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Duration Of Stay For Asylum Seekers In The UK

The complexities of UK asylum laws can be challenging to navigate, especially when understanding how long can asylum seekers stay in the UK. Asylum seekers are provided with clear insights into the duration of their stay before, during, and after claiming asylum and the support they can access.

Understanding the specific timelines and rights is crucial if you’re seeking asylum or require information on asylum support. Should you need personalised assistance or have specific queries, don’t hesitate to contact Total Law at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online.

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    Duration Of Stay For Asylum Seekers In The UK: Overview

    Before Claim

    Individuals are recognised as potential refugees before making an asylum claim in the UK. They have the right to claim asylum due to fear of persecution based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group, such as gender or sexual orientation.

    During this phase, their status and rights are not fully established, as they have not formally applied for asylum. However, asylum claims can be initiated upon arrival in the UK, acknowledging their need for international protection under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol​​​​.

    During Claim

    The asylum process in the UK involves several stages, starting with the asylum claim. Upon arrival, individuals must express their intention to seek asylum and formally apply for refugee status.

    This process, governed by the Home Office, evaluates whether the applicant meets the refugee criteria under international Law. The assessment includes a well-founded fear of persecution due to race, religion, nationality, or membership in a specific social group or political opinion​​.

    The applicant’s case is carefully reviewed during the claim process, including substantive asylum interview and background checks.

    The duration of this process can vary widely by six months, depending on the complexity of the case and the volume of applications being processed. This period is crucial as it determines the applicant’s eligibility for refugee status and the right to stay in the UK.

    Applicants are typically not allowed to work during this period and may rely on UK government support for basic needs​​.

    Recent changes under the 2022 Nationality and Borders Act have introduced new complexities to the asylum process.

    These changes may affect the duration and outcome of asylum claims, with the process continually evolving in response to geopolitical events and domestic policy shifts. The ongoing debate around the Illegal Migration Bill could further impact how asylum claims are processed in the UK​​.

    After Claim

    After the claim is processed, the outcomes for asylum seekers in the UK can vary. If granted asylum, the individual is recognised as a refugee and typically receives a five-year leave to remain in the country. This status allows them to work and access public funds and is not limited to the initial five-year period. They must, however, apply for further leave after this period​​.

    For those whose asylum claims are denied, options include appealing the decision or facing removal from the UK.

    The outcome of an asylum claim profoundly affects the individual’s ability to build a life in the UK, impacting their access to employment, education, and social integration. The process is shaped by ongoing legal and policy changes, making the future of asylum seekers contingent on the evolving landscape of the UK asylum system.

    Exceptional Circumstances and Indefinite Leave to Remain

    In exceptional circumstances, such as showing solid ties to the UK or facing continuous risk in their home country, asylum seekers may be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain (IRL).

    This status offers permanent residency, allowing individuals to live, work, and study in the UK without time restrictions.

    Applying for IRL typically involves demonstrating integration into UK society and a continued need for protection. The path to IRL is a significant step for asylum seekers, offering stability and a long-term future in the UK, distinct from the temporary nature of asylum​​.

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      How Long Can I Stay If My Asylum Has Been Denied?


      Suppose an application is rejected for asylum in the UK. In that case, the following process depends on several factors, including the reasons for rejection and the applicant’s willingness to appeal or accept the decision.

      The UK’s approach to handling denied asylum claims involves specific timelines and procedures, which may include options for appeal and eventual deportation if the claim remains unsuccessful.

      Process and Timeline After a Denied Claim

      Upon receiving an unfavourable decision on an asylum claim, applicants are typically informed of when they must leave the country.

      This period is often determined by the case’s specifics and the decision’s legal force. For example, decisions may become effective and unappealable within a few weeks of notification, setting a clear deadline for departure.

      In some cases, if the asylum claim is rejected outright, the applicant may be given a short period, such as 30 days, to leave the country.

      However, if the application is deemed “manifestly unfounded,” this period could be as short as one week​​. After rejection, the decision letter usually outlines the time frame and the applicant’s obligations.

      Deportation Procedures

      Deportation procedures commence if the asylum seeker does not voluntarily leave the UK within the specified period or if their appeal is unsuccessful. The UK’s immigration authorities handle the enforcement of deportation. Asylum seekers must know the timeline and cooperate with authorities to plan their return.

      In some instances, applicants can sign a declaration of acceptance following the rejection, indicating their agreement to leave the UK.

      This action usually prevents them from appealing the decision and expedites the departure process. If the asylum seeker fails to leave voluntarily within the specified period, the authorities might initiate enforced removal.

      Appeal Rights

      Asylum seekers have the right to appeal an unfavourable decision. The appeal process must be initiated within a short period following the rejection, and it is often advisable to seek legal counsel for this.

      The appeal is a crucial opportunity for the applicant to contest the decision and present additional information or clarification that could alter the outcome.

