Changes to the asylum and immigration process due to Covid-19

Legal Updates

Because of the Coronavirus public health crisis, there have been some temporary changes to the asylum and immigration process.

This page was last updated on 28 May (Visas section).

If you have a question about how Covid-19 might affect your particular situation, you can try contacting the Home Office Coronavirus helpline (although we expect it will be very busy).

Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm). Calls are free of charge.

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

Contents of this page

Asylum information

See also sections below that apply to all asylum and immigration applicants: appeals, reporting, detention.

Visas

Appeals

Reporting to the Home Office

Detention and Removals

Asylum

Asylum screening interview

The Home Office are still registering asylum claims (though some people have reported difficulties getting their claims registered).

If people do not claim asylum at the port of entry, screening interviews usually take place at the Asylum Intake Unit in Croydon (south London).

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Home Office are now also doing some asylum screening interviews in Glasgow, Belfast (which was already a screening interview location if you arrived to the UK in Northern Ireland), Liverpool, Leeds, Solihull and Cardiff.

If you are in Belfast, the Home Office recommend contacting Migrant Help to arrange an appointment with Bryson Asylum Services.

In all other locations, the Home Office recommend first phoning the Asylum Intake Unit on 0300 123 4193 and you will be advised where you should attend your screening interview.

As before the crisis, it is possible to register your asylum claim without phoning for an appointment first, if you are street homeless (you have nowhere to stay and would otherwise have to sleep on the streets) or in some other circumstances of vulnerability. However, the Home Office strongly recommends calling the Asylum Intake Unit appointment line on 0300 123 4193 first to find out where you should travel to.

Substantive (big) asylum interview

The Home Office have paused face-to-face substantive asylum interviews.

The Home Office says:

“Many of our applicants travel a long way to have a substantive asylum interview, which can be a lengthy interaction taking several hours. On that basis, we have decided to pause face to face substantive asylum interviews for now.  That means we will be cancelling any that are scheduled from tomorrow 19th March and will not be scheduling any new face to face interviews for now. “

The Home Office is looking at alternative ways of conducting the interviews (they already conduct some substantive interviews by video link/skype). We will update this page when we have more detail about this.

Further submissions (fresh claims)

Previously, most people who wanted to submit further evidence to be considered as a fresh claim (read more in the Right to Remain Toolkit here) had to go and do this in person in Liverpool.

This requirement has been stopped for now – there are no face-to-face appointments in Liverpool taking place.

You can submit further evidence by post or email.

The Home Office prefer evidence to be sent by email but this will not be possible for everyone.

Remember if you are sending it yourself (without the help of a lawyer), you will need to explain who you are, and what the evidence is, and how it amounts to a fresh claim – do not just send the evidence without explanation.

The details for sending the evidence are:

Postal address:

Further Submissions Unit
The Capital Building
Old Hall Street
Liverpool
L3 9PP

E-mail address:

CSUEC@homeoffice.gov.uk

You do not need to contact the Further Submissions Unit by telephone first – you can just email your evidence, along with a completed further submissions form. For an explanation of the questions the form asks, see the Right to Remain Toolkit section on fresh claims.

The maximum size of attachment (the documents you are sending) to the email is 20MB, you can send multiple emails if you will go over this amount. It would be useful to connect the multiple emails by saying in the email, for example “this is email 1 of 5”; “this is email 2 of 5.”

If you want to know about the progress of a fresh claim/further submissions you have already submitted, you can email the Home Office at csupostteam@homeoffice.gov.uk

Asylum support

On 27 March, the Home Office announced that for the next three months, people will not be asked to leave their asylum accommodation (as they normally would if they had received a positive decision – for example, refugee status; or if their claim had been refused by the Home Office and appeal). This situation will be reviewed at the end of June.

If people have received “Notice to Quit” letters, they should contact Migrant Help to get support reinstated (if they have not already been contacted about reinstatement of support).

People who were on Section 95 support but who are now “appeal rights exhaused” and who normally be asked to leave their accommodation and have financial support stopped will be transferred onto Section 4 support. They should receive a letter notifying them of this. See our Asylum Support Toolkit section for an explanation of these terms.

If people have received a positive decision on their asylum claim (e.g. Refugee Status or Humanitarian Protection has been granted), they will not be asked to leave their asylum accommodation and will continue to receive financial support payments via their Aspen card until they start to receive mainstream welfare benefits (Universal Credit).

The Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) have written a new factsheet about asylum support and Covid-19. They suggest that people who are “appeal rights exhausted” and who do not currently have a fresh claim being considered by the Home Office may be entitled to Section 4 support on the basis that they cannot currently leave the UK (because of Covid-19 travel restrictions and the grounding of flights). You can find the factsheet here.

Visas

The Home Office had announced that people in the UK on visas can get their leave to stay extended to 31 May if they were unable to return home at the end of their visa because of Coronavirus. On 22 May, the Home Office made a further announcement that if your visa had already been extended in the circumstances described above, you will automatically have the visa extended further, to the end of July.

If you haven’t already requested an extension, and your visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020, you need to contact the Home Office to ask for an extension. To do this, use the online form here.

On 28 May, (UKVCAS) UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services announced there would be a phased reopening of some appointment centres. Priority will be given to those who already had appointments booked and those appointments were cancelled due to the Coronavirus crisis.

For more information on more technical immigration matters such as visas, see the Free Movement blog post here.

