Young people seeking asylum

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If you are not a British citizen your social worker will work with you around your immigration status. The main concern of everyone who is involved in your asylum claim is your welfare as an unaccompanied minor.

A Guide to the Asylum Claim Process

This is a rough guide put together by young people seeking asylum and those who work with them. The actual process will depend on your individual circumstances.

  1. Claim asylum when you arrive
    Asylum can be claimed at the port you entered (e.g. Heathrow Airport, Dover) or at the Home Office.
  2. Age assessment
    If you do not have the documents to prove you are under 18 (e.g. passport, birth certificate), two social workers may meet you to assess your age.
  3. Getting a social worker
    If you are assessed as under 18, then you will come under the care of the Local Authority and be given a social worker.
  4. Booking an appointment with the Home Office
    Your social worker will book a first meeting with the Home Office at the Asylum Screening Unit to start your application process. You cannot go to the Asylum Screening Unit without an appointment. Your social worker will also complete a form about you in advance of your appointment.
  5. First Meeting
    Who will be there?
    An appropriate adult (foster carer, key worker or social worker) will go with you.

    You may bring a legal representative such as a solicitor. This is strongly recommended. Ask your social worker to help you find a solicitor or you can contact Refugee Council who will be able to help you find one.

    An interpreter can be there if you need one and you can ask for a male or female interpreter.

    What will happen?
    The Home Office will take your fingerprints, photograph and any other identification information required. The meeting may take up to 4 hours.
  6. After your screening
    Your case will be given to a caseworker and you will be sent an asylum registration card (ARC) to your UK address. If the Home Office can’t send you an ARC immediately, they’ll send you an appointment letter telling you what to do next.
  7. Asylum Interview
    An appropriate adult should go with you again. This interview is your only chance to tell the Home Office why you fear return to your country. For more information about this interview go to
  8. Decision
    Your application will usually be decided within 6 months. It may take longer if it’s complicated.

    If you are under 18 and have been waiting 6 months or more for the decision it is important that you ask your social worker to speak to your solicitor about your case.

    You’ll be given or refused permission to stay in one of the following ways:

  • Permission to stay as a refugee
  • Permission to stay for humanitarian reasons
  • You may get permission to stay for other reasons if you don’t qualify for permission to stay as a refugee or for humanitarian reasons
  • No reason to stay.

For more information about ‘Decisions’ and how to make an appeal if your application is refused go to

If you are granted Discretionary Leave to Remain until you are 17 and a half

Contact your solicitor to put in a claim for further leave to remain at least 6 weeks before your discretionary leave expires.

If you are refused all application and become “Appeals Rights Exhausted”

This is a very difficult time but there is information available to give you guidance on what choices are available to you and what to do if you are at the end of your immigration process. Speak to your social worker as soon as possible.

Important to remember

  • There are no guarantees that you will be given leave to remain
  • You are strongly advised to find a solicitor to help you through the application process
  • If you are under 18 and have been waiting 6 months or more for the decision it is important that you ask your social worker to speak to your solicitor about your case. You will be treated as an adult once you turn 18.
  • If you are involved in any criminal activity this will affect your immigration application. If you are granted asylum and become involved in any criminal activity this will affect any plan you have to naturalise as British.