      During the asylum decision appeal process, the court re-examines the decision made by the Home Office. If the court finds that the conditions for granting asylum or other forms of protection apply, it may cancel the rejection notice and order the Home Office to give protection. If the appeal is unsuccessful, the rejection is upheld, and the individual remains obliged to leave the UK​​.

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        How Long Can I Stay In The UK If Asylum Is Granted?

        When asylum is granted in the UK, individuals can eventually apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), potentially extending their stay. The process for obtaining ILR and the conditions for extending the stay post-grant involve several steps and requirements.

        Steps for Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

        Eligibility for ILR

        Asylum seekers granted refugee status (as refugees or persons with humanitarian protection) may apply for ILR, also known as settlement. This status allows them to live, work, and study in the UK indefinitely and apply for benefits if eligible​​.

        Application Requirements

        To be eligible for ILR, asylum applicants must have been lawfully living in the UK for preferably five years. They should not have breached immigration laws or have a criminal record. Additionally, applicants must pass the Life in the UK test and demonstrate a B1 level of English proficiency​​.

        Family Members

        Dependents of the asylum applicant, including partners and children in the UK or outside, may also apply for ILR if they meet the eligibility criteria​​.

        Documentation and Application

        The application process involves:

        • A valid passport, other travel documents, and your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). All passports are held during your stay in the UK to demonstrate your immigration history.
        • Proof of English language ability, such as test results or certifications.
        • Your Life in the UK test pass certificate confirms knowledge of British Life and culture.
        • Evidence of continuous residence in the UK, including accommodation information.
        • Documents showing your financial situation, including evidence of income and employment status.
        • Detailed information about any periods of absence from the UK.
        • Asylum applicant’s full birth certificate for identity verification.
        • Details of a partner who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, if applicable.

        Applications are usually made through the Home Office. The processing time for ILR applications typically takes up to six months but may extend for more complex cases, such as those requiring additional document verification or an interview. Ensuring accurate and complete documentation is crucial for a smooth application process.

        Extension of Stay Post-Grant Explanation

        Duration of ILR

        Once granted, ILR allows individuals to stay in the UK without any time limit. However, it is essential to note that absences from the UK exceeding two years may lead to the loss of ILR status​​.

        Rights and Claim Benefits

        Individuals with ILR have almost the same rights as British citizens, except for voting in certain elections. They can work without restrictions, access public funds, and are eligible for NHS healthcare.

        Pathway to Citizenship

        After holding ILR for at least one year and meeting other residency requirements, individuals may apply for British citizenship. This step is optional but offers the full rights of a UK citizen, including the right to vote and hold a British passport.

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        Additional Relevant Information


        There have been significant developments in UK immigration policy, particularly concerning illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. These changes impact the benefits, living arrangements, and documentation requirements for asylum seekers in the UK.

        New Rules for Illegal Immigrants in the UK

        Recent changes to UK immigration law have focused on tightening regulations around illegal immigration status. The refugee council has introduced measures to discourage illegal entry and stay in the country, aiming to streamline the process of dealing with illegal immigrants.

        These measures include stricter border controls, enhanced monitoring of visa overstays, and more effective enforcement of deportation for those living illegally in the UK. The government’s approach reflects an effort to ensure that immigration is managed fairly to legal immigrants and aligns with national security and economic needs.

        Asylum Seekers UK Benefits

        Asylum seekers in the UK are entitled to certain benefits and support while their claims are processed. This support typically includes accommodation, a weekly allowance for essential living needs, and access to healthcare services. For those facing financial support hardship, additional support may be available. It’s important to note that the eligibility for these benefits depends on the asylum application status and the asylum seeker’s individual circumstances.

        Living Arrangements

        Asylum seekers in the UK are usually provided accommodation if they cannot financially support themselves. This accommodation is often in the form of shared housing, and the location is determined by the Home Office, meaning that asylum seekers do not have a choice in where they live. These accommodations are spread across the UK but are more commonly located in urban areas with easier access to support services and community networks.

        How Can Total Law Help?

        Total Law Immigration Solicitors offer expert legal assistance for various immigration issues, including Asylum Applications, Asylum Appeals, and Detained Casework. Their experienced team can guide you through complex processes like applying for Bail, managing Bail Renewals, and submitting Fresh Claims. They specialise in applications for Permission to Work, obtaining Travel Documents, resolving BRP issues, and assisting with Family Reunion Applications and Appeals. For those facing legal challenges, Total Law provides support in preparing for and handling Errors in Law Preparation and Hearings.

        If you require specialised legal assistance in any of these areas, don’t hesitate to contact Total Law Immigration Solicitors. Our experienced lawyers are ready to provide you with personalised support and guidance. For a consultation or to learn more about how we can assist with your case, contact us at +44 (0)333 305 9375 or message us online. Total Law is committed to helping you navigate the complexities of immigration law with confidence and ease.

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