Appeals and Judicial Reviews

Face-to-face appeal hearings are not being listed at the First-tier Tribunal (the court where most asylum and immigration appeals are be heard).

Judges are conducting Case Management Review Hearings by telephone to decide if the case can be decided on the papers (without a hearing). A CMR hearing is a pre-hearing (which already happened in some asylum cases) at which the judge decides whether you and the Home Office are ready to proceed with the full hearing a few weeks later.

If it decided that a full hearing needs to go ahead, this will be done by video.

The Upper Tribunal have cancelled face-to-face hearings including Judicial Reviews. If it is decided a hearing is needed, this will take place remotely (video link or telephone).

The Tribunals service are publishing weekly operational updates where you can find out what is happening, what you should do, and contact details for urgent enquiries. You can find the updates here.

If you had been due to have an appeal hearing, you should be sent a notice containing instructions on the next steps in your case.

The Tribunals service say:

We are working through the listed cases in priority and date order and you should wait until we contact you. Please do not call us unless your enquiry is urgent. Bail applications will be prioritised and where a hearing is required, will be listed to take place by telephone or video.

You can contact the Tribunal dealing with your case by using the email addresses here.

Reporting to the Home Office

Reporting to the Home Office has been paused.

The Home Office says that:

reporting as a condition of immigration bail is temporarily paused.

You will receive an SMS text message soon with details of your next reporting date.

If you haven’t received a text message and want to confirm that you do not need to report at the moment, you can find email addresses for all the reporting centres on the Home Office website here.

Detention and Removals

Detention centres are now closed to visitors.

In early May, there were around 700 people being detained under immigration powers (in detention centres and in prisons).

The Home Office has committed to urgently review the cases of every person currently held in immigration detention. They are starting with the most vulnerable, so it will be important to make the Home Office/healthcare services in the detention centre of any factors that make you vulnerable.

At the time of Detention Action’s legal challenge in March, the Home Office said they had stopped the new detentions of people who would in normal circumstances be facing removal to one of 49 countries (to which removals were not taking place because of Covid-19 travel restrictions).

Those countries were:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Austria, Bulgaria,Cameroon, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, India, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lichenstein, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.

People from these countries who the Home Office consider to be in the “high harm” category may still prior to deportation (as opposed to removal). If this detention happens, the detention will still be challengeable if there the deportation is not going to be able to happen anytime soon because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

In May, it was known that at least one person had been removed to Poland and one person had been removed to Nigeria (via France). The BBC has reported that 50 people have been “deported” during the pandemic, but because the media use the term “deportation” to refer to both forced removal and deportation after a criminal sentence, it is not known how many of those were removed and how many were deported.

Bail hearings are still taking place, but not in person (not face-to-face). The organisation BID reports that almost all of the bail applications they are involved with have been successful. Read more about bail in the Detention section of the Right to Remain Toolkit.



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131 comments on “Changes to the asylum and immigration process due to Covid-19

  1. Mohamed on

    Hi , hope you are safe and fine,
    last week i did my Substantive (big) asylum interview, so i am wondering the home office will keep opening and processing their work or they stop work.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Mohamed. Thanks for your message and we hope you are well too. The Home Office are still processing cases as far as we know, though they are likely to be very busy (there were already long delays at various points of the asylum process and the current situation will probably have made this worse).

      We recommend that during this time of waiting, you read and learn as much as possible about what the next steps will be.

      Here’s the information in the Right to Remain Tookit:

      https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/asylumdecision/

      Reply
      • Abu Sam on

        Hello sir/Madam
        I’ve got the same request as Mohammed’s one , you said as far as you know the home office is still working so my question is when and how you confirm that they are doing the work?
        I’ve done my big interview last 25th of February and I would love to know how long time you think it can take to have an answer?
        Thank you so much in advance and I hope you stay safe.

        Reply
          • RtR on

            Hi Meryem. The most recent statistics from the Home Office show that most people (60%) are waiting for more than six months from their substantive interview to get a decision. You may of course get a decision quicker than that, but it’s important to prepare yourself for the fact there may be quite a wait still.

    • Mo on

      I went to interview 6th December 2019 but I didn’t recive amy answer in ghis situation home office when can give me my answer?

      Reply
      • RtR on

        Hi Mohamed. There is no fixed time for the Home Office to make a decision after the asylum interview. In normal circumstances, it can take many months and at the moment decision-making is likely to be even slower as the Home Office adapt to the Covid-19 situation and with less staff because of sickness and caring responsibilities.

        Reply
        • Abdullah ibn Yusuf on

          I have submitted an application for FLR FP but dont know how to submit documents as the visa centres are closed. Could you advise on this please?

          Reply
          • RtR on

            Hi there. In some cases, people are being asked to email copies of supporting documents if the visa centres are closed. If you have any contact details for who is processing your application, you should use those to ask if they will accept an email, or if they are saying you will need to wait until the centres reopen (it may depend on the type of application, and the type of documents required).

    • Ahmad on

      Hey dear sir or madam
      Hope everyone doing well
      I got a question to ask
      On the 22nd October I went Liverpool for further submission
      And that time that they should reply back were 6 months now I got 6 days left to the time scale of the home office
      And still have not heard back from the home office which really stresses me out sometime
      I want to know what the next stage be

      Reply
      • RtR on

        Hi Mohamed. Unfortunately, a lot of people have to wait more than six months for a decision on further submissions. That is in normal circumstances, and there are even more delays because the Home Office are having to adapt to the Covid-19 crisis and probably have staff shortages due to illness and caring responsibilities. It is important to prepare for a negative decision from the Home Office however.

