Immigration and asylum law
Immigration law is complex, changes frequently and it can be important to meet deadlines and follow correct procedures in order to preserve your legal rights. For that reason, anyone facing a problem concerned with this area of the law should seek proper advice at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Immigration Advisory Service (IAS) is the UK’s largest charity providing representation and advice in immigration and asylum law. These services are free to people who are eligible - click here to see if this applies to you. They are independent from the Government and their asylum and immigration advice is provided confidentially.
For advice, find your local IAS office: click here for details of their offices and surgeries across the UK and abroad and how to get in touch with them. IAS also has a telephone advice service: UK callers can contact them on 0844 974 4000. This is a fee-paying (non-profit) service that provides general advice at £30 for 20 minutes.
You can also get advice on immigration from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) here or by contacting your local CAB. The CAB website also provides information on lawyers who specialise in immigration.
Refugee and Migrant Justice , (formerly the Refugee Legal Centre) can provide advice and assistance to asylum seekers and refugees. This includes helping with applications, advising on temporary admissions/release, refusal of asylum, family reunion, and representing appeals in court. They refer people to other agencies for education, welfare and housing services.The Centre offers an appointment advice service. Appointments can be made by phoning the main advice line. They can only see a limited number of people without appointments. Enquiries will be assessed on arrival. People with the highest priority need will be seen first.
Advice line: 020 7780 3220 (Mon, Wed and Fri 10.30am-1.00pm; 2.00pm-4.30pm)
Detention advice line: 0800 592 398 (Mon, Wed and Fri 10.30am-1.00pm; 2.00pm-4.30pm)
The Refugee Council in England and Wales offers advice and support to all refugees and asylum seekers. As part of this it operates a one stop service, providing advice and support to newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers on social security benefits, housing, immigration and education. No appointment is necessary, but people are seen on a first come, first served basis.
The Refugee Council also runs a number of advice lines based throughout England. Most of the advice is given in English, but callers who would prefer to speak in their own language can call the advice lines to arrange a visit to a Refugee Council office in their area. For more information about the advice lines, go to the Refugee Council's website.
Law centres nearly always have a worker who specialises in immigration. Law centres generally have fairly strict catchment areas, so it is important to check whether a law centre in the area will be able to take on a case. Sometimes, the catchment area will include people who either live or work in the area.
If the law centre can offer advice and representation in immigration cases, it will be free.