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Can You Apply For Asylum On Tourist Visa In UK

Given the government has made it harder to claim asylum in the UK as part of the Nationality and Borders Act 2022, people are increasingly looking at other routes to claim asylum in the UK like the tourist visa. However, there are still some eligibility requirements and documents you will need to pay close attention to.

If you have any questions about asylum, visas, or citizenship issues then we can help here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers. You only need to call 0121 667 6530 or contact us online and one of our dedicated lawyers can assist you.

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    Can You Apply For Asylum On Tourist Visa In UK?

    Under international law, anybody can claim asylum in the UK. This is a process where a person has fled their country and is asking another country for their protection and to be recognised as a refugee. This would give them permission to stay and use key public services such as healthcare, state benefits, and education.

    The key thing to note is that, for your asylum claim to be heard, you need to fear persecution in your home country and this must be stopping you from returning. This persecution can be based on any of the following factors, but it must be provable:

    • Race or ethnicity
    • Nationality
    • Religious beliefs
    • Political beliefs
    • Other factors that put you at risk because of the political setup of your country, such as gender identity or sexual orientation

    Whilst it is possible to claim asylum in the UK, it is by no means easy. The Nationality and Borders Act 2022 made it much harder to arrive in the UK legally and claim asylum, which is part of the reason for the increase in small boat crossings over the past year. Rather than risking their life in this way, though, some people choose to obtain a visa to travel to the UK through legal means and then they claim asylum once they are established in the country.

    For example, you can visit the UK with a 6-month tourist visa, otherwise known as a ‘visitor visa’ and this can be for tourism, business, and studying.

    You will need to show that:

    • You plan to leave the UK at the end of your visit (if you then claim asylum then you will not be expected to leave until you have a decision on your application)
    • You can support yourself and any dependents or have funding in place from another person who is willing to support you
    • You can pay for your return journey either through your own means or from somebody else who is supporting you
    • You are not planning on living in the UK through various extended periods

    That being said, there are some restrictions on what you can do because under a visitor visa you are unable to:

    • Claim benefits
    • Live in the UK through various short-term visits over an extended period
    • Marry or have a civil partnership
    • Undertake paid or unpaid work for a UK company or self-employed individual

    The visitor visa costs £115 and the earliest you can apply is 3 months before your arrival date. Another option is the Standard Visitor visa if you are planning on staying for longer periods. The benefit of a tourist visa is its flexibility.

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      Requirements & Eligibility For Claiming Asylum In The UK

      As difficult as applying for asylum can be, making sure you have all the correct documents will strengthen your application and reduce the time it takes for a decision to be made.

      Because it can take a long time to obtain some documents, we recommend that you collate the following records ahead of time as you will need them at your asylum screening:

      • Any passports or travel documents
      • Medical records if they are going to assist with your claim
      • Identity cards
      • Birth and marriage certificates
      • School records
      • Bank statement
      • Housing benefit book
      • Household bill
      • Tenancy agreement
      • Council tax notice

      You will not need all of these documents but it is best to gather as many of them as possible. If you are living with somebody else then you will need some of the above documents on their behalf, along with a letter stating that you have their permission to stay. This letter must be no longer than 3 months old

      There are also some cases in which the Home Office will not consider your claim, and this is to ensure that asylum is given to those who need it most. These are as follows:

      • If you are a citizen of an EU country
      • If you have travelled from a ‘safe third country’ where you could have already claimed asylum
      • If you have a reasonable connection to a ‘safe third country’ where you would not be harmed and where you could have sought protection

      When the government uses the term ‘safe third country’ it refers to any country where you are not a citizen, where you would not be harmed, and where you would not be sent to another country where you might be harmed.

      How To Claim Asylum

      If you wish to claim asylum then you need to tell the border force when you arrive at a port of entry who will put you in contact with an immigration officer.

      However, if you are applying for asylum and you currently have a student visa then it is likely you have spent some time in the UK already. In this instance, you will need to get in contact with the asylum intake unit at 0300 123 4193.

      From this point, the process is the same regardless of whether you have been in the UK for a while or if you have just arrived because the next step is asylum screening.