        If the Home Office reject your fresh claim, you may want to consider if finding more, stronger submissions is possible. Have a look at our Fresh Claims section in the Right to Remain Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/freshclaim/

        There is the possibility of challenging the Home Office rejection with a judicial review, but this won’t be possible for everyone. You can find out more in the Judicial Reviews section of our Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/jr/

        It is also important to prepare for the scary things that might happen after a Home Office rejection of further submissions. At that point, you may be at risk of detention. Make sure you know how to be prepared by reading our information here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/detention/

        You should also be prepared for the Home Office saying they are going to remove you to the UK (it is more difficult for them at the moment because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, but it’s important to prepare in case you get a refusal when things have returned to normal). There’s more information about that here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/removal/

        Reply
        • Nijen on

          Hello sir/mam
          I send e-mail to further submissions because I didn’t got reply after my fresh submission which is already 9month
          I got reply from further submission where they said
          Having looked at the case we are unable to give a timescale as to when a decision will be made on the case. Once a decision has been made you will be notified by post to the address listed on our systems.
          Is it possible to know what is next step
          Will be really appreciate

          Reply
          • RtR on

            Hi Nijen. In this situation, you generally have to wait until the Home Office make a decision. If you are waiting a very long time, you can ask your lawyer if you have one, to chase it up with the Home Office. If you don’t have a lawyer, often your local MP can help with following this up.

            It is important to prepare for a negative decision from the Home Office however – and asking them to hurry up and make a decision may be hurrying up a negative decision.

            If the Home Office reject your fresh claim, you may want to consider if finding more, stronger submissions is possible. Have a look at our Fresh Claims section in the Right to Remain Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/freshclaim/

            There is the possibility of challenging the Home Office rejection with a judicial review, but this won’t be possible for everyone. You can find out more in the Judicial Reviews section of our Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/jr/

            It is also important to prepare for the scary things that might happen after a Home Office rejection of further submissions. At that point, you may be at risk of detention. Make sure you know how to be prepared by reading our information here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/detention/

            You should also be prepared for the Home Office saying they are going to remove you to the UK (it is more difficult for them at the moment because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, but it’s important to prepare in case you get a refusal when things have returned to normal). There’s more information about that here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/removal/

  2. Joy on

    First and foremost, thanks for all the great work you are doing. All your tools are very informative and easily to comprehend.

    Would it be okay if you please clarify to me, can a new fresh application be made or submit? I am wondering because of the COVID-19.

    The application is Leave to remain on parental route, thinking about social distancing and lock down in UK. Can you please advise how to go about it e.g Biometric enrollment and documents scanning to Home Office. Thanks so much .

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Thank you for your very kind comments Joy.

      The application for leave to remain as a parent is an online form anyway (more information in our Toolkit here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/children/)

      We saw some caseworkers saying yesterday that some people had been told to still attend appointments to submit biometric information. But at the moment, information being given out is quite inconsistent and it may depend on where your appointment is (eg some appointment venues are in buildings that are currently closed, so people can’t attend). If you have any contact details on documentation about the appointment, you may need to contact them directly to ask.

      Reply
      • RtR on

        The Home Office have now announced that all Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are closed and that “Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.” It’s still possible there may be some variation between the different companies that run different types of centres so still check when possible.

        Reply
  3. Quyen Phan on

    Hi,
    Hope you are safe and fine. My baby have an appointment for photograph and finger print next week and I have not received any message saying that the appointment will be cancelled, so I am wondering that the Home Office is still open next week or is there any changes or cancelling about it.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      We saw some caseworkers saying yesterday that some people had been told to still attend appointments to submit biometric information. But at the moment, information being given out is quite inconsistent and it may depend on where your appointment is (eg some appointment venues are in buildings that are currently closed, so people can’t attend). If you have any contact details on documentation about the appointment, you may need to contact them directly to ask.

      Reply
      • RtR on

        The Home Office have now announced that all Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are closed and that “Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment.” It’s still possible there may be some variation between the different companies that run different types of centres so still check when possible.

        Reply
  4. Jackie Fearnley on

    I was told by a lawyer yesterday that Home Office are asking in most cases for fresh claims to be submitted by email rather than by post. But am wondering how people without access to internet, possibly not represented, are going to be able to do this.

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Yes, this is an issue which we are keenly interested in (also because we want to interact with as many as people as possible online for the foreseeable future.) In our recent community research, many people in the asylum process were very aware of how to access free wifi but so many of these places are now not open/functioning. There are calls for wifi to be introduced into asylum accommodation but this hasn’t happened yet and wouldn’t benefit many people wanting to submit a fresh claim.

      It seems that on the fresh claim matter, the Home Office will just have to deal with people without internet access sending submissions by post, but there is a bigger issue here as so many support and information services revert to online only.

      Reply
    • RtR on

      The Home Office has stopped doing the big interviews for now (they are still doing the first, small screening interview for some people).

