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If you are at risk of persecution in your country, and are unable to return because of this risk, you may be recognised as a refugee and be given permission to remain in the UK. If this applies to you, you should claim asylum.

Your right to protection is based on the 1951 Refugee Convention which is also part of UK law. The UK authorities must protect you from ‘refoulement’: your forcible return to a country where you are at risk of persecution.

What are the main eligibility requirements for asylum or refugee protection?

In order to be recognised as a refugee you must:

  • Be outside your country of origin, or if you are stateless, the country in which you usually live;
  • Have a well-founded fear of persecution on the basis of your race, religion, nationality, political opinion or your membership of a particular social group that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country (for example, your gender, gender identity, sexual orientation);
  • Be unable or unwilling to get protection from the authorities in your country;
    Have no part of your country where you are able to live in safety that you can reasonably be expected to go.

Before assessing whether the criteria above are met, the UK authorities will consider whether they are responsible for examining your claim. They may find that they are not responsible if:

  • There is another country which you can go to which has already recognised you as a refugee or given you protection against ‘refoulement’;
  • There is another safe country which you can go to and ask for protection, where it would be reasonable for you to go to due to a previous connection there. For example if you have previously claimed asylum in another EU country, or have family members living there.

What else do I need to know about asylum or refugee protection?

If you do not qualify as a refugee, but there is a real risk that you would be killed or suffer serious harm if you had to go back to your country, you may be granted humanitarian protection.

If you are recognised as a refugee or granted humanitarian protection, you will be issued with a residence permit valid for five years, which is renewable. If your partner or children under the age of 18 applied at the same time as you as your dependants, they will also be issued with a residence permit. After five years, this residence permit may be renewed, or alternatively you can apply for settlement.

You will have the same rights to work, education, healthcare and benefits as a settled person. In addition, you can apply for a travel document, which you are able to use if you want to travel abroad.

How our immigration barristers can help

Our immigration barristers have extensive experience of preparing and submitting high quality asylum applications and providing expert legal representation at appeals against decisions of the Home Office to refuse to grant asylum. We have assisted individuals from throughout the world to seek and obtain international protection in the UK.

Our barristers are able to guide you through the complex procedures to claim asylum, advise you on evidence, conduct country-specific research and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of your claim. We understand that this can be a difficult and stressful experience. We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our clients’ needs.

We can also assist with

  • Instructing country background experts

    Depending on the nature of your claim to international protection, it may be of assistance to instruct an expert to provide independent, country-specific evidence on the risks you are likely to face in your country of origin or other relevant aspects of your claim. Our immigration barristers can help you to find an appropriate expert, provide them with detailed instructions and liaise with them to assist them to prepare an expert report.

  • Fresh claims for asylum

    If your asylum or humanitarian protection claim has been refused or withdrawn, or any appeal has been refused, our immigration barristers may be able to assist you to make further submissions to the Home Office.

    The Home Office will first consider whether these amount to a fresh claim. Further submissions will amount to a fresh claim where they are significantly different from material that has already been provided because:

    • There is new material, that has not already been considered; and
    • Taken together with the material that has been previously considered, there is a realistic prospect of success.
  • Applications for family reunion

    If you are recognised as a refugee or granted humanitarian protection, your family members outside the UK may apply to join you. The family members that may be eligible are: your spouse, unmarried partner and children under the age of 18.

  • Asylum Appeals and Judicial reviews

    Our immigration barristers are experts in preparing and presenting appeals before the First-tier Tribunal, Upper Tribunal and higher courts.

    If your claim for asylum or humanitarian protection has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise you on potential grounds of appeal, assist with lodging an appeal, help you to gather relevant evidence for your appeal. draft legal arguments in support of your appeal and represent you at your immigration appeal hearing.

    Our barristers can also advise on and assist with bringing judicial review proceedings to challenge a Home Office decision to refuse to give you an in-country right of appeal. We can also advise on judicial reviews of decisions to remove you to a third country, or to refuse to consider your fresh claim.


To arrange an initial consultation meeting with one of our immigration barristers, contact our Refugee Protection team on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form.

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