      By screening you, the Home Office will determine whether your claim should be considered. To do this, you will be asked various questions about who you are, where you have travelled from, and why you are looking to claim asylum.

      You will also have your fingerprints and photographs taken on a provisional basis. Be as open as possible about your situation to increase the chances of being allowed to have an interview.

      While you wait for an interview slot you will be given an Application Record Card which has your basic information on it. This is also used to show if you have permission to work and to organise and collect any medication you require. The Home Office will ask if you need help with housing in the meantime.

      Sometimes the government will decide that your asylum claim will not be heard and that you will need to leave the country.

      If the government is happy with proceeding, however, you will be given an interview slot and you and your dependents must attend on time. The interview is where you can explain how you were persecuted in your home country and why you are afraid to return.

      It would be a mistake to withhold any information at your interview or to lack detail with your explanations because this could hurt your application when a decision is made.

      If you are uncertain about your interview and would like some guidance then we can help you get ready here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers.

      How Long Will I Need To Wait For A Decision On My Asylum Claim?

      Once you have had your asylum interview you will need to wait for a decision to be made. Sometimes your caseworker will ask for further interviews or supplementary documents if they feel this is needed.

      Unfortunately, there is a long wait for decisions on asylum claims. This is because there is a large backlog of claims that has built up over the years. As of the end of 2022, there were 132,000 applications involving 161,000 people and the government is currently processing in the region of 23,000 applications per year. Estimates for waiting times are around one year but you could be waiting longer.

      Factors that impact decision times include the verification of documents, processing paperwork for dependents, additional interviews, and if any additional factors need to be considered like medical or criminal records.

      What Happens After Asylum Is Granted?

      If asylum is granted then this means you have ‘refugee status’ in the UK for 5 years. During this time you will be able to access public services such as free state education, the NHS, and state benefits. You will also have permission to work or set up a business if you wish.

      After these five years, you can apply for indeterminate leave to remain in the UK. However, it is worth noting that any asylum support you are claiming will end 28 days after this decision. You and any dependents can then apply for a refugee integration loan to help you settle into your new life here in the UK.

      If you are granted asylum then any dependents that are part of your application are also permitted to stay with you in the UK. However, they will need to complete their own asylum claim if they also want full refugee status.

      Another route is to apply to settle in the UK as a family once the claimant’s five years have passed.

      It is also possible that you are granted permission to stay in the UK for other reasons if you do not qualify as a refugee.

      This is decided on a case-by-case status so it largely depends on your specific circumstances. If you want to know more about permission to stay for other reasons, it is best to contact our team of lawyers here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers.

      What Happens If Asylum Is Denied?

      If your asylum claim is denied then you will need to leave the UK. To do this, the government may choose to place you in an immigration removal centre while they prepare for your journey. If they do this they will give you prior notice via mail.

      If your asylum is denied and you want to appeal the decision, you will have a short window to do so. After an appeal has been made, you will not be made to leave the country until a decision has been made. If this appeal is unsuccessful then the only way you can claim asylum again is through a fresh claim with new evidence, often called ‘further submissions’.

      Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help Your Claim For Asylum

      There are many factors you will need to consider when you apply for asylum. There are the documents, the eligibility requirements, and the various steps like the screening and the interview. Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we understand that this can get overwhelming and we want to help you make the strongest claim possible.

      We can help with visa problems, asylum claims and appeals, permission to work, and citizenship issues. If you have any questions about our services or if you would like to speak to one of our expert immigration lawyers then you only need to call 0121 667 6530 or get in touch with us online.

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                Frequently Asked Questions

                There are two different options to claim asylum. Either you tell the border force when you arrive or you call the asylum unit on 0300 123 4193.

                In the asylum interview, you will be asked why you fear persecution in your home country and what protection you sought before deciding to claim asylum in the UK, as well as all relevant personal information.

                It is more difficult to claim asylum in the UK than it was before the Nationality and Borders Act 2022 but if you meet the eligibility requirements, have all the necessary documents, and explain yourself well at your interview then you have a good chance of a positive outcome.