The International Protection/Asylum process
When you apply for International Protection/Asylum you will then be interviewed and asked to complete a short application form. An interpreter will be provided if necessary. This first interview is to confirm that you want to apply for asylum and to gather basic information about you and to assess if you should be admitted to the International Protection Process.
Your biometrics (fingerprints and photograph) will be taken to check whether you previously made an application for international protection in another country.
During your interview you will be asked to explain why you are claiming asylum.
When you visit the IPO, you should bring important documents with you (if you have them). They will help with your application. These include:
- Passports and travel documents such as air tickets.
- Identification documents for you (and your children, if any), such as identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records.
- Anything else you think will help your application.
You will be given the International Protection Questionnaire and told about next steps. These are:
- To complete the application form and return it to IPO.
- To visit IPO again for a second detailed interview (called the ‘substantive’ interview) to review your application.
You will be given a date when you must return your application form and a date for your second substantive interview.
Note: If you fail to return your application by the specified date or if you fail to come to your interview, your application may be refused.
It is recommended that you obtain legal advice before completing your questionnaire.
It is important that you answer all the questions in the Questionnaire as fully as you can. The IPO will consider this information when making a recommendation about your application. All Questionnaires should be completed in the Applicant’s own language.
Second (substantive) interview
At the second (substantive) interview, you will usually be interviewed alone without family members unless you are a child. An interpreter will be provided, if you need one.
At this interview you will be asked to explain:
- How you were persecuted in your home country.
- Why you are afraid to go back to your home country.
You should bring any evidence you have of persecution/fear of serious harm. This can then be used to support your case.
Note: If you do not attend the substantive interview and do not provide a satisfactory explanation within 3 working days, your application may be refused.
You have the right to legal assistance from the Legal Aid Board (LAB). LAB can help with your application and also attend your interview, if required.
Decision and next steps
After your second (substantive) interview, the IPO will prepare a recommendation about whether your application should be approved. Your application should be decided within 6 months but in reality it usually takes far longer.
It may take longer in some circumstances.
The International Protection Office (IPO) will review your case and if your application is successful, the Minister for Justice and Equality will grant you a formal declaration of Refugee Status or Subsidiary Protection. This is an important letter and the original should be stored in a safe place at all times.
If you are refused Refugee Status and/or Subsidiary Protection the Minister will consider your leave to remain application at that point and you will receive a decision on all three applications at the same time.
As above highlighted it may take weeks or months and in some instances years for your application to be processed. During that time, you will be given a safe place to stay and other basic services.
If you are unsure about how to apply of if you have not applied for Asylum immediately, Sinnott Solicitors can advise you of the process.
Under the International Protection procedures, if the case is refused at first instance Sinnott Solicitors will always check with our Counsel to see if a judicial review of the decision is possible. If no judicial review is possible then an appeal to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal for an appeal hearing will be made.