      Reply
  5. D.Twine on

    Hello
    thank you in advance for listening
    I received the email regarding the cancellation of my husbands immigration appeal case. I could not afford representation so I am the representative (as this is an appeal from outside the UK).
    I am very confused about what I should do.
    I had a date for the 16th April. I have not submitted my bundle of documents or skeletal argument and not sure if sending it 15 days before the appointment still stands?
    I also have read that without representation from a lawyer it would be unlikely I would have a Case management hearing or prehearing telephone call.
    I am so confused as to what I should do. Please can anyone advise

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi there – were there contact details on the notification of hearing (the document that said when the hearing date was)? If so, you could try and contact the Tribunal, because at the moment there is some different information being given about the procedure depending on which Tribunal is dealing with it.

      Reply
  6. Ibrahim on

    Hi Sir, hope all is fine and thanks fro Right to Remain effort.

    Do you have an idea if the Home Office has suspended DECISION MAKING on cases which have substantively been interviewed recently. Any announcement or measure will important to know

    Many thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ibrahim. As far as we have heard, the Home Office have not suspended decision making. I think though, that all the changes there are having to make because of Covid-19 might slow this down (and there were already some delays in this).

      Reply
      • Ibrahim on

        Hi RTR, hope all is fine,

        Could you please advise me in any way I could update my email address to the Home Office, in case, they make a decision on my asylum case? This is because I have no legal representative nor home address since I live in an emergency accommodation which just recently provide by HO.
        I was interviewed 3 months ago after waiting 11 months and most cases interviewed after me have received their decisions via email to their lawyers. Therefore, please if you have any information, only advice me

        Please stay safe and many thanks

        Reply
  7. Bayrak on

    First time I read your newsletter service and it really amazed me. I appreciate your hard work to being helpful for people.

    I just wonder whether the Home Office will proceed for an online substantive interview or they cancelled all interview. Since in my city, they only conducted online interviews via skype not face to face any time. It has been 8 months I am expecting an interview schedule and now I don’t even want to think that they are not going to proceed.

    I am asking since the sound in your post like they may schedule online interviews. I just want to be clear. Thank you very much again.

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Bayrak. Thank you for your kind words. I have double checked the wording of the Home Office announcement, and it was that face-to-face interviews are paused. There may still be a problem in conducting online interviews as in the past this has required Home Office staff, interpreters and of course the interviewee to be present in an office somewhere. It sounds like they are trying to find a way of doing the interviews without requiring people to go the Home Office building itself. We will update the blog post if we hear any more about this.

      Reply
  8. alex on

    Hello ! could you precise what happens to people freshly arrived in UK who want to claim asylum ? Is the situation different in London/Croydon compared to in other cities ? can they have a first screening interview and receive settlement and support ? thx

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Alex – do you mean in normal circumstances? In normal circumstances, everyone (adults) apart from people who arrive to the UK in Northern Ireland have to travel to Croydon to claim asylum/have the screening interview. Last week, there were still screening interviews taking place in Croydon (if the Home Office has accommodated someone when they claimed asylum, they are likely to be near Croydon anyway). We haven’t heard about any change to this. It is usually at your screening interview that you would say you need accommodation/financial support – the Home Office should still be providing this. If screening interviews are being cancelled, the person should contact Migrant Help to see what the current process is for telling the Home Office they need support.

      Reply
  9. mazin on

    Hi, hope All you are fine and in safe place,
    How can I know my asylum case status, already I did my big interview? is there any mail or other way to know?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Mazin. Usually if you wanted to contact the Home Office about this, you would do this via your lawyer. But you do also need to be careful – although it is difficult to be waiting a long time, asking the Home Office to make a decision more quickly could mean you get a *negative* decision more quickly. There’s more info here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/asylumdecision/

      Reply
      • Shahtaj on

        Hello hope u are fine. My main interview was conducted on 24th of December and 6 months have been passed for my asylum claim. I got letter from home office mention that 6 months have been passed and they are unable to make decision and I hear from them within eight to ten weeks. So this means they give me decision within this time frame or it take more time.

        Reply
        • RtR on

          Hi Shahtaj. The Home Office often miss their timeframes for their decisions anyway, and now they are exceptionally busy due to the Coronavirus crisis, they may take even longer. It’s impossible to say for certain though – there’s a possibility they could decide within that time. If you are waiting many many months more, you may wish to ask your lawyer to contact them to find out what is happening. You must be prepared in case it’s a negative decision though – read more here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/refusal/

          Reply
  10. iffat on

    Hello,

    I am just wondering my friend has submitted his further application and its been 8 months HO hasnt reponded,in this case what shall he do? He needs right to work in the country do u know where he can send his letter for asking the right to work and any update of his further submission date.Are they taking any postage?Any help would be really appreciated.He has 2 kids and really in bad situation.

    Reply
  11. Amer on

    Hello,

    I hope this will find you well and safe.

    I applied for asylum over a year ago and I’m still waiting for my substansive interview. I’m not allowed to work, and I know that i can do an appeal to get work permit. However, I don’t know how. I’ve been looking on the internet, and all I found was that i need to contact the relevant asylum team dealing with my claim. I have no idea how to reach that team. Any help on that will be highly appreciated.

    Best,
    Amer

    Reply
      • Wesam on

        Hi , I’m an Asylum Seekers for Syria, I don’t have a lawyer and I was not entitled to the Sec 95 support as I have savings when applied to asylum 3 months ago, and I conducted my main substantive interview 2 months ago.

        Can I contact by email the asylum team responsible for my case in order to get an update on the decision as I don’t have a lawyer, would they respond?

        However, how the decision could be served in my case, could they use my email address as I don’t have a legal representative?

        I’m very confused and under huge pressures as I have a wife and three kids came with me here in UK.

