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Asylum Screening Interview: A Comprehensive Guide

The screening interview is an important part of the asylum process. This is one of the two interviews asylum applicants will have to attend as part of their claim. The screening interview is the first interview and is how a claim is registered.

A screening interview is very important, and being prepared for this will give you a higher chance of having a successful claim. Seeking out the assistance of a legal representative will also help. Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we can help. Give us a call today at 0121 667 6530 for assistance with your screening interview asylum case.

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    The Purpose Of The Screening Interview

    The screening interview is the first interview that happens when you claim asylum.

    Those who claim asylum at the port where they enter the UK will typically be interviewed at this point by an immigration officer.

    However, if an applicant makes an asylum claim after entering the UK, they will typically have their screening interview at the Croydon Screening Unit instead.

    During this interview, the applicant will be asked some basic questions, including their name, nationality, date of birth, religion, ethnicity, and information regarding their family members.

    As well as this, they can expect to be asked to make a brief statement about why they have come to the UK and why they are claiming asylum.

    This will only be covered in a few brief questions. The screening interview only covers the basics, and there will be more thorough questions asked at the later substantive interview.

    A very important part of the screening interview will be regarding how the individual travelled to the UK. This is asked to aid in determining whether or not the UK will be responsible for handling and considering the individual’s claim for asylum, or if another country is better suited to this.

    The applicant will also be asked whether they have claimed asylum or have received refugee status in any other country. Additionally, they will be asked if they passed through any other countries on their way to the UK and, if so, why they did not apply for asylum in these locations.

    While a majority of people applying for asylum will not have time to meet with a lawyer before this interview, it is still ideal to speak to a lawyer before the interview if it is all possible. However, lawyers will typically not attend the screening interview.

    It is also worthwhile to be aware of those who have experienced domestic violence and sexual violence. These are sensitive topics that should be noted during the screening interview. However, these issues will not require discussion in depth at this point in the interview.

    Be sure to request an interpreter for the interview if one is required.

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    The Asylum Screening Interview: What To Expect

    An asylum claim is registered at the screening interview. This is when you meet with an immigration officer, who will ask you brief questions. The applicant for asylum will be required to answer the questions and will tell the immigration officer the basics of their case.

    At the screening, applicants should expect:

    • To have an interview that checks over who they are and where they are from.
    • To have their fingerprints taken (biometrics).
    • To have their photograph taken (biometrics).

    The applicant will be asked why they want asylum; in turn, the applicant can also bring written evidence and additional documents with them to support this claim should they wish.

    Applicants taking medication or who have dependents taking medication should inform the immigration officer of this as soon as possible.

    Those who have their screenings at the UK border will need to inform a UK Border Force officer of this. The application will then be registered, and they will be screened. Should the applicant need an interpreter, they should ask for one.

    Those who have their screenings when they are already in the UK will need to call up the asylum intake unit to do so.

    The asylum intake unit will then call you back and ask some simple questions regarding you and your family. At this point, the applicant should not expect to be asked why they are claiming asylum. However, this is the time to inform the Home Office if you need assistance with housing.

    This call can take up to half an hour.

    Those who have nowhere to live do not need to make an appointment for this interview. Instead, they should call up the asylum intake unit and find out what asylum registration location they should go to and what its opening hours are.

    Applicants should tell the asylum intake unit if they require any additional dependents on their claim to be present during any stage of registration. This can include welfare interviews with children who need to be accompanied or if an interpreter is required.

    Have an expert legal representative by your side during the screening interview. Contact us today for assistance. Contact Us

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      How To Prepare For Your Screening Interview


      Those applying for asylum will need to prepare any documents that are needed for themselves and their dependents. Applicants should prepare the following for their asylum interview:

      • Passports.
      • ID documents, such as ID cards, birth certificates, school records, and marriage certificates.
      • Travel documents.
      • Any additional documentation that may aid in the application

      Documents For Proving A UK Address

      Those who are already living in the UK when they file an asylum claim will need to prove their address in the country. The documents that need to be provided will depend on whether the applicant is living in their accommodation or if they are staying with someone else.

      Those who are living in their accommodations will have to provide documents that show their full name and address, such as:

      • Bank statements.
      • Council tax notice.
      • Housing benefit books.
      • Tenancy Agreements.
      • Household bills.

      Those who are living with someone else will need to provide different documents, including the following:

      • A recent letter, one that is no older than 3 months, from the person whom the applicant is staying with to confirm that the individual has this person’s permission to stay with them.
      • Documentation that shows the full name and address of the individual the applicant is staying with. This can include a household bill, a council tax notice, or a tenancy agreement.


      Those who travel from outside of the UK may have little time to prepare for their asylum interview, as they may be screened at the unit at the airport.

      Yet, since this interview is the first, the applicant will only be asked basic questions as required to register the claim.

