Temporary Refugee Visa
The Temporary Visa for refugees is for foreigners who entered are at the borders and about to enter in the UK, forced to exit their home country as their life was seriously threatened, and they want to be sheltered in the UK temporarily as lawful refugees until there is no fear for returning into their own country.
The application for this visa is made from within the UK. A meeting with an Immigration Officer, also called a screening, typically takes place after the application, and after an asylum interview with an immigration caseworker takes place before getting the visa decision.
A candidate who qualifies for a visa as a refugee is someone who meets the following conditions:
- Returning in their home country will be of life threatening, and if a stateless person the country where the candidate lived the most before coming to the UK;
- Returning in their home country will be of a serious threat for the candidate’s life as per candidate’s religion, race, nationality, political or social views, sexual orientation, gender, political situation of the country, or other serious life-threatening reasons;
- Protection from own country authorities could not be offered;
- Is younger than 18 – if does not have any depending adult family member in the UK;
- Can include in their application family members (partner, child younger than 18) if they are also living in the UK;
- Their partner can apply either as a dependent, or on their own;
- Can get asylum help through the phone (about accommodation, social services, English language courses, asylum support, legal representation, schools in the UK, life in the UK, going back home)
- Can apply to get asylum support (to get money – cash and a place to live);
- Is allowed to get legal representation (money to pay a lawyer);
- Can contact an immigration officer to get advices
Documents to apply for a temporary visa as a refugee are:
- A passport, or a travel document, identity card (if having them);
- Registration with the police – police registration certificate;
- Birth certificate;
- Marriage certificate;
- Education certificate;
- Medical documents – if suffering from any medical condition;
- Documents to confirm the home address in the UK
If living alone:
- Accommodation benefit document;
- Bank statement;
- Regular bill;
- Rental agreement;
- Tax notification
If living with someone else:
- A written consent letter from the person with which the candidate is living with – to show the approval to live together;
- Documents which display the person where the candidate is living and the address of the accommodation (tax notification, rental agreement, regular bill)
- Documents to confirm the home address in the UK;
- Other supporting documents that candidate could possibly take with them to the UK
Meeting with the Immigration Officer (Screening)
Screening is a meeting with an immigration officer, lasting for up to 4 hours, usually held once the candidate and any dependents submits the application for asylum, or in other cases at the UK borders. At this meeting, the candidate will explain in details the situation upon which they are looking for an asylum visa. Following the candidate will be taken photographs and fingerprints (biometric information).
If the candidate did not send before, they should take the aforementioned visa documents at the screening appointment. In addition, any dependent of the visa candidate must join them in this interview.
Before entering the building of the asylum screening, the candidate will have to undergo the complete security check where the body and bags will be scanned.
If the candidate wants to get an asylum screening at the borders of the UK, it should let know the border force officer who will usually register the application and organize the screening.
If the candidate has entered already into the UK, they must set an appointment for screening at the asylum screening department (located in Croydon, close to the capital city London), or call the appointment line (Telephone: 020 8196 4524). Homeless candidates are not required to make an appointment for screening, they should directly go to undergo asylum screening at the aforementioned department (full address: Lunar House, 40 Wellesley Road, Croydon CR9 2BY).
The asylum interview with the Immigration caseworker
This interview will be appointed immediately after the candidate and any dependents undergoes screening, where a letter will be sent to the candidate with the interview details.
At this stage, an immigration caseworker will be interviewing the candidate and any dependents that has already undergone screening.
In this interview the candidate is expected to offer information about reasons of maltreatment in their own country and why their life is in danger. The information offered by the candidate will be kept secret by other countries.
Documents to take in the interview are:
- A written supporting statement;
- Documents to confirm the candidate’s statement about being maltreated in their own country;
- Passport, travel document or any identification document that candidate could bring to the UK from their own country;
- Medical documents – if suffering from any medical condition
After this interview, till the visa decision is taken, the candidate will be given either an Application Registration Card (ARC), Standard Acknowledgment Letter (SAL), or will be imprisoned at an immigration removal center. While waiting for the decision the candidate must report regularly to the immigration reporting centers (as it will be required).
A candidate can be imprisoned at an immigration removal center for the time they are waiting for a decision on the application and can only be set free after getting the visa as a refugee (for which they applied), or after the refusal of the visa (they will be deported from the UK), or after taking a decision that another country is responsible to offer asylum instead of the UK (they will be deported from the UK to such country).
Children, elders, members of families with children, pregnant women, victims of trafficking, victims of torture, individuals with mental or physical disabilities will not usually be imprisoned in any case.
SAL must be changed into ARC within 2 months, as soon as a letter of notification to change will be sent – if not the Central Events Booking Unit (CEBU) must be informed Asylum support and ARC appointments customer contact center (Telephone: 0808 800 0630).
Following the visa procession, the candidate will be given any of the following decisions:
- A temporary visa (leave to remain) as a refugee to stay for 5 years (after that period the candidate can apply for settlement permission –ILR as a refugee) – If the candidate can meet asylum criteria;
- A temporary visa (leave to enter or remain) as someone under humanitarian protection (after that period they can apply for settlement permission – ILR under humanitarian protection) to stay for 5 – If the candidate can meet the criteria to get humanitarian protection;
- Discretionary leave for less than 4 years – if the candidate can meet other requirements, but was refused to be given any of the aforementioned visa – can apply for settlement permission at the end of the visa period;
- Exceptional leave to stay for less than 4 years – if the candidate can meet other requirements, but was refused to be given any of the aforementioned visa – can apply for settlement permission at the end of the visa period.
- No visa and must return home – if it is believed that there is no true presented reasons for the candidate to stay in the UK, and they must either exit voluntarily or will be forced to.
There is always the possibility to apply against the visa decision to the First-tier Tribunal (immigration and asylum chamber).
Also, there is a possibility to make another try to get an asylum visa from within the UK, if the application against the visa decision was also refused and the candidate has new supporting visa documents.
Read more on asylum policy.
Visa for Stateless Persons
For foreigners who want to stay lawfully in the UK as stateless persons, as they are living in the UK but are not nationals of any country and cannot live permanently in another country besides the UK.
Stateless candidates who cannot go back to the country they lived before because they feel seriously endangered they must apply for a visa as an asylum .
This visa is given for 2 years and 6 months with a possibility to be extended. A candidate can add dependents (partner, child younger than 18) who are living in the UK, in the same visa application, or from out of the UK (they apply separately as dependents, once the candidate is given a visa). The candidate for this visa can apply to get financial support and accommodation while waiting for the visa decision.
Documents needed to apply for a stateless visa are:
- Valid passport or travel document (i.e. visa);
- Letters to tell the current immigration situation (ASL.2150, ASL.2151 or ASL.2152);
- Marriage certificate;
- Birth certificate;
- Any other identity document;
- Any immigration document;
- Any documents to confirm the place where the candidate lived before (medical certificate, education records, other);
- Documents to confirm any application for citizenship in another country;
- Passport photos (2 copies);
- Offer biometric information (fingerprints and photographs)
There is a possibility to require an administrative review of a visa decision.
There is no money involved to apply for this visa.