        Many thanks..

        Reply
        • RtR on

          Hi Wesam. Yes you can contact the asylum team yourself – the Home Office aren’t always good at replying, or replying quickly, but it’s definitely worth a try. Just to note, many people wait many months for a decision after their interview even in normal times, and things will be even more delayed now due to the coronavirus crisis.

          The Home Office have started sending asylum decisions by email because of the current crisis – so if possible you need to check the Home Office have the correct contact details for you.

          Reply
          • Wesam on

            Thank you very much, how can I check that the Home Office have my email address, or just send to my asylum team my detalis?
            I highly appreciate your valuable support..
            Wesam..

          • RtR on

            Hi Wesam. It’s a good idea to send your details to the Asylum Team just in case – when you do so you can ask them to confirm they have these details for you on record, though there’s no guarantee they will reply (unfortunately).

  12. Naomi on

    Hi there

    I had my screening interview over a year ago and i still haven’t been called for my substantive interview which is already worrying me. I have already submitted application to request permission to work and wanted to find out if Home Office has paused that too considering the big interviews have been paused. Roughly do you know how long it will take to receive a decision on permission to work. This might sound like a frivolous question but does the home office ever give asylum decision without having to attend the big interview and make decision based on evidence?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Naomi. I’m not sure how long right to work decisions usually take (bear in mind that all decision-making is likely to be much slower at the moment as the Home Office adapt to the current situation and will presumably have a lot of staff off for sickness/caring leave). On the asylum decision – the Home Office do occasionally make a decision without a substantive interview but in normal times that is very unusual (it is usually only if they say the person “has not complied” by eg missing a scheduled asylum interview). If you have a lawyer you should ask them for help finding out what is happening.

      Reply
  13. Clara on

    Hello, I am under section 4 since early last year. My fresh claim was sent in around Mai last year by solicitor. Shouldn’t a decision be made within 6 months? What should I do? Thank you

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Clara. There is no set time for the Home Office making a decision on a fresh claim. In 2018, the average waiting time for a decision on further submissions was around two months but this is because some people receive a decision very quickly. Other people wait for a year or more. If you have a lawyer, you can ask them to contact the Home Office to find out what is happening. If you don’t have a lawyer, sometimes your local MP can help with this but MPs are likely to be very very busy with Covid-19 crisis work at the moment. Either way, if you contact the Home Office, you need to be aware that that could speed up a *negative* decision from the Home Office. After a negative decision, you are at risk of being detained and could face removal from the UK. Please see the detention and removal sections of the Right to Remain Toolkit to be prepared in case this happens: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/

      Reply
  14. Fabby on

    Hi, just asking out of curiosity. I had my asylum substantive interview on February 11 and haven’t received a decision. A friend advised me to keep an eye on my email as the office could/might decide to send their decision in soft copy to my email. So it is possible that Home Office decisions can be mailed to asylum claimants?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Fabby. In normal circumstances, the Home Office usually notify you of the decision by a letter, but in these times it is very possible (and perhaps sensible) for the Home Office to use email instead (as they sometimes do for other kinds of immigration decisions), so it would be worth checking your email yes. If you have a lawyer, you should also be contacting them as the Home Office may send the decision straight to them instead of/as well as you.

      Reply
  15. IBRAHIM on

    Hi my name is Ibrahim and I received letter in 17 of March 2020 fr home office it’s said grand of support under section 95 and it’s said I must wait to transfer to my new dispersal location but now in covid-19 I will get transferred or wait??

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ibrahim. It seems like dispersal is still happening though there may be delays while accommodation is found. You can try and contact Migrant Help for more information on what is happening with your situation (I know it can be difficult to get through but it is worth trying). You can also contact a local asylum organisation if you need help.

      Reply
  16. John on

    Hi there, thanks for the info.

    Is the Home Office still following up on positive decisions made by the first tier tribunal, by sending out a letter confirming status and then the biometric card? Many thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi John. We haven’t heard that this has stopped, though there have often been delays in them doing this even in normal times and as noted in other replies to comments, the Home Office will likely be much slower at actioning things at the moment as they adapt to Covid-19 working (with less staff).

      Reply
  17. Verbe James Fanso on

    Good day sir and hope you are safe!

    Its been 5 months today i had my screening interview and i have not yet receive a card. I was informed that the home office is closed till further notice due to the on going pandemic. Can you please advise me what to do?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi there. The Home Office is still functioning, though many offices are closed to the public and most staff. There will be lots of extra delays because of the current circumstances, but you could try and contact Migrant Help about the situation with your card. The phone number is 0808 8010 503 but if you can’t get through to them via phone, you may be able to try their web chat, details here: https://www.migranthelpuk.org/contact

      Reply
  18. Randy A Olsen on

    Goodmorning sir/madam
    We are aware of the current pademic situation now in UK, which has caused a total lockdown. My problem is can someone make an asylum now at the moment between 20 April to May?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Randy. The Home Office have said that they are still registering asylum claims. You can find the contact details for the Asylum Intake Unit here: https://www.gov.uk/asylum-intake-unit

      This is normally so you can be booked in for a face-to-face appointment (your screening interview) but it may be that the Home Office change the process for this due to the current circumstances.

