Updates, commentary, training and advice on immigration and asylum law

Filling out the new asylum questionnaires: FAQs


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Resources have been published by Refugee Action to assist those who have received one of the new asylum questionnaires under the Home Office’s streamlined process. You can read more in detail about what to do with the questionnaire, how to fill it in, what to be cautious of when asking a friend for help filling the questionnaire in, and how to find legal support here. You can also read the FAQs in other languages by visiting the FAQs home page and selecting the relevant language.

Resources have also been published to assist non-profit caseworkers and voluntary workers who have been approached by or who are working with individuals who have been issued a questionnaire.

If you or your legal representative has not received a questionnaire but you think you should have (for example if you have received a text message reminding you to fill one out) you should request a copy from: asylumcustomercommunicationshub@homeoffice.gov.uk.

I’ve received an asylum questionnaire

The government’s new streamlined asylum process aims to decide some asylum claims quickly. To help them do this, you will be sent an asylum questionnaire, asked to complete it in English and return it within 20 working days. The Home Office will use the information you provide to decide your claim. If they are satisfied with your answers, you will not be asked to interview.

You should have received a questionnaire if you can answer ‘yes’ to all four of the questions below:

  1. Have you been given an asylum questionnaire to complete and return?
  2. Are you a national of Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria or Yemen?
  3. Did you apply for asylum before 28 June 2022?
  4. Are you an adult?

If you can’t answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, the streamlined asylum process should not apply to you. This does not mean that you will not receive a questionnaire. There have been reports of questionnaires being sent to other nationalities.

If you are from another nationality but you have received a questionnaire, you should still respond to it or you risk having your claim treated as withdrawn. But other aspects of the streamlined process may not apply to you, including the possibility of a quicker decision, or a decision without an interview.

There are several key points to remember:

  • If you receive an asylum questionnaire, you will have 20 working days to submit your answers
  • If you do nothing, your claim can be treated as withdrawn
  • Many recommend asking a regulated immigration adviser to help you fill out the questionnaire
  • If you can’t find a regulated immigration adviser, request an extension to the deadline
  • Charities and refugee community organisations can help you request an extension
  • Keep a copy of the completed questionnaire, along with other supporting evidence you submitted, for your future reference

It is unclear how quickly the Home Office will grant refugee status or humanitarian protection, but completing this questionnaire is meant to speed up the process.

If the Home Office is not sure whether you qualify they should invite you to an interview and/or you may be asked to provide further evidence. After an interview, they can grant you status, but they can also refuse your asylum claim. No claim will be refused before an interview.

Asking for an extension

If you do not complete and return the questionnaire on time, the Home Office may decide to treat your claim as withdrawn. If your case is withdrawn you will no longer have a pending asylum claim, you may no longer qualify for asylum support, and you may lose any benefits you had because you claimed asylum before 28 June 2022.

You can ask for an extension to the 20 working day deadline if you need it.

The Home Office should reply to the extension request. You should check your post, email, and phone for replies. If they reply, they may grant a shorter extension than you have asked for and you may have to request an extension more than once.

Asking someone to help you complete the questionnaire

You can submit your questionnaire yourself, but it is usually better to get a regulated immigration adviser to help you. There are risks if you get something wrong in the form.

The consequence of getting something wrong is that the Home Office may not believe your history and can question your nationality or your need for protection. The answers you give may also affect any future applications your family members might make to join you in the UK if your claim is successful.

You can find a legal aid lawyer by entering your postcode here (make sure to check the box that says “Immigration or Asylum”). You can find an OISC adviser here (select “L2 Casework” and “Asylum and Protection Advice”).

OISC advisers are like lawyers in that they are specialised immigration advisers that have passed exams. You need an adviser who is qualified at Level 2 in the Asylum and Protection category.

Local refugee organisations and charities can only help you complete the questionnaires if they are regulated. Most do not fall into this category. However, they may be able to do a few things to help:

  • They can refer you to a regulated immigration adviser, where possible and where available
  • They can help you request an extension to the 20 working day deadline to complete the questionnaire

Despite what the questionnaire says, it is usually a bad idea for you to ask a friend to help you fill it out. Their English may not be good enough, or they may not speak your language well enough. They could mistranslate or misinterpret the questions, causing you to give wrong answers. And they may not understand the legal concepts involved in some of the questions. In general, they may make mistakes or misunderstand you and put the wrong information down. They may not know what is relevant or important to include.

Phone calls or requests for additional evidence

Where possible, all submissions should be given in writing, or at an interview with a regulated legal representative present. Often the Home Office will just want you to expand or give further explanation to your answers, however, any information you give that may be different from the information you previously provided in the questionnaire may put your claim at risk.

Getting a decision

The streamlined policy aims to decide cases quickly. Last year the grant rate for asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Libya, Syria and Yemen was above 95%. Refusals should be rare. But until we see decisions starting to be made, it is best to be cautious!

If your asylum claim is refused, you have a right of appeal and should make sure the appeal forms are lodged within the time limit.

If your claim is treated as withdrawn because you do not complete the questionnaire, or because you do not return the questionnaire before the deadline, you do not have a right to appeal. The only options are to make an application for judicial review or make further submissions and a fresh claim for asylum.

If you have missed the deadline for returning your questionnaire, you can write to the Home Office (asylumcustomercommunicationshub@homeoffice.gov.uk) to ask for your claim to be reinstated and explain the reasons why you could not return the questionnaire in time.

With thanks to Refugee Action and the coordination of legal aid lawyers across the country to produce and disseminate FAQs and regular updates on the progress of Home Office activity on the streamlined process.

Interested in refugee law? You might like Colin's book, imaginatively called "Refugee Law" and published by Bristol University Press.

Communicating important legal concepts in an approachable way, this is an essential guide for students, lawyers and non-specialists alike.

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2 Responses

  1. Pre June 2022 person receives an asylum questionnaire, are Home Office more likely to grant him some form of protection ?