A new law called The Illegal Migration Act 2023 has recently come into force. The Act has brought about significant changes to the UK asylum and immigration system for people who arrive in the UK on or after 20 July 2023. We are in the process of updating the Toolkit to reflect these developments. For now, please be aware that some of the information in the Toolkit may be out-of-date for people who arrived in the UK after that date. To stay up to date with any changes to the Toolkit, please sign up to our newsletter here.

The Right to Remain Toolkit is our step-by-step guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It’s free to use, and it’s for people who want to learn more about the legal process, or a particular part of the legal process. You might be making an application or are thinking about it; you might be helping someone else to do so.

The information in this guide comes from experts – from people who are going through the legal process or have done in the past, from those helping them, from lawyers, from community groups. It covers different stages of the legal system and procedures, with detailed information on rights and options at each stage, and advice about actions you can take to be in a better situation, or to help someone else.

On this page, you will find the following information:

What people have said about our Toolkit –

“I had to represent myself on many occasions and this website has helped me a lot”

“The Right to Remain Toolkit helps migrants seeking to understand and defend their legal position in the UK. It is a great resource and I can highly recommend it”: Colin Yeo, immigration barrister, and founder of the Free Movement blog.

“The Toolkit is absolutely invaluable, a literal lifesaver, and an example of how complicated information can be delivered.”

Why is this guide needed?

We developed the Right to Remain Toolkit back in 2011. We spoke to asylum and migrant support groups and communities across the UK and asked them what they needed. They said they wanted clear information to understand the asylum and immigration legal process, and about what you can do to help yourself or someone else.

Understanding the asylum and immigration system, and your own legal case, is very important. Many people have to make their way through this very complicated system without legal representation (without a lawyer). Even if you have a lawyer, it’s important to understand your own legal case – this is your case and your life and you need to keep track of what is happening and whether the lawyer is doing the things they should be.

Use this guide to find out what you and your supporters can do to help strengthen your legal case. Look out for the ACTION SECTION boxes throughout the guide!

Have good people around you who can support you. Getting through the asylum and immigration process can take a long time, and it can be difficult, but it will be easier with people helping you along the way.

Know your rights at different stages of the system, and know what the options are for the stage you are at. Knowing what could come next will help you prepare. This guide will help you do this.

There are lots of things that friends or volunteers can do to help in a legal case without providing legal advice. We call this help “legal support”. Read more about this here.

How to use this guide

Legal updates blog, videos and interactive guides

The Right to Remain Toolkit website is constantly updated. You can keep up with major changes to the asylum and immigration system – and to this guide – by reading our Legal Updates website.

You can also learn about the asylum and immigration system by watching the legal information videos on our YouTube Channel. You’ll also find the videos on the relevant pages of the website.

For a simple, interactive look at the asylum system, try our online Asylum Navigation Board.

If you’re looking for information about young people seeking asylum (unaccompanied minors), see our Young Asylum Guide.

Information in other languages

Every page of this guide has a Google Translate bar you can use to translate the English information on the page. You can find it at the top of each page. It looks like this:

Some information from this guide has also been formally translated into other languages. You can download and print this information in pdf format. We also have information in other languages in video format.

See the buttons below for our language pages – you’ll find all the resources we have in that language on that page. You will also find translations (where available) on the relevant page of the guide. For example, on the page of this guide about the Asylum Substantive Interview, you’ll find all our translated resources about the Substantive Interview.

Support our work

We are committed to keeping this vital resource continuously up-to-date, and getting the information out to individuals and communities who need it most, free of charge. To do this we need your help.

If you work for a funded organisation and use the Toolkit, or if you can afford to help, please make a donation towards our constant work updating and improving it.

This means we can continue our work – making sure people understand their legal case, are aware of their rights and can access justice.