How to claim asylum
If you want to apply for asylum and you are already in the UK, you should book an appointment to attend our asylum screening unit in Croydon (south of London). If you want any of your dependants to be part of your application, you must bring them with you.
The asylum screening unit operates an appointment system and will also accept applicants on a walk-in-service. If you choose to use the walk in service, you should be aware that depending on your personal circumstances, there will be no guarantee that you will be seen. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you book an appointment.
The Asylum screening unit page explains how to book an appointment and lists the unit's facilities and opening hours.
For more information about applying for asylum (also known as 'registering an asylum application'), see 'Policy and law' on the right side of this page.
Previous claim for asylum
If you have previously made a claim for asylum you should not make an appointment to attend the asylum screening unit. If you are unsure what happened to your application you should contact your case owner.
If you know that your claim for asylum was refused and you have appeal rights exhausted you should follow the process for further submissions.
If you were granted leave, either granted asylum or refused asylum and granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave you should follow the process given in the leave to remain section.
When you go to the asylum screening unit, you must bring with you:
- your passport, and the passport(s) of your spouse and any dependants in the UK;
- police registration certificates, if you or any members of your family have them;
- other identification documents which will help us to establish your identity and nationality - these may include identity cards, birth certificates, marriage certificates, school certificates and membership cards;
- any other documents that will support your application; and
- documentary evidence of your accommodation - this may include recent bank statements, a building society book, a Council Tax demand, a housing benefit book, a tenancy agreement, and/or a phone/electricity/gas bill showing your full name and address in the UK. If you are living in someone else's house, you must bring a letter (no more than 3 months old) from the householder permitting you to stay, plus documentary evidence (see above) showing the householder's full name and address.
All of the documents listed above must be original documents. Photocopies are not acceptable.
You must also provide 4 unseparated passport-style photographs of you, and 4 unseparated passport-style photographs of each dependant included in your application for asylum. The photographs must be:
- passport size (approximately 4cm x 5cm);
- recently taken (within the last few months);
- of your full face; and
- with a light background.
You must clearly print the name and date of birth of the person in each photograph on the reverse of that photograph.
If you do not provide these photographs when you make your application at the asylum screening unit, we may take longer to produce the documentation confirming your immigration status (if you are given permission to stay in the UK).
Applications by children
Children in the care of social services
Children who are in the care of social services need to book an appointment by calling the appointment booking line on 0208 196 4524. These children will not be seen at the asylum screening unit without an appointment.
The social worker will be requested to return a completed pre-appointment form about the child. This will allow us to process the form before you attend your appointment, so that the screening interview at the unit will be shorter.
Children not in the care of social services
If you are not in the care of social services you should use the asylum screening unit's walk-in service.
The adult you are living with and is taking responsibility for your care must attend the asylum screening unit with you. If you are living with several relatives the closest blood relative who is willing to take responsibility for you must attend. They must present proof of address and official photographic identification upon arrival.
Children without an adult who is legally responsible for them should present themselves to the police, social services or walk into the asylum screening unit.
Our guidance on processing asylum applications from children, which you can find under 'Policy and law' on the right side of this page, contains more information.
What will happen at the asylum screening unit?
When you make your application at the asylum screening unit, you will start the asylum process.
The first stage in the process is a brief interview at the unit. This is known as 'screening'.
For those unable to attend the asylum screening unit and for further information about register an asylum claim, please see the asylum instruction: Registering an asylum application in the United Kingdom. Having insufficient funds or inconvenience is not an acceptable reason for a person not being able to make a claim in person.