Screening Interview

ⓘ Information card

This is the first interview that takes place after you have claimed asylum.

If you have claimed asylum at the port where you entered the UK, you will usually be interviewed there by an immigration officer. If you claim asylum some time after entering the UK, you will usually be interviewed at the Screening Unit in Croydon.

In the screening interview, you will be asked some basic questions, such as your name, your date of birth, your nationality, your ethnicity, your religion, and about your family members.

You will be asked to say briefly why you have come to the UK – why you are claiming asylum. This should only be a brief couple of questions, as you will be asked about this in much more detail in your (later) substantive interview.

An important part of your screening interview will be about your journey to the UK. One of the reasons you are asked questions about this is to determine whether the UK is responsible for considering your asylum claim. You will be asked whether you have claimed asylum or been granted Refugee Status in any other country; and if you passed through other countries, why you did not apply for asylum there.

Most people do not have the chance to meet with a lawyer before their screening interview (though it is good to try and speak to a lawyer before the interview if possible). Your lawyer will not attend the screening interview with you.

Some people may have experienced sexual violence, domestic violence or torture. If this is the case, it is usually a good idea to say so in your screening interview, although you will not be required to discuss such issues in depth at this stage.

You will be provided with an interpreter for this interview if you need one.

Read more in the Screening Interview section of the Right to Remain Toolkit.

Now read the problem cards below. Discuss with a friend (or have a think if you’re doing this on your own) what you might be able to do in this situation. When you have finished discussing/thinking, click to reveal a suggested action.

⚠️ Problem card

The Home Office take your fingerprints and say that you travelled through Italy on your way to the UK and that you should have claimed asylum there. They say they are going to transfer your asylum claim under the “Dublin Regulations” and you will be sent back to Italy to have your asylum claim decided there.


⚠️ Problem card

The Home Office say that your asylum claim is “clearly unfounded” even though you have not yet had the big (substantive) asylum interview where you will go into detail about your case. They may be saying this because you are from a country they say is safe, or if you have been in the UK a long time before claiming asylum. You are sent to a detention centre after the end of the screening interview.


⚠️ Problem card

You have experienced sexual violence, domestic violence or torture and do not wish to discuss this with someone you don’t know at your screening interview.


⚠️ Problem card

You identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or intersex (LGBTQI) and have experienced persecution based on this, but are uncomfortable telling anyone.