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Home Office Asylum Questionnaires

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It is World Refugee Day on 20 June and this year the immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors thought they would acknowledge the occasion by looking at what is meant by the Home Office asylum questionnaire and answering your frequently asked questions on the questionnaire.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Asylum Lawyers 

For help with asylum claims call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

The asylum questionnaire

The asylum questionnaire was introduced by the Home Office in early 2023. The intention behind the decision to add to the asylum claim paperwork trail was not to increase the red tape involved in a claim but instead to speed up and streamline the asylum claim process.

The rationale behind the decision to introduce the questionnaire was that there were roughly 90,000 asylum claims outstanding of the claims submitted before June 2022. It is widely understood that hotel accommodation costs for asylum seekers and the political climate were the primary motivators for the introduction of the asylum questionnaire rather than any overwhelming concern about the impact of delayed asylum claim decisions on asylum seekers left in limbo pending their asylum claims being properly assessed and determined.

Who needs to complete an asylum questionnaire?

If you are an asylum seeker from a specified country and you have not had a full Home Office asylum interview then you may need to complete the Home Office questionnaire.

The specified countries are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Eritrea
  • Libya
  • Syria
  • Yemen
  • Iran
  • Iraq

If you are in the UK with family members and you are all claiming asylum on the same basis then only one asylum questionnaire needs to be completed per family. The main claimant should complete the form.

Why do asylum seekers need to complete the asylum questionnaire?

Asylum seekers need to complete the questionnaire when requested as the stated purpose of the form is to cut down the asylum claim backlog. In addition, if you do not complete the paperwork, the Home Office can treat your asylum claim as withdrawn.

The purpose of the questionnaire is to find out basic information about your asylum claim, such as:

  • Why you are claiming asylum
  • The basis of your asylum claim – what are you afraid of if you had to return to your home country
  • Whether you have been trafficked to the UK
  • If you are a victim of modern slavery
  • If you have any physical or mental health issues
  • Any other reasons why you want to remain in the UK
  • Whether any family members are also claiming asylum with you

What happens after the asylum questionnaire is sent to the Home Office?

When the Home Office receives your completed asylum questionnaire a Home Office official will assess the response and decide if you need to be invited to a substantive interview with a Home Office caseworker.

Deadlines to complete an asylum questionnaire

The rules say that an asylum seeker must complete the asylum questionnaire within 20 working days of receiving a letter from the Home Office asking them to fill in the questionnaire.

If you do not complete the questionnaire, you will get a reminder notice from the Home Office and be given a further 10 days to do so.

Extending the time to complete an asylum questionnaire

If you have not been able to complete your questionnaire within 30 days then you can ask the Home Office to exercise discretion and to grant you further time to complete the document.

The Home Office guidance says the Home Office will only exercise discretion if your request is reasonable and proportionate to the reasons given for the extension.

The consequences of not completing an asylum questionnaire

If you do not complete your asylum questionnaire in the timeframe you have been given then the Home Office is entitled to treat your asylum claim as withdrawn. That means your asylum claim is at an end.

If you did not complete the questionnaire in the required timeframe then you can ask the Home Office to reactivate your claim provided you make your request within a reasonable time and you can show that the non-completion of the asylum questionnaire was down to circumstances beyond your control.

Even if the Home Office does not accept that you were unable to complete your questionnaire in the required timeframe you can try to reactivate your asylum claim by making new arguments or submissions and by showing that there are reasonable prospects for success.

Will a Home Office official reject my asylum claim after looking at the questionnaire?

A Home Office official will not reject your asylum claim simply based on your questionnaire response.  Instead, if your claim is not clear cut, you will be given the chance to attend a substantive asylum interview with a Home Office caseworker to enable you to set out the basis for your claim.

Appealing against an asylum refusal

If the Home Office refuses your asylum claim after completion of the questionnaire and substantive interview then you can ask to appeal the asylum refusal decision on the basis of your human rights. An appeal can go to a first-tier tribunal and, if rejected at the first-tier level, you may be able to again appeal the decision to get your asylum claim heard by an upper tribunal.

How can the asylum lawyers at OTS Solicitors help you

At OTS Solicitors, our asylum lawyers understand how difficult it is to explain why you need help and asylum in the UK. Our asylum lawyers can help you make your case for asylum by highlighting the compelling reasons why you need asylum for yourself and members of your family.

UK Online and London-Based Immigration Solicitors and Asylum Lawyers 

For help with asylum claims call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.

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