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How Long Can Asylum Seekers Stay In The UK?

It is critical to remember that someone who has obtained asylum is a refugee; however, before obtaining refugee status, the rules around staying in the UK can be confusing. As an asylum seeker in the UK, it is important to know your rights, including how long you can stay in the UK and how different situations may impact your right to stay.

It is always advisable to speak to an expert immigration lawyer when considering your immigration status as an asylum seeker. At Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we have an expert team to help you understand your rights in the UK. Call us today at 0121 667 6530 or contact us online to get started.

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    How Long Can Asylum Seekers Stay In The UK?

    How long an asylum seeker can stay in the UK depends on their application stage.

    Before the individual makes a claim, they are recognised as being a potential refugee, which gives them the right to claim asylum due to a fear of persecution in their home country.

    At this stage of the application process, there are no rights fully established, as there is no formal application for asylum.

    Yet, those who are applying can do so upon their arrival in the UK. This is also highly advised, as it will prevent any complications.

    Once a claim has been made, the applicant is then in the waiting stage of their claim. This stage may include additional application requirements, such as assessments and interviews. While this is ongoing, the applicant is allowed to stay in the UK for the duration.

    During the duration of the claims process, the applicant will need to prove that they meet the criteria for refugee status as dictated by international law.

    How long this process will take can vary a great deal; some applicants will go through the claim process in a few months, and for others, it can take over a year. There is also currently a backlog of claims with the Home Office, causing some applications to take even longer than usual.

    During the period of claim processing, the applicant is allowed to stay in the UK as an asylum seeker; however, they will not be allowed to work at this time, and they will likely be relying on the UK government for support with basic needs such as accommodation, food, and water.

    This can be a very long process, but it is critical as it will determine the eligibility of the applicant to be considered for refugee status.

    As a refugee, an individual will be able to stay in the UK for 5 years, work, have accommodation, apply for benefits, and make use of the NHS. As a refugee, the applicant will not be limited to the initial five-year period of leave in the country. Yet, should they wish to stay in the country for longer, they will need to apply to do so.

    The amount of time an asylum seeker can stay in the UK is dependent on the processing time of their asylum claim and whether or not they are granted refugee status or humanitarian protection status in the UK.

    The length of time applicants can stay in the UK if they are failed asylum seekers will also depend on several factors.

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


    Those who have a denied asylum claim in the UK will have options such as appealing this choice or removal from the country. An individual’s opportunity to build a life in the UK is dependent on claiming asylum and the outcome.

    If an application is denied for asylum seekers in the UK, the process and time allowed in the UK will depend on several different factors. These factors include the asylum seekers’ willingness to appeal the decision and the reasoning for the rejection.

    There are some very specific timelines and procedures for the system the UK uses that can include occasional options for applicants to appeal. Additionally, these systems can include deadlines for some individuals regarding eventual deportation if the claim is still not successful.

    What Happens After A Denied Asylum Claim?

    Once an asylum claim is denied, the person seeking asylum will be informed when they will need to leave the country. There will also be information provided about whether the applicant can appeal the decision.

    The period the individual will have to leave the country will be determined by the specifics of the case and the legal force of the decision.

    This means that some decisions may be unappealable and effective in just a few weeks from the time the applicant has been notified. In this instance, the applicant should have a clear deadline by which they need to leave the UK.

    There may be times when a person’s asylum claim is outright rejected, and the UK asylum system may provide the applicant with a short timeframe to leave the country. This could be only 30 days before they need to leave the country.

    There may also be other instances where the Home Office finds an asylum application to be ‘manifestly unfounded’. In cases such as these, the period that the applicant has to leave the country could be as short as a week.

    Once rejected, the applicant will receive a decision letter that will typically outline the time frame that the applicant has to appeal, leave the country, and any obligations of the applicant.


    If the asylum seeker rejected does not leave the UK voluntarily in the time specified or after an unsuccessful appeal, then further action is taken. The UK immigration authorities will enforce deportation in this case. This is why asylum seekers must be aware of the timeline given to them and be cooperative with the authorities to plan their return.