      Reply
  19. Saibou on

    Hello sir can asylum seeker apply for work now I’m suffering a lot the £5 a day can’t help me at all during covid 19

    Reply
  20. achala on

    Hi , I have done my further submission 19 month ago and didn’t hear anything from home office then I have sent an email for complaint regarding then received response from home office on 9th of March 2020 which state they are aiming to make decision within six month. can I still expect this timeframe or will be affect it again because of covid 19 situation
    Thank you

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Achala. Even in normal times, the Home Office often missed that deadline, but yes Home Office decisions are likely to be even more delayed because of the current situation. You could see if your MP could contact the Home Office and ask what is happening. You can find your MP contact details here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

      It is important to prepare for a negative decision from the Home Office however.

      If the Home Office reject your fresh claim, you may want to consider if finding more, stronger submissions is possible. Have a look at our Fresh Claims section in the Right to Remain Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/freshclaim/

      There is the possibility of challenging the Home Office rejection with a judicial review, but this won’t be possible for everyone. You can find out more in the Judicial Reviews section of our Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/jr/

      It is also important to prepare for the scary things that might happen after a Home Office rejection of further submissions. At that point, you may be at risk of detention. Make sure you know how to be prepared by reading our information here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/detention/

      You should also be prepared for the Home Office saying they are going to remove you to the UK (it is more difficult for them at the moment because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, but it’s important to prepare in case you get a refusal when things have returned to normal). There’s more information about that here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/removal/

      Reply
  21. Robin Samson on

    Dear Right to Remain,

    Firstly, thank you for all the amazing work you do.

    My partner had an appeal hearing in the Upper Tribunal 5 weeks ago, and a judgement in his favour was promulgated by the judge 3.5 weeks ago. His lawyers have heard nothing indicating that the Home Office have applied for leave to appeal, and the deadline for that is normally 14 days. Do you know (a) whether deadlines of that kind are being adhered to in this period and (b) whether they are still working on processing leave to remain and cards? How long would you normally expect that process to take?
    Many thanks,
    Robin

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Robin. Thank you for your kind words. The Home Office do sometimes miss the 14 day appeal deadline even in normal circumstances, but it might be an idea to contact the Tribunal to find out if they have heard anything from the Home Office about intention to apply for permission to appeal the decision. Here are the contact details (I believe that there isn’t anyone handling the phone line at the moment so probably best to email: https://www.gov.uk/courts-tribunals/upper-tribunal-immigration-and-asylum-chamber)

      Regarding issuing the leave to remain/cards, yes it does seem the Home Office are still doing this so I have heard of lots of delays (there are often delays to this in normal times, so we can expect there to even more at the moment). If you have been waiting a long time, you can either ask your lawyer to contact the Home Office about this, or if you don’t have a lawyer, this is an area when contacting your MP can be helpful (they can contact the Home Office on your behalf).

      Reply
  22. Yusef Torabi on

    Hello.On February 18, I went to Homa Office and made a new claim. On March 10, 2020, a letter was sent to me guaranteeing your support. But I was not contacted. I understand that the current situation is very difficult due to the coronavirus. I can still live in this place with friends, but I have financial problems. Is it possible to get financial support from me?

    Reply
  23. RtR on

    Thank you to everyone who is commenting and asking questions. Please note we will not publish comments that contain personal information (for your own protection). We cannot give advice on individual circumstances.

    We are receiving a lot of comments on this page, and so there may be some delay in us working through them. We are prioritising comments where we can give definite information.

    Reply
  24. Yusef on

    Hello . On February 18, I went to Homa Office and made a new claim. On March 10, 2020, a letter was sent to me guaranteeing your support. But I was not contacted. I understand that the current situation is very difficult due to the coronavirus. I can still live in this place with friends, but I have financial problems. Is it possible to get financial support from me?

    Reply
  25. Ahmed on

    Dear Sir/ Madam
    I have done my hearing court and my case has been allowed. I received the decision 1 month ago, shall i wait more or what i have to do?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ahmed. If the Home Office aren’t appealing the decision, they should be taking steps to issue you with the immigration status you applied for. You can ask your lawyer to contact them to find out what is happening (there is likely to be lots of delays at the moment). If you no longer have a lawyer and have been waiting a long time, you could ask your MP to help out. You can find your MP’s details here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

      Reply
  26. Randy A Olsen on

    The Home Office have said that they are still registering asylum claims, how about the screeening procedure. How will i carryout the screening at the home office after the registering for asylum during this corona virus pandemic

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Randy. If you contact the Asylum Intake Unit (phone 0300 123 4193) they will advise you which location you will do your screening interview at.

      Reply
  27. Alla on

    Hi

    I am wondering how to claim asylum. I am on Tier 4 visa and would like to claim asylum. Do I have to go in person or to call? if so can you give me the phone numbers? Thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      To register an asylum claim, you can call the Asylum Intake Unit on 0300 123 4193, and they should book an appointment for an asylum screening interview for you.

      Reply
  28. Hussain on

    Dear sir or madam. I submitted fresh claim on June 2019 on 11 March 2020 I get letter from home office ask me to fill preliminary questionnaire and sent them back from Liverpool team. I would like to know how long I have to wait for the interview appointment after I fill preliminary questions ? I would like to know if the home office start doing again asylum interview ? I hear someone that home office doing asylum interview by video link or Skype is that true ? Thank you

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Many people do not have an interview after submitting a fresh claim – once the evidence is submitted, the Home Office often make a decision on the papers. This is the case normally, and would even more so now that they are trying to minimise face-to-face contact.

