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Are you looking for LGBTIQ friendly verified services to help you on your journey to safety?
In case it is helpful for you, here is some general information about the refugee process.
General Information About Refugee Process
You should apply for asylum as soon as you flee your country and enter a safe new country. Some countries allow individuals to apply for asylum directly through their national systems. In other countries, individuals must register at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to apply for Refugee Status. Please consult: https://www.unhcr.org/ for more information.
When you apply for asylum/refugee Status, the application is made to the country in which you are located. You may eventually be resettled in, or relocated to a different country, however you will, in general, have to stay in the country where you first apply for asylum while the decision is being made, and cannot apply for asylum in a specific third country (e.g. once you have left your home country and arrived in country A, you cannot demand asylum for country B).
When seeking protection within the European Union, you should apply for asylum in the first country of arrival. If you do ask asylum in a third country of your choice, you might be refused protection there and you might be sent back to the first country of arrival.
The asylum process can take months or years to complete, especially if an appeal is needed. Asylum may be processed more quickly in urgent cases, such as if applicants can show that persecutors are likely to follow them and attack them in the country where they are seeking refugee status.
A positive asylum case will lead to refugee status, which is a prerequisite to resettlement in a third country. Resettlement places are extremely limited, and available for only about one in ten persons in need of resettlement. Less than 0.6 % of refugees in the world are resettled to a third country.
In order to apply for refugee status:
a) You need to be outside the country of your nationality;
b) You should contact a local UNHCR office or another authorised body (if you are outside your country of nationality) to apply for refugee status / asylum, and
c) You have to be able to prove fear of being persecuted.
Frequently asked questions
Can I receive asylum or refugee status if I’m in danger because of my sexual orientation or gender identity?
The answer is generally “yes,” but it depends where. Most Western countries recognize today that persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a valid basis for asylum or refugee status. In many other countries, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) can accord you refugee status on these grounds.
Can ORAM Help with resettlement?
ORAM cannot help you resettle to another country. This is a decision made by the government of the third country that will resettle you. Please keep in mind that a positive asylum case will lead to refugee status, which is a prerequisite to resettlement in a third country. Resettlement places are extremely limited, and available for only about one in ten persons in need of resettlement. Less than 0.6 % of refugees in the world are resettled to a third country.
Can ORAM forward your case to UNHCR?
No, ORAM cannot forward your case to the UNHCR or any local government. Please be careful when sharing personal information. The information about our case is personal and confidential, it should only be discussed between you and the designed asylum officer or legal counselor.
Can ORAM provide financial assistance?
No, unfortunately ORAM cannot provide financial assistance to individuals. Depending on specific cases and geographical area, ORAM can refer you to organizations that may help you further.
Can I work for ORAM?
Please consult the 'Join Our Team' page on our website on a regular basis to learn more about our job opportunities.
Can ORAM advise where to go?
Fleeing your home country and seeking protection in another country entail serious risks. ORAM cannot determine for you whether or not you should leave your home country. This is a very serious decision that we cannot advise on remotely. You can consult our 'Seeking Help' page and select a geographical area of your interest to verify the asylum resources available. On the session “Asylum Information” you can find some general information about seeking asylum or refugee status that might be useful to you.
Can ORAM help with refugee/asylum cases?
Unfortunately, ORAM does not have the authority to file your application for refugee status or asylum. We do not have any decision making power in the refugee status determination (RSD). You have to contact the competent authority (UNHCR, or local government) in order to present your application for refugee status or asylum. Local authority or UNCHR only, can provide information about your case. Please keep in mind that the RSD process could take months or even years. Please try to be patient and keep safe.
What kind of harm is serious enough to make me eligible for asylum?
It is impossible to list here all the ways in which people are harmed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. If you fear execution, detention or torture because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you will likely be eligible for asylum. Persecution may also take other forms including criminal charges, arbitrary arrest, detention, forced medical treatment, physical violence, exclusion from basic services available to the general population, serious and systematic discrimination or other serious human rights abuses. Whether a particular harm or cumulative harms amount to persecution is always determined on an individual basis and will depend on the facts of your case.
How do I show that the persecution I face is based on my sexual orientation or gender identity?
We usually know exactly why we’re being targeted, but proving a persecutor’s motivation can be very challenging. If you fear persecution because you have relations with people of the same sex as you, you will need to show what your persecutor said or did, and how it was tied to your sexual orientation. If you are persecuted because your behavior is considered gender-nonconforming (for example if you are a man and you dress, walk, talk or otherwise act “feminine”) you will need to show that your persecutor targeted you for these reasons. On rare occasion, you’ll have written proof like official documents of arrest. Most times, the case will be decided based on your testimony.
Can I request asylum in any country?
Not all countries have independent asylum systems. Some countries (mostly in the Americas and Europe), have asylum systems which will assess your claim and grant you domestic legal status and other rights if you qualify. In much of the “global South,” refugee systems are managed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). If the UNHCR recognizes you as a refugee, you will likely avoid deportation and may be resettled. In some countries, neither asylum nor refugee status is a realistic option. You should investigate the situation in the country where you are going before you depart.