Claim asylum in the UK

4. Register your asylum claim

You register your asylum claim at a ‘screening’. This is a meeting with an immigration officer where you tell them about your case.

You’ll have your screening at the UK border if you claim asylum as soon as you arrive. You can also be screened once you’re in the UK if you become eligible for asylum.

At your screening you’ll:

  • be photographed
  • have your fingerprints taken
  • have an interview to check who you are and where you’re from

You’ll be asked why you want asylum. You can bring written evidence to support your claim if you want, as well as your identification documents.

You’ll need to say if you or your dependants are taking any medication and give any relevant medical information.

You can ask for a male or female interviewer, but your choice might not always be available.

Screening at the UK border

You must tell a Border Force officer that you want to claim asylum.

Your application will be registered and you’ll be screened - ask for an interpreter if you need one.

Screening in the UK

You must make an appointment with the asylum screening unit if you’re already in the UK.

You must bring:

  • the documents you need for your application
  • any dependants (partner and children under 18) who are claiming asylum with you

You may be asked to come back another day if you show up without an appointment.

You don’t need to make an appointment if you have nowhere to live - you can go to the screening unit from 7:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Arrive early to make sure there’s enough time to complete your screening.

You can’t get financial help for travel to or from the asylum screening unit.

How to make an appointment

Make an appointment for screening by phoning the screening unit.

Asylum screening unit appointments line
Telephone: 020 8196 4524
Monday to Thursday, 9am to 4:45pm
Friday, 9am to 4:30pm
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They’ll call you back and ask simple questions about you and your family. You won’t be asked why you’re claiming asylum. The call may take up to 30 minutes.

You’ll be asked if you need help with housing.

You can ask to have an interpreter at your screening.

Tell the appointment service if your situation changes before your appointment date, for example if you can no longer stay where you are living.