How to apply for asylum in Egypt

You can apply for asylum in Egypt, if you are in Egypt, with the assistance of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Help UNHCR Egypt is available in English, Arabic, Somali, Tigrinya, Amharic, and Oromo.

UNHCR Egypt’s 6th of October City, Zamalek, and Alexandria offices continue to provide frequent and continuous registration services to refugees and asylum seekers. They try to ensure a smooth procedure and service for as many applicants as possible.

Most websites linked in this article are in English or Arabic. If you need, use Google TranslateTarjimly, or any other translation app.

How to register for asylum in Egypt

First, you need to get an appointment to register as an asylum seeker. Appointments for registration services are available through the channels listed below.

You can call the UNHCR infoline. The UNHCR infoline is open from Sundays through Wednesdays from 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Thursdays from 8:15 a.m. to 12 p.m., on 0227390400 in Cairo and 0225990800 in Alexandria.

You can go to the UNHCR offices. The UNHCR offices are open at the places and times listed below.

When you call, or go in person, you give some of your details and your phone number. You will receive a text message (SMS), or a call, on your phone that tells you when and where to come for a registration appointment.

UNHCR invites you and your family for a new registration interview

When you have been invited to UNHCR for New Registration, please attend to the office with all members of your family on the day and time specified in the confirmation SMS from UNHCR.

Please keep in mind that due to limited waiting space on UNHCR premises, you will be admitted to our office only during the time period provided. During the interviews, all family members must be present. Those who do not show up for the interview will not be registered.

Please bring all required documents, including, most crucially, your resume, to your interview.

  • National passports for all members of your case, if accessible;
  • any additional documents that provide evidence of your identification and/or personal or family status, if available.

Depending on the size of your family and the intricacy of your case, the interview will run between 30 and 45 minutes. During your interview, we will collect a picture of you as well as biometric information (iris and/or fingerprint scan) in addition to your biodata and contact information. This procedure takes only a few seconds, is painless, and has no negative consequences on your eyes or health.

What documents do I receive after my new registration interview?

If you submit an original and legitimate identity document (ID) that includes your image and nationality, you will be given an 18-month yellow card. If you do not produce an ID document or one that does not include your photo, you will be issued a white certificate with a 6-month validity period.

Asylum process in Egypt

After your registration as asylum seeker depending on the intricacy of your situation, UNHCR Egypt has multiple procedures. Some cases have registration and refugee status determination (RSD) interviews conducted concurrently, which is known as the Merged Registration/RSD procedure; some cases have separate registration and RSD interviews; and some cases have more than one RSD interview to ensure the Office has enough information to complete the RSD procedure.

The Refugee Status Determination Interview

When you are scheduled for an individual refugee status determination (RSD) interview, you will receive a scheduling call informing you of the interview and advising you on the measures you must take prior to the interview. Furthermore, your appointment date will be updated on the RSD website. Because the RSD appointment may change, you should check the website frequently, especially 48 hours before your RSD appointment. If you accepted to a remote interview, you will receive an SMS with the signal application link after the scheduling call.

You want to bring the following to the RSD interview:

Your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card; any documentation supporting your refugee application;

Original and genuine identification documents for you and your family members (such as passports, ID cards, military booklets, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and any education certificates or medical reports, etc.);

Evidence of prior registration with other UNHCR Offices.

You want to do the following during the RSD procedure:

This is your chance to tell your experience, and UNHCR employees will assist you in doing so. Several questions about yourself, your family, any troubles you’ve had, and your fear of returning to your native country will be asked during the interview;

Notify UNHCR of any family members accompanying you. Individual interviews will be conducted with all participants over the age of 12;

Bring with you and any family members any documents that may help support your claim for refugee status, such as travel documents, identity papers, job records, and other data.

It is critical to supply only real identity evidence, as providing fake or fraudulent documentation may jeopardize the processing of your case and result in an unfavorable verdict.

During the Refugee Status Determination interview, it is critical that you cooperate with the UNHCR staff member and offer true and comprehensive information at all times. Failure to offer a truthful and accurate account will jeopardize your case’s progress and may result in a negative decision.

If you agreed to a remote interview, make sure you have a smartphone with a working front camera and a solid internet connection, and that you are alone in the room. Failure to guarantee that you are in a secure and discreet location will result in the interview being rescheduled.

You have the following rights during the RSD procedure:

Be interviewed in a language in which you can communicate;

During your RSD procedure, you may be represented by a lawyer or a legal representative who qualifies as such under UNHCR’s established procedures.

Decision on Refugee Status

Notifications that RSD findings have been finalized are provided by SMS or a phone call with an appointment time, location, and date. When you visit UNHCR, you will be needed to provide your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and identification documents (passport or other form of identification) in order to collect the decision.

If you are granted refugee status, you and your dependents will be issued a UNHCR refugee card.

If you are denied refugee status, you will get a negative decision letter outlining the reasons for the denial of your asylum claim. If you are notified of a negative decision, you have 30 days to file an appeal request. The notification letter will specify where and how you can file your appeal request. You will no longer be deemed a person of concern by UNHCR if you do not submit an appeal against the first instance decision refusing your asylum claim.

If you are denied refugee status but your parent, child, or sibling is approved, you may be eligible for refugee status under specific conditions, according to UNHCR. If, for some reason, this has not occurred for you, UNHCR will explain the reasons for this decision. If you have any further questions or suspect an error has happened in your application, please contact UNHCR.

Appeal to a negative decision

The appeal request form can be downloaded from the Forms and Leaflets area of this UNHCR Egypt website. You must include the following information in your appeal request form:

  1. Please provide your name and case number.
  2. The reasons why you believe the first instance negative decision was incorrect
  3. Your most recent contact information

You can then email your completed appeal application form to Appeal/Reopening arecaapr@unhcr.org or visit the RSD Building at 44A street, 2nd vicinity, 8th District, 6th October City.

The appeals process allows UNHCR to evaluate the first denial and ensure that the decision was right. During the appeals procedure, all appeal requests are reviewed by UNHCR protection staff members who were not engaged in the initial first instance decision. Not all appeal petitions will result in an appeal interview, and certain decisions can be made without an appeal interview. This is why it is critical to include in your appeal filing all of the reasons why you believe the first instance judgement was incorrect.

If an appeal interview is required, you will be advised of the date by SMS, and the appointment will also be available in the RSD status part of this UNHCR Egypt website.

If the first instance decision is reversed, you will be given refugee status; if the first instance decision is upheld, your claim will be closed since you do not meet the criteria for refugee status under international law.

Sources: Help UNHCR Egypt

The cover image is somewhere in Mount Sinai, Saint Catherine, Egypt. Photo by Artem Labunsky on Unsplash