Human Rights & Asylum


If you want to stay in the United Kingdom because you have a well-founded fear persecution in your own country then you may qualify for Refugee status.

Your partner and children under the age 18 who are with you in the UK can apply for asylum at the same time as you, as your dependents.

Requirements for leave to remain as a refugee

In order to qualify for leave to remain as a Refugee, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You are unable to go back to your own country (if you are stateless, this is the country you usually live in) because you have a well-founded fear of persecution;
  • You will be unable to live safely in any part of your own country; and
  • You will be unable to receive protection from the state authorities in your own country.
  • The persecution that you fear must be because of one of the following reasons:
  • Political Opinion
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Nationality
  • Membership of a particular social group that puts you at risk because of the social, cultural, religious or political situation in your country (for example, your gender, gender identity, sexual orientation)

Duration of Stay

If your application for asylum is successful, you will be granted leave to remain in the UK as a Refugee for a period of five years.

If you do not qualify for leave to remain as a Refugee, but there is a real risk that you would suffer serious harm if you returned to your own country (for example, the death penalty, unlawful killing, torture or inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, or a serious and individual threat to life), you may be granted Humanitarian Protection, valid for five years.

In either case, you may apply for settlement at the end of the five year period if you believe that you are still at risk of persecution or serious harm.

Family Reunion

If you have been granted leave to remain as a Refugee or Humanitarian Protection, your family members outside the UK may apply to join you in the UK. Family members who can join you in the UK on the basis of family reunion include:

  • Spouses, civil partners and unmarried partners;
  • Children under 18;
  • Parents, grandparents and other dependent relatives aged 18 or over.

For advice and assistance in connection with an asylum application or appeal, please contact our immigration solicitors in London.

Human Rights

Under the Human Rights Act 1998, it is unlawful for any public authority, including the Home Office (UK Visas and Immigration) and its immigration officers, to act in a way which is inconsistent with the rights set out within the European Convention on Human Rights.

The protection of the European Convention applies to every person within the United Kingdom and also to those under the authority and control of the UK immigration authorities.

The most common human rights provisions of the European Convention that are engaged in an immigration context are:

  • Article 3: prohibition on torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Article 8: right to respect for private and family life

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for leave to remain in the United Kingdom on the basis that to require you to leave would breach your human rights. Anyone subject to an immigration decision also has the right to appeal to the Immigration Tribunal on the ground that the immigration decision breaches their human rights.

For example, if you have a partner and/or child in the UK, Article 8 may be breached where requiring you to leave the UK would result in you being separated from your family. You would need to demonstrate that it would be unreasonable for your child to leave the UK or that you and/or your partner would face insurmountable obstacles in continuing family life together outside the UK.

Article 8 may also be breached if you have resided in the UK for a long period of time and established substantial ties here. Under the Immigration Rules, leave to remain will be granted on the basis of private life if:

  • You have lived in the UK continuously for 20 years;
  • You have lived in the UK for less than 20 years but there would be very significant obstacles to your integration into the country to which you would have to go if required to leave the UK;
  • You are under the age of 18 and have lived continuously in the UK for at least 7 years and it would not be reasonable to expect you to leave the UK;
  • You are aged over 18 and under 25 and have spent at least half of your life living continuously in the UK.

If requiring you to leave the UK would expose you to a real risk of ill-treatment, perhaps at the hands of a state agent or consequent upon the withdrawal of medical treatment, then Article 3 may be breached.

For advice and assistance with a human rights application or appeal, please contact our immigration solicitors in London.

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