      The Home Office had already been doing some asylum interviews by video link/Skype, but we have not heard about them doing this during the crisis because it still requires people to travel to a Home Office location, and staff to be there, which they are trying to minimise.

      Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ndu. Yes, it is possible to submit video and photo evidence as part of an asylum claim, but you should always speak to your lawyer first to check if they think the evidence is helpful, and how to submit it in the right format to the Home Office.

      Reply
      • Yusuf Hussain on

        Dear sir or madam I would like to ask if the home office start doing asylum interview? I heard from my friend that the home office doing asylum interview by video link or Skype if that is true I would like to ask how they doing by video link or Skype? Going to the home office place or doing by home can you explain that more please how they doing video link orSkype? Thank you. Yusuf Hussain

        Reply
        • RtR on

          Hi Yusuf. The Home Office had already been doing some asylum interviews by video link/Skype before the crisis, but we have not heard about them doing this during the crisis because it still requires people to travel to a Home Office location, and staff to be there, which they are trying to minimise.

          Reply
  29. Waseem gilani on

    Please i am waiting for first screening interview it,s taking time i month ago i call to home office and get registration number but they did,nt call me back now my health is going down i need immediate check up by doctor please i need help how to contact for screening interview so that i could get in touch with doctor i am.also.low on reserves please help needed i am a diabetic patience please home office how to make it possible to.check doctor in thus sotuation

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Waseem. You could try to contact the Home Office again as screening interviews are definitely taking place at the moment, and a month is a long time to wait since registering your claim. You could try phoning the Asylum Intake Unit and see if they have any information on your claim.

      Reply
  30. Ste on

    Hi, it would be great if you highlight updates because it’s very hard to understand what you’re actually updating on this specific page. Thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ste. Thanks for the comment – we’ve added in more date references now, and have also specified at top of the page where we give the date of the update, what has been updated.

      Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Randy. The Home Office is still open, in the sense that it is still doing casework and making some decisions. As to when their offices will reopen, we do not have any information on this at the moment.

      Reply
  31. Kelly on

    Dear Sir/Madam thanking you in advance.

    I have 3 question.

    1. When the home office sent SMS text message stated Reporting is now pause due to the current COVID-19 situation can home office still arrest and lock someone up?? a friend got the text message and 2 days after no way to be find
    2. Do immigration enforcement still working?
    3. Can I still submit application for EEA application?

    Many thanks
    Kelly

    Reply
  32. Shriya on

    Hi,
    We did our screening interview on 4th it may and till now we haven’t received our arc card can you please tell me how long it will take as I am pregnant and I want to register to go as soon as possible but due to not receiving card I am not able to register

    Reply
  33. Mathew Akanmu on

    I’m Mathew. I had my big interview on 31-January-2019. However, I was contacted on 6th – March- 2020, someone with an anonymous phone contact ranged me asking me if my circumstance has changed apart from what I have said on my big interview and I said no. Then he said because he wanted to make his decision, that if he doesn’t receive any change in circumstance he will go ahead and make his decision based on what I said earlier on my big interview and the documents I have tendered. So I told nothing changes then he said goodbye after the call

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Mathew. We have heard quite a lot of people are receiving calls from an anonymous contact – this is likely to be the Home Office as their staff will be using their personal mobiles because they are working at home during the crisis, and it is a way of shielding their number. In which case, it sounds like you now need to wait for the person to make their decision.

      Reply
  34. Ayman on

    Hello. I have a really complicated case so can i talk to someone to help me please please thank you all for all thet great work

    Reply
  35. achala weerakoon on

    Dear Sir / Madam ,

    I have two things to know. first do you know when the biometric service open again ? second I have pending further submission currently ,could you tell me having a British child and child who lived in UK for nearly 8 years ( born UK ) will benefit for my case to get positive outcome. I have submitted all evidences regarding them recently.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Char on

      Hi I need some assurance I applied for ilr in January went to the biometric appointment in feb how long does it usually take for them to make a decision they don’t update you on the progress of your application so I’m stuck feeling anxious about what stage my application is at

      Reply
      • RtR on

        Hi Char. There are lots of extra delays at the moment because of the Covid-19 crisis so the usual decision-making timescales won’t apply. If you have a lawyer, you should ask them to contact the Home Office to see what is happening. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can contact the Home Office yourself (you should have some contact details on correspondence with the Home Office).

        Reply
  36. Khashayar nemati on

    Hello , I have question for you I would be appreciated if you answer me , I went poland from iran in 2015 and claimed asylum there and after three years in 2018 I was granted refugee status , as there it was not safe for me at all and I had lots of troubles and difficulties there after two years in 2020 means 4 month ago I came to the UK and I claimed asylum here , as my case is about poland and not my country of origin and I came to the UK directly from poland , am I under dublin or not ? Obviously I ran away from poland and the situation there , is there any chance that I get deported there ??

    Reply
  37. furqan on

    hi i want to apply for assylum in uk canyou please guide me the steps and how much time will it take for processing.

    Reply
  38. Ali on

    Dear Sir/Madam,
    I’m from Yemen. My screening was in September 2018, I had been waiting for the Interview till November 2019. Until now I haven’t received A decision on my case. Is this normal? Can it take a year more to receive a decision?

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Ali. Unfortunately some people are waiting a very long time for a decision. The most recent statistics from the Home Office show that most people (60%) are waiting for more than 6 months for an asylum decision – and this is six months from your substantive (big) interview.

