The first stage of an asylum cliam involves a screening interview during which the Home Office tries to find out basic information such as:

  • The applicant’s identity
  • Their route into the UK to find out if they passed through a third country and if they applied for asylum there
  • Details about their family including family members who may be considered dependents on the asylum application
  • If the applicant has entry clearance and applied for UK visas before
  • When they arrived in the UK

During the screening interview, UKBA should not ask about the substantive details of the asylum claim. However, interviewing officers do ask questions to help them decide if they can process an application under a special fast-track procedure or if they can return the applicant to a safe third country without having to consider their application. Depending on the outcome of the screening interview, UKBA may decide to interview port applicants in detail about their claim straight after the screening. Asylum applicants should be given a copy of the interview record.

The authorities will also check whether an applicant has the passport or document on which they travelled to the UK. See ‘Arriving in the UK without valid documentation’.

During the screening interview applicants (including dependents) are fingerprinted and photographed. The applicant will also be allocated a case owner. The case owner is an UKBA official responsible for the case from application to the granting of status or removal, and the applicant’s main UKBA contact throughout the asylum process.

The UKBA can detain applicants at this stage.

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