Immigration Corner | Applying for asylum in the UK
Dear Mr Bassie,
On what basis can someone apply for asylum in the United Kingdom (UK)? Any information would help, thanks in advance.
With respect to eligibility, in order to stay in the United Kingdom as a refugee, persons must be unable to live safely in any part of their own country because they fear persecution there. Please note that if persons are stateless, their own country will be considered the country that they usually reside in.
This persecution must be because of:
• Their race;
• Their religion;
• Their nationality;
• Their political opinion;
• Anything else that puts them at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in their country; for example, their gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
They must have failed to get protection from authorities in their own country.
Persons claims might not be considered if they:
• Are from a European Union (EU) country;
• Travelled to the United Kingdom through a ‘safe third country’;
• Have a connection to a safe third country where they could claim asylum.
Generally, a safe third country is one that:
• They are not a citizen of;
• They would not be harmed in;
• Would not send them on to another country where they would be harmed.
In the application, persons can include their partner and their children who are under 18 years old, as ‘dependents’, if they are with them in the United Kingdom.
Persons’ children who are under 18 years old and their partners can also make their own applications at the same time, but they will not be treated as their dependents.
DOCUMENTS TO BE PROVIDED
The applicants will need documents for themselves and their dependents (partner and children under 18 years) for their asylum screening. This is a meeting with an immigration officer where applicants tell them about their case.
Documents that should be taken to the screening (if they have them) include:
• Passports and travel documents;
• Police registration certificates;
• Identification documents; for example, identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records;
• Anything that applicants think will help their application.
DOCUMENTS TO PROVIDE UK ADDRESS
If the applicants are already in the United Kingdom, they and their dependents must bring documents that prove their United Kingdom address.
They will need different documents, depending on whether they are living in their own accommodation or staying with someone else.
LIVING IN THEIR OWN ACCOMMODATION
Persons will need to provide documents showing their full name and address. This could be a:
• Bank statement;
• Housing benefit book;
• Council tax notice;
• Tenancy agreement;
• Household bill.
STAYING WITH SOMEONE ELSE
Persons will need to provide:
• A recent letter (less than three months old) from the person they are staying with to confirm they have their permission to stay;
• Documents showing the full name and address of the person they are staying with, like a council tax notice, tenancy agreement or household bill.
John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, global vice-president of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org