      The applicant simply needs to ensure that they have the aforementioned documents on hand for the interview. This is what is required for this interview, and as long as the above documentation is provided, this should be enough.

      However, those who are concerned about their screening interview can call our legal team at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers at 0121 667 6530. Our team can help to support you in preparing for the interview and can answer any questions you have about the asylum process.

      During The Interview

      During the interview, applicants will be asked questions, have their photographs and fingerprints taken for a biometric residence permit (BRP), and will need to provide documents to support their claim.

      Those who are included as part of the claim, such as dependents, will need to join the primary applicant.

      The screening interview is a chance to inform the Home Office if the applicant needs accommodation or financial aid; this will lead to the applicant being registered as requiring asylum support.

      The most important thing an applicant can do for this interview is simply be honest. Applications can be rejected if inconsistent information is provided. If there are issues with the interpreter or if an applicant is unsure of certain information, such as dates, this needs to be stated so it is on record as a mistake if the information is not consistent.

      All answers that an applicant provides in a screening interview will also be made note of in the interview record, which will be shared with the Home Office and also sent to the applicant after the interview.

      Applicants should make sure that they follow up with the Home Office if they do not receive their notes, as having a written record of this is important.

      Tips For A Successful Screening Interview

      There are some simple ways in which an applicant can do their best to ensure a successful screening interview.

      The first is that the applicant should always be honest in forms and conversations. If any information is not believable or consistent, the application may be affected.

      Should you provide any incorrect information or be unsure of the specifics of any information, it is best to explain that this is the case and state why. Incorrect information can have a negative impact on your case which could result in rejection of asylum.

      Consider how you travel to the UK as well.  This is because, in 2021, the Home Office changed the law. Since this law changed, if the applicant travelled through another country to get to the UK and could have claimed asylum in this country, it is possible that the applicant could be refused asylum.

      Additionally, if the applicant does not know or is not sure of the answer to any questions, it is simply best to state this instead of making a guess.

      Similarly, if there are any questions that the applicant is not comfortable answering, it is possible to simply say this, and it will be better for the application to do so.

      Asylum screening interviews are a very important part of an asylum application. While it is not common for a legal representative to attend a screening interview, speaking to a solicitor beforehand can help prepare you for the process.

      A legal representative or solicitor can help an applicant prepare their documentation, understand the process, and provide other legal advice, such as knowledge of rights, in advance of the interview. Get the help of a legal representative at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers today at 0121 667 6530.

      Our immigration team can help you on all matters regarding Asylum in the UK. Reach out to us today. Contact Us

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        The Process After The Screening Interview

        After the screening interview, the applicant’s case will be categorised by the Home Office as one of the following:

        • General casework.
        • Non-suspensive appeal (Detained).
        • Unaccompanied minor.

        Should the Home Office consider the case inadmissible, this means that the case may not be considered in the UK. This is not the same as receiving a rejection; instead, the applicant will receive a letter to say they are considering an inadmissible state to your case.

        Those who have cases classified as general casework will be invited to a substantive interview (this can take up to two years due to delays). Those who need asylum support will also be provided with this immediately after the interview.

        For those who have cases classified as non-suspensive appeal, this means the interviewer does not consider you eligible for asylum. The applicant will be invited to a substantive interview, but the applicant will not be able to appeal if the claim is rejected. Applicants will be detained immediately after the screening interview.

        Unaccompanied minors under 18, separated from their parents and with no adult looking after them, will have a different process and will often have a substantive or welfare interview.

        What To Do If You Are Rejected Asylum

        If an asylum claim is rejected and you can appeal, then it is possible to seek legal aid and apply for an appeal within the time frame. Upon rejection, the applicant will receive a letter that will state if they can appeal or not.

        Those who can appeal will be able to appeal first to the first-tier tribunal. However, in some cases, where the first-tier tribunal rejects the application, it may be possible to appeal to the upper tribunal in some circumstances.

        At Birmingham Immigration Laywers, we offer representation in a tribunal and can provide assistance with appeals for denied asylum cases.

        It is best to have legal representation for an appeal, as this can be very complex.

        How Our Solicitors Can Help With Your Asylum

        Claiming asylum in the UK can be very complex, and therefore having a solicitor to help you with your case can be extremely useful. Here at Birmingham Immigration Lawyers, we can help your asylum case in many ways.

        We offer assistance in detained casework and can provide representation in appeals. We can also provide advice for those completing asylum applications, providing advice for the screening interview process.

        Those who may have issues with travel documentation and their biometric residence permit or how these documents work in the asylum process can also obtain assistance from our legal team.

        No matter if you need representation, advice, or help in completing an asylum case our team can help you.

        To get help with your asylum claim, call us today at 0121 667 6530, and we will help you get started.

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