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Refugees who have been granted asylum by another country are subject to normal immigration control. There are cases, however, where the UK will accept responsibility for their protection and give them leave to enter or remain in the UK as refugees.

Persons recognised by the UNHCR under its mandate (i.e. mandate refugees rather than Convention refugees) who have not been granted refugee status by a country are not eligible to apply for transfer of refugee status.

People who have been recognised as refugees by another country have two options if they wish to come to the UK as refugees:

  1. an application to transfer their refugee status to the UK from the host country; or
  2. a claim for asylum, based on a fear of persecution in the host country (assuming that the claimant continues to fear persecution in the country from which they were originally granted asylum).

A claim for asylum under (2) will fall to be considered under the Immigration Rules, like any other asylum claim and will also be subject to consideration under Safe Third Country removal procedures. Applications for transfer of responsibility for a refugee under (1) will require consideration outside the rules under the Secretary of State's discretion. Some will fall to be considered first in accordance with the UK's obligations under the European Agreement on the Transfer of Responsibility for Refugees (EATRR), if the country that recognised the applicant as a refugee has
ratified the EATRR. The EATRR is a Council of Europe Agreement and does not form part of UK domestic law.


In accordance with the EATRR, the UK will normally accept a transfer of responsibility for the refugee and grant leave if the applicant:

  • is lawfully resident in the UK (i.e. the applicant is not an illegal entrant or overstayer and is not applying from abroad or at port); and
  • has been recognised as a refugee under the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol by one of the other countries which have ratified the EATRR; and
  • a transfer of responsibility is deemed to have occurred

Deemed transfer of responsibility under the EATRR

As long as both the first two conditions above are met, transfer of responsibility for an applicant will be deemed to have occurred where any one of the further conditions set out at (i) to (iii) below is met.

  1. The applicant has completed two years’ continuous stay in the UK with the agreement of the authorities.
    • "With the agreement of the authorities" in this context means:
    1. with leave, other than leave in the excepted categories listed below; or
    2. awaiting the UK Border Agency's decision on an application for leave other than an application for leave in the excepted categories listed below.
    • Visits abroad for less than three consecutive months or six months in total should be included in the two year qualifying period
    • Periods spent in detention in connection with a criminal conviction or pending an appeal against an immigration decision which is ultimately dismissed will not count towards the two year qualifying period
    • Leave granted solely for the purpose of studying, training or receiving medical treatment falls into the excepted categories, and will not count towards the two year qualifying period. Leave in other categories, including visits, is not excepted under the EATRR and will count.
  1. The applicant has been granted leave to remain in the UK on a permanent basis - i.e. the applicant has been granted indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILE/R). Leave leading to settlement will not bring an applicant into this category.
  2. The applicant has been permitted to stay in the UK beyond the validity of a Convention travel document issued by the host country. "Permitted to stay" means “given the agreement of the authorities to stay” and should be interpreted in line with the advice on "with the agreement of the authorities" above. This condition is not met if:
  1. the extension beyond validity was granted solely for study or training; or
  2. the person is still re-admissible to the host country. The applicantwill be re-admissible to the host country if the UK requests readmission within six months of the expiry of the applicant’s Convention travel document. Where the person’s whereabouts are not known so that readmission to the host country cannot be requested within six months of the expiry of the travel document (for example, where the person is an illegal entrant), the request for readmission may be made within six months of the person coming to the notice of the UK authorities, so long as that is within two years of the expiry of the travel document.

An application that falls to be refused under the EATRR should also be considered on a discretionary basis outside the EATRR.


Some applications for transfer of refugee status do not fall within the EATRR provisions, either because the refugee has been recognised by a country that has not signed the EATRR, or because the refugee does not meet the terms of
the EATRR. These will need to be considered on a case by case basis.

Responsibility for such cases should only be accepted where the UK is clearly the most appropriate place for the applicant's long term refuge. Responsibility for a refugee should not be transferred simply because the refugee wishes to enter or stay in the UK.

Such applications may be made at a British diplomatic post abroad as well as at a port or in country. It will not always be necessary to interview the applicant before refusing a transfer application. However, where despite correspondence the caseworker remains unclear about any aspect of the applicant's case or wishes to obtain further information, an interview may be used to clarify matters.

Factors to consider in assessing these applications include:

  • length of time in the first country of refuge as compared to length of time in the UK;
  • strength of ties with the host country compared with the UK (e.g. family members or a previous association such as a period of long residence); and
  • any compelling compassionate circumstances.

Why Sunrise Solicitors For Your Application For Transfer Of Refugee Status?

The immigration solicitors at Sunrise Solicitors are experts in dealing with applications for transfer of refugee status. The quality of our service is self-evident from the reviews of our clients about the service provided by our immigration lawyers. You can contact us if you are seeking legal help from immigration lawyers in London in relation to your application to the Home Office, UKBA for transfer of refugee status to the UK and our immigration solicitors will provide you fast, friendly, reliable and professional immigration service.

Our Fees For Application For Transfer Of Refugee Status To The UK

  • We will charge you a fee from £1,500.00 + VAT for our professional immigration services in relation to your application for transfer of refugee status to the UK. The agreed fee will depend on the complexity of the matter and the casework involved in the application.
  • Please be advised that VAT will not be applicable where our client does not have a valid leave to remain in the UK at the time of his/her instructions to us in relation to his/her application.
  • If you cannot afford to pay our fee in full at the time of instructing us in relation to your asylum application, you can pay half of the fee at the time of instructing us and the balance can be paid within a month from the date of initial instructions.
  • The agreed fee will cover all our work until decision by the Home Office , UKBA on the application. However, it is pertinent to note that the agreed fee will not cover any disbursements to be incurred by  us on your behalf e.g. translation of documents, Home Office fee etc.