UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Is responsible for making a decision on an asylum application.

UKVI uses 6 stages in the asylum decision process:

  1. Making An Application
  2. Asylum Screening
  3. Case Ownership
  4. Case Owner Meeting
  5. Asylum Interview
  6. Asylum Decision

Making an application

If a person arrives at a port or airport and it is staffed by UKVI officers then an application for asylum can be made there.

An application can only be made in person at the Asylum Intake Unit in Croydon. If a person has dependents and wants them included in the application for protection they must accompany the person making the application (the applicant).

A person and their dependents may at this stage be taken into detention by the Border Agency during the processing of their application.

Asylum screening

Screening is a brief interview by the Border Agency. It involves:

  • Establishing a person’s identity and nationality and identifying the main reasons for an asylum application.
  • Taking and recording fingerprints, photographs and other physical characteristics.
  • Organising the issuing of an Asylum Registration Card with a photograph and other information on it which will be sent out at a later date.

If you have a passport or identity card, the Border Agency will retain these for the period of a person’s asylum application.


At this stage the Border Agency may detain an applicant and their dependents. This may be short term or it may be for the whole period of time the Border Agency needs to make an asylum application.

Unaccompanied children will also be screened, but will have a responsible adult with them.

Case ownership

Following the screening interview a case owner will be appointed. The case owner is the border agency officer responsible for all aspects of a person’s asylum application.

They will…

  • Conduct interviews with the applicants to allow a decision to be made
  • Arrange support and housing if an asylum seeker needs it during the decision period
  • Make a decision on an asylum application based on the interview
  • Take action based on that decision either to assist with refugee resettlement or arrange removal of the asylum applicant from the UK

Case owner meeting

The case owner will call a meeting with a person seeking asylum a few days after the screening interview. This meeting will establish the conditions the person making the asylum applications must fulfil in order that the application can be considered.

  • The asylum system is explained
  • A date for the asylum interview will be set
  • Any requirements such as daily, weekly or monthly reporting will be given
  • Address and contact details will be confirmed

If the person making the asylum application has any special or additional needs or requires an interpreter, they must tell the case owner at this meeting. If there is a need for a male or female interpreter, this must be requested here too, and reasons given.

Asylum Interview

This is the only meeting at which any evidence and information relating to a person’s claim for asylum can be given to the Border Agency case owner.


Asylum seekers MUST attend this interview – if they don’t their asylum claim can be refused.

The case owner can question the person seeking asylum and ask the further explanations and dates from the applicant. This information has to be provided at the interview not afterwards.

Legal support can be present at this interview, but the interview can still go ahead without representation.

Asylum decision

The asylum decision is made by the case owner. There are only three possible outcomes. The decision is usually given in person at a face-to-face interview.

The three possible decisions are:

Granted asylum

Refugee status is given and the person is allowed to stay in the UK for five years (preparation for an application for extension of this permission should be made well before the five-year period is up).

Humanitarian or human rights protection

A person’s asylum claim is refused but the government feels that there is a danger of persecution or threats to life if a person is removed from the UK. Temporary permission to stay in the UK is granted.

Asylum refused

A persons claim for asylum application is refused and the person is expected to leave the UK or be deported. There are rights to appeal but there are strict time limits and the person must be told this at the interview. Access to benefits and housing can be stopped following a negative decision.

Asylum support and destitution

Unaccompanied Children

  • Any child under the age of 18 that has made a claim for asylum becomes the responsibility of the local authority Children’s Services Team while a decision on their application is made.
  • How they are supported depends on their age:
    under 16 years old - can be placed in residential care or foster care;
    16 years old and over - offered hostel or other independent accommodation.

Adults and Families

  • Adults and their dependents that need support will be offered housing support on a no choice basis, although the housing should be suitable to any special or additional needs they have. The process of sending a person to their temporary house is called dispersal.
  • Housing is provided by a range of public and private sector landlords and agencies. If an asylum applicant refuses this housing, or fails to turn up for dispersal, they will lose all support from the Home Office.
  • People granted asylum and those granted leave to remain will be allowed to access all primary and secondary health services.
  • People refused asylum can still access primary care and continue treatment that has already started - see benefits and housing for more information.

