home country, and when it happened
    • How you entered the UK
    • Which countries you passed through while coming to the UK etc.

    It is crucial to fill in this questionnaire diligently, and return the completed questionnaire to the Home Office within the stipulated deadline. It is advisable to ask for legal help at this stage if you have not already. Please call at +44 (0)333 305 9375 today to speak to one of our legal team members.

    Evidence/Information Required During Your Asylum Interview

    After reviewing your information provided during screening and in the questionnaire (if you have received one), if the Home Office decides that your case can be considered in the UK, they will appoint a caseworker to your asylum claim, who will have a substantive asylum interview with you.

    You will be required to submit your documentary evidence, and any other information as may be relevant, at this stage for yourself and your dependent family members (i.e. your spouse/civil partner and children below 18 years of age) who are applying with you.

    The supporting documents include (but are not limited to):

    • Your original passport and/or any other travel documents
    • Your original birth certificate
    • Your original identification documents, e.g. national identity cards, marriage certificates, school records etc.
    • Evidence of any medical or psychological issues
    • Any document that can establish the genuineness of your claim for asylum in the UK, for example:
      • Your own testimony
      • Witness statements
      • Any published article in the national or international media about your case, or about the general situation in your country
      • Medical reports and/or evidence of same-sex relationships if you are claiming asylum as a member of the LGBT community
      • Membership of any organisations related to your racial identity, religious belief, political opinion or gender identity, or evidence of any activism in support of your cause
      • Information regarding any adverse laws, policies and/or customs in your home country against your racial identity, religious belief or practice, political or social opinion, gender identity or sexual orientation etc.

    Moreover, if you are staying in the UK at the time of your application (i.e. you are not asking for asylum when you are entering the UK), you will need to submit your UK proof of address. Depending on your living situation, you may submit any of the following documents:

    • If you have your own accommodation in the country, please provide UK documents with your full name and residential address, for example:
      • Bank statements
      • Housing benefit book
      • Local council tax notices
      • Tenancy agreement
      • Utility bills etc.
    • If you are staying in the UK with a host, please provide:
      • A letter from your host confirming that you have their permission to stay at their residence, which must be dated within the last three months
      • Documents mentioning the full name and address of your host, such as council tax notices, tenancy agreement, utility bills etc.

    Foreign nationals whose countries are at war or undergoing armed conflicts, may have difficulty to arrange for the supporting documents. The Home Office usually shows some leniency when it comes to document requirements in such cases.

    Otherwise, the onus is entirely on the applicant to prove the veracity of their asylum claim in the UK and ensure that all information provided in support of their claim is accurate to the best of their knowledge.

    Any misinformation or false document will jeopardise your asylum claim in the UK, and you may be detained and subsequently deported to your country of origin.

    Please also note that the above list of documents is not exhaustive by any means. Your caseworker may ask you to submit further evidence. It is advisable that you provide as much information as possible that helps prove the genuineness of your claim, to increase your chances of receiving a positive decision.

    Do you need assistance with your asylum claim? Speak with our team today. Contact Us

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      Asylum Support Application

      If you need any support from the UK government while your asylum claim is being processed, such as accommodation in the country or monetary support to meet your and your dependents’ essential daily needs, you will have to submit the Asylum Support Application Form (ASF1), and provide supporting documents as mentioned thereof.

      In addition to the documents we have already discussed, you may have to submit the following documents if you are asking for UK government support:

      • Details of any monetary or material assets you have access to in the UK or abroad
      • Any social welfare you are receiving
      • Your employment history in the UK, if any
      • Documents proving individual circumstances such as pregnancy, victimhood of human trafficking or domestic violence, any physical or mental health issues, learning disabilities etc.

      Documents Required for Appealing an Asylum Decision

      If your asylum claim is refused following the asylum interview, you may get a chance to appeal the Home Office decision, or request for an administrative review.

      If you get a chance to appeal, you will have to prove to the First-tier Tribunal that your asylum claim should be granted, by submitting objective evidence such as general information about the situation in your home country from reliable sources, e.g. reports published by human rights organisations or reputable media companies. An expert statement on your home country or situation may also be considered as objective evidence.

      Alternatively, if your appeal rights have been exhausted in the UK but you have gathered new evidence to support your claim since then, you can make a fresh claim.

      A fresh claim can be based on new evidence for the original reason why you claimed asylum in the UK. Or you may consider raising a fresh asylum claim based on different reasons.

      For example, you may be a person fearing persecution in your home country for your political opinion, and have initially claimed asylum in the UK on that basis, which has been rejected since.

      However, you also belong to the LGBT community, which you did not feel comfortable disclosing while making your original asylum application. You may consider making a fresh claim now based on that fact if you have valid reasons to fear persecution in your home country because of your sexual orientation and gender identity.

      How Can IAS Help?

      Given the UK government’s explicit policies to deter people from seeking asylum in the country, it may be crucial to have legal representation while making an asylum application.

      Your lawyer will review all documentary evidence before you share the same with the Home Office, and advise you on the merits of the same. They can also help you avoid the common mistakes that lead to a Home Office refusal of asylum claims, and point out potential sources of new evidence to you depending on the case laws applicable to your circumstances.

      At IAS, we have a team of immigration lawyers with the required knowledge, expertise and experience to provide asylum advice and legal help. We also offer emergency support in case you have been detained. We can provide a same-day advice session if you have an immigration emergency.

      Dial +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online today, to speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                No. For all types of asylum claims in the UK, i.e. refugee or humanitarian protection status, you will need to submit documentary evidence supporting your asylum application.

                No. Legal representation and advice to asylum seekers in the UK is available only through solicitors or specialised agencies. You may be able to hire their services free of charge under the Legal Aid scheme.

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