      Reply
  39. pradeep on

    Hi i really liked your page which gives ample of information.I had one question. i applied for appeal on firt tier on feb 2020 i havent heard from them except the have approved m appeal what is the procedure now and how long do i have to wait can you advice me please. thank you.

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Pradeep. After been told that your appeal has been allowed, you normally need to wait two weeks to find out if the Home Office intend to appeal that decision. If a long time has passed since you were informed of the judge’s/Tribunal’s decision, it’s likely that the Home Office aren’t appealing it and should be issuing you with immigration status (eg your documents to say you have refugee status or humanitarian protection, if this was an asylum case). If they are taking a long time doing this, you can ask your lawyer to contact the Home Office to find out what is happening. If you no longer have a lawyer, you may be able to ask your local MP to help with this (you can find out who your local MP is here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

      Reply
  40. Salim on

    Dear,

    I hope you are fine, I am wondering that is the Home office start working normally and making decisions or not? I did my Substantive interview last February and I have not received any decision? and I heard that some people got their papers and ID.
    and should I contact them?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Salim. The Home Office are still making decisions, but there are considerable delays because of the current crisis. Even in normal circumstances, most people (60%) are waiting for more than six months from the substantive interview for a decision. You are welcome to contact them (you could ask your lawyer to do this) but there is no guarantee that they will respond.

      Reply
  41. Kamrul Munna on

    Hi I have applied asylum seeker application in 2014 and I have done interviews and they refused my application based I can go back to my country and live..(they didn’t believe me that going back Bangladesh is not safe for me )after that i have made another fresh application in 2017 and still home office haven’t contacted me back.i have no idea now what are they doing with my fresh application….any advice I can get from here would be appreciated

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Kamrul. That is a long time to be waiting to hear about a fresh claim. You do have the option of asking the Home Office what is happening – through your lawyer if you have one. If you don’t have a lawyer, often your local MP can help with following this up. It is important to prepare for a negative decision from the Home Office however – and asking them to hurry up and make a decision may be hurrying up a negative decision.

      If the Home Office reject your fresh claim, you may want to consider if finding more, stronger submissions is possible. Have a look at our Fresh Claims section in the Right to Remain Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/freshclaim/

      There is the possibility of challenging the Home Office rejection with a judicial review, but this won’t be possible for everyone. You can find out more in the Judicial Reviews section of our Toolkit: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/jr/

      It is also important to prepare for the scary things that might happen after a Home Office rejection of further submissions. At that point, you may be at risk of detention. Make sure you know how to be prepared by reading our information here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/detention/

      You should also be prepared for the Home Office saying they are going to remove you to the UK (it is more difficult for them at the moment because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, but it’s important to prepare in case you get a refusal when things have returned to normal). There’s more information about that here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/removal/

      Reply
  42. Endurance on

    Hi

    Just a quick question is there anyone out there waiting for a decision 8 years on asylum claim because I’ve been waiting?..

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Endurance. That is a very very long time to wait and I think you need to be careful that there hasn’t been a decision that your haven’t been informed of you. You can ask a lawyer (or your local MP) to contact the Home Office to find out what is the current status of your application. You need to be prepared, however, that this will be alerting the Home Office to your presence that they may say you have no right to be in the UK. It’s possible that, if you have had a refusal that you haven’t been informed of, you would have the option of an “out of time” appeal. Take a look at our guide to the asylum process for more information on this: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/refusal/

      Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Randy. You can submit further evidence to be considered as a fresh asylum claim at any time after you are “Appeal Rights Exhausted”. See the section on Fresh claims in the blog post above for the current procedure for submitting evidence.

      For more detailed information about how to prepare a fresh claim, have a look at our guide here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/freshclaim/

      Reply
  43. Sindie on

    Hi my name is Sindie , i am living in London for 4 years now. Since my last big interview it has been 1 year that i am not getting a respond from the homeoffice for my case and still waiting very stressed cause i do not know what is going on and what is the next step i can do . My solicitor keeps writing email to them but we did not get any response to know cause i have a son and living with other people and is not easy nothing to take it in every aspect of life cause we are human we are here because we fear of something and we need help to be eligible and to work and study and do everything good for ourself and for the country we live aswell!
    Hopefully i will get a respond.
    Thank you

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi Sindie. Sorry to hear about the long delay in your case – we are sadly hearing from many people who are having to wait far too long for a decision.

      You may want to ask your lawyer if they are ok with you asking your local MP to contact the Home Office – sometimes the Home Office respond more quickly to MPs. You can find out who your local MP is here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/

      It is important, while you are waiting, that you prepare yourself in case you get a negative decision from the Home Office. Find out what you can do here: https://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/refusal/

      Reply
  44. e91 on

    Hi

    Thank you so much for your efforts

    When asylum interview will be resumed ?

    It’s mean now more than 3 months of delay, How it would be compensated ?

    And what if there is another peak of this pandemic ?

    Indeed, I hope if you can do something in regard of this matter.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • RtR on

      Hi there. We still don’t have information about when the asylum interviews will be resumed – the Home Office are getting ready for this, but haven’t said when this will take place.

      Because the delay is not the fault of the Home Office, there won’t be a legal argument for compensation.

      If there is another peak, it is likely another strict lockdown will be enforced – it may be that the Home Office is better set up to continue things in those circumstances, but this is another thing we do not know for sure.

      Best wishes in these difficult times.

      Reply

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