Approximately how much of the equivalent Universal Credit will a single adult receive?





Weekly cash amounts

These payments are reviewed annually - so check for updates here on the website.


Single person


Pregnant woman


Couple with no children


Lone parent with child under 1 year old


Lone parent with child aged 1 to 3 years old

Suspension of payments

When a person seeking asylum has their initial meeting with their case owner, a list of conditions are given them.

In the following 4 situations try to answer whether it would lead to a permanent or temporary stop of payments.

Situation 1: Failing to turn up on time to an appointment at the UKBA office.
Can payments be stopped?



Situation 2: Your housing provider requires you to be in the house on Monday, so they can inspect the house and check that you are living there, your signature is required. You wait in all day and at 3pm you leave the house to pick up your children from school and miss the housing agent’s call.
Can payments be stopped?



Situation 3: You receive gifts of money on your child’s birthday and this is reported to the Border Agency.
Can payments be stopped?



Situation 4: Your case owner calls you to tell you to attend an appointment that morning - it is at the same time as the doctor’s appointment.
Can payments be stopped?




Suspension of benefits resulting in destitution can occur if the case manager decides you are not complying with the instructions issued by the UKBA case owner.


Destitution can occur while waiting for Asylum Support to be arranged.

There may be a few days between a screening interview and a case owner first meeting. This can happen due to a clerical or systems error, meaning that your card has not been authorised for payment at the Post Office.

Destitution can also occur following the Asylum Decision.

A positive decision means loss of their temporary housing and Border Agency payments.Depending on the local authority, they may or may not provide homeless accommodation and single young men may not be a re-housing priority, leading to homelessness as payments of mainstream benefits may take some time to process.

Destitution can also occur following the Asylum Decision.

A refusal of asylum or other leave to remain decision will mean loss of all housing and cash support - though this may continue for some families unable to leave the UK. Single people will receive no support and have no recourse to public funds.

Destitution Support

There are some occasions where it might be possible for a destitute person to receive support from the Home Office, but not all destitute people can apply - and the recipient must sign to agree to their removal from the UK.

Housing may be offered out of the area, away from support networks and health services. No cash payments are made. Instead the person will receive a card or vouchers.


Miriam is 32 years old and the wife of Hussein. Both fled Iran as a result of their political activity. Hussein was identified by immigration staff as the head of the household and is now the asylum applicant.
Will Miriam’s case be considered independently by the UKBA?



The situation for women seeking asylum may be difficult. Does Miriam have a right to her own income support and housing?



The situation for women seeking asylum may be difficult

Being a dependent may place a woman asylum seeker in vulnerable situations - especially when her English is limited.
Issues such as:

Domestic violence: There may be a fear that as a dependent she will have no rights in the UK and if she leaves her husband or partner she may be deported.

Access to information and support: There may be no access to support or information except through her husband - in some situations, her husband may act as interpreter,or be present during interviews which could restrict what she can say.

Access to appropriate treatment: The testimonies of women refugees shows that many have suffered rape or abuse. Often this brings shame and dishonour to the family and husband and they may place a taboo or ban on this being discussed.

Recognition of trafficking: Many women and children are victims of trafficking, but as “dependents” there may be little regard for their situation and this may be missed by officials concerned with an asylum application.


The role of the case manager at the UK Border Agency

  • Conduct interviews with the applicant to allow a decision to be made
  • Arrange support and housing if an asylum seeker needs it during the decision period
  • Make a decision on an asylum application based on the interview
  • Take action based on that decision either to assist with refugee resettlement or arrange removal of the asylum applicant from the UK

Possible outcomes from an asylum application

  • Asylum granted with 5 years leave to remain
  • Leave to remain or Humanitarian Protection
  • Refusal of asylum - possible asylum appeal

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children are supported by

  • Local Authority Children’s Services

People seeking asylum become destitute

  • Clerical errors
  • Suspension of benefits by case owner
  • Asylum decision has been made