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What is an asylum seeker? Free legal advice to those fleeing persecution rises

The Immigration Advice Service (IAS) is delighted to announce that our capacity to provide free legal advice has increased this year. This means that we will be assisting more asylum seekers, victims of domestic violence and victims of human trafficking with free immigration advice and application support than ever before.


So what is an asylum seeker? These are individuals who flee their home country because they fear for their life. Either because of persecution, war, or another extreme circumstance.

To qualify for free advice with IAS, asylum seekers must bring at least one of the following documents with them to their appointment.

Which documents do I need as an asylum seeker?

Any of the following documents will allow IAS to assist you with your asylum claim for free.

Evidence of Section 95 National Asylum Support Service (NASS)

Section 95 NASS is granted to migrants who are in the claiming asylum process. They must have proved to the Government they are either destitute or were about to become destitute.

The UK Government provides asylum seekers with financial support for living expenses and/or housing accommodation.  Asylum seekers usually receive £37.75 per person which is uploaded onto an APSEN debit card.

If you have been in receipt of this aid within the last six months, bring any documentation that proves this when you come to your local IAS office.

Evidence of Section 4 National Asylum Support Service (NASS)

Section 4 NASS is granted to asylum seekers who have had their asylum claim refused but still face destitution in the UK. Claimants might be taking their appeal to the First-Tier Tribunal on this form of support.

The support consists of accommodation and £35.39 a week via a payment card.

Bring evidence that shows you have received this support in the last six months to IAS.

Evidence of income

In most cases, asylum seekers are unable to work while in the UK. However, in some certain circumstances, an asylum seeker may have taken up a position from the Shortage Occupation List. IAS will accept any proof of income such as bank statements or wage slips as proof of this.

Proof of accommodation

If accommodation and financial support have not been provided to you by the Government, you may be staying with friends or family. If you are, IAS will accept a formal letter from the friends/family you are staying with. The letter must confirm that you have been staying and/or receiving money from them. A copy of your friend/family’s ID will also be needed to accompany the letter.

An example of this letter would be along the lines of:

“I, [name] confirm that I am currently providing accommodation to [claimant’s name]. I also confirm that I am providing [£ monetary amount] per month for their living expenses.”

Any asylum paperwork

Any documents from the Home Office should also be brought with you. If you are making a fresh claim, IAS will require to see copies of your previous claim, any refusal letters and any outcomes from appeals you may have made.

Where do I go?

The Immigration Advice Service has offices all over the UK.

The following are able to help you with your asylum claim:

However, please note that our offices in London and Newcastle are unable to process asylum claims at this moment. If you are in Central London or Newcastle, you may need to travel to your nearest office which is most likely to be in Hounslow (London) or Leeds (Newcastle).

How will IAS help me?

Once you have arrived at your nearest office with the appropriate documents, IAS can begin to process your claim.

Our expert team of dedicated asylum lawyers are here to advise you every step of the way. We seek to maximise your chances of obtaining a positive outcome. Our caseworkers have a wealth of experience and knowledge in this area.

Our lawyers will:

  • Assess and complete a full documentation check to ensure you sufficiently prove your identity
  • Help you prepare for your screening process and interview
  • Check if your dependents (such as your children) are eligible for refugee status too
  • Complete your application form to the highest possible standard
  • Guide you every step of the way throughout the whole process
  • Provide translation services

Your assigned caseworker will also provide a Letter of Representation to accompany your claim to the UK Government. This letter details the merits of your case and demonstrates that IAS support your claim and yourself as a person.

Depending on your native language, an interpreter may not be readily available for your first appointment. However, IAS will provide translation services for the following appointments.

Please note that IAS are unable to help an asylum seeker if they do not bring the appropriate documents.

Nonetheless, if you’re worried or concerned about your asylum claim, give one of our experienced lawyers a telephone call. How to find a good immigration solicitor is a common question. But you don’t need to worry about that if you give IAS a call as our experienced, expert team will help find a solution for you. Give us a call on 0333 305 9460 or make an enquiry below. We have offices of specialist immigration lawyers located across the UK, including in LondonManchester, or Birmingham. You can also use the office finder to find the closest branch to you.

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