    It is also possible, in some instances of a rejected asylum claim, for the applicants to sign a declaration of acceptance. This will indicate that they agree to leave the UK. This does prevent the applicant from appealing and will expedite their departure.

    Should an asylum seeker fail to leave voluntarily within the timeframe specified, then the authorities may begin a forced removal.


    It is possible to appeal a rejected asylum application. Where asylum claims are rejected, an appeal must be initiated very quickly after the rejection. It is also advised that the applicant seek legal aid for this.

    Appeals are opportunities to contest the original decision and provide clarification and alternative information that could impact the outcome.

    During the process of making asylum appeals, the court will re-examine the decision that the UK Home Office made. If the conditions for granting refugee status, asylum, or other protections apply, it could cancel the notice of rejection and order the UK asylum system to provide protection.

    However, should the appeal not be successful, then the rejection will be upheld and the applicant will need to leave. The amount of time an appeal will take can vary; however, until the appeal has a result, the applicant can remain in the UK.

    Our immigration team can assist with all matters regarding asylum in the UK. Contact Us

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      Asylum Granted: Applying For ILR After 5 Years Of Refugee Status


      Where asylum in the UK is granted, applicants can apply to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain, which could extend their stay in the UK.

      However, the process is complex and does require several steps to do so. ILR will extend the amount of time a successful asylum seeker can stay in the UK, and for some, it can also be a route to citizenship in the UK as well.

      However, asylum seekers who seek to apply for ILR must be aware that they must first be eligible to apply. Only asylum seekers who are granted protective status in the UK, such as those with humanitarian protection or refugee status, will be able to apply.

      Indefinite Leave to Remain enables these individuals to work, live, and study in the UK indefinitely, and it also enables them to apply for benefits if they are eligible to do so.

      Those who have claimed asylum and seek ILR must also have been living lawfully in the UK for five years. Additionally, they cannot have been in breach of any immigration laws or have any kind of criminal record.

      To successfully obtain ILR, the applicant will also need to pass the Life in the UK test and be able to demonstrate that they have a minimum English language proficiency of B1 level.

      ILR & Extending Your Stay

      Once asylum seekers obtain protected status in the UK, they can stay in the UK, and after five years, this will enable them to apply for ILR. Those who obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain will be able to stay in the UK with no time limit.

      That being said, it is critical to note that if an individual is absent from the UK for any longer than 2 years, they could risk losing their ILR status.

      Those who wish to use indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a path to UK citizenship can do so after having indefinite leave to remain for a minimum of one year.

      Citizenship is optional, but there are many benefits to this, including the right to vote, having a UK passport, and having all the rights of a UK citizen.

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      Asylum Seeker Immigration Law 2024 Updates

      Those applying for Asylum in the UK need to be aware of the changes to UK immigration law coming into place. These laws are constantly being updated, so be sure to check the website before applying.

      Many of the updated laws are in reference to how asylum seekers enter the country and reduce the likelihood of illegal immigration into the country.

      How Our Immigration Lawyers Can Help You

      Getting asylum support in the UK for those who seek asylum in the UK is difficult, and knowing your rights as an unaccompanied asylum seeker is a challenge. The asylum process is complex, with substantive asylum interview processes concerning many who may be seeking refuge due to fear of prosecution due to political opinion.

      The complexity of these processes and knowledge around the right to stay in the UK means it is advantageous for applicants to seek out legal advice from our team at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers.

      Our team can help an asylum applicant with many aspects of the process until they are granted asylum.

      We can assist with the following processes:

      • Asylum applications and appeals
      • Detainee casework
      • Bail and bail renewals
      • Fresh claims
      • Permission to work applications
      • Travel documents
      • Issues with BRP
      • Family reunion applications and appeals
      • Applications for permission to appeal
      • And errors in law preparations and hearings

      If you need help in any of these areas or just have questions about your asylum application, give us a call today at 0121 667 6530 or get in touch online, and one of our team members will help.

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