Showing up at Heathrow as a refugee is no guarantee you will be staying in the UK. To legally enter the country without prior approval you must claim asylum, and it is not automatically granted.

Seeking asylum means that you cannot return to your country of origin because you fear persecution. This persecution must be based on one of the following:

  • Religion
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Political Opinion
  • Social, Cultural, or Religious Risk

Eligibility and Family

To be eligible you must have been denied protection by the authorities in your country of origin. You may be denied if you have ties to a different country that will accept you or are from an EU country.

If you happen to be traveling with your family, don’t despair. There are provisions for this circumstance as well. Your partner and children under the age of 18 can be included as dependents on your asylum application.

All applicants should be careful when completing the request forms. Reporting false information on an asylum request form is against the law and could lead to a sentence of two years in prison.

The Asylum Screening

Once you complete your application, you will have to register your claim at an asylum screening with an immigration officer. At this meeting, you will need to present documentation to support your case. The following will be accepted:

  • Passports or documents related to your travel
  • Registration certificates issued by police or local authorities
  • Any identification documents used in your home country such as birth certificates, marriage licenses or school records

After the Screening

At the conclusion of the meeting one of two things will happen depending on the circumstances of your case. You may be given an Application Registration Card (ARC) or a Standard Acknowledgement Letter (SAL) and told to report to a case worker. If you do not receive either of these documents you most likely will be detained until your immigration status can be resolved.

Requests for asylum are most successful when completed immediately upon entering the UK. By being forthright and honest your chances for success go up dramatically.