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How to apply for asylum in Ireland

To claim asylum you must be in Ireland and submit an application.

The International Protection Office (IPO) will then review your case. If your application is successful, the Minister for Justice will make a declaration that you are entitled to protection.

It may take weeks or months for your application to be processed. During that time you'll be given a safe place to stay and other basic services.

Where to apply

You should apply for asylum at the Irish border as soon as you arrive at an airport or ferry port. You should tell an immigration officer at Passport Control that you want to apply for asylum.

Some of your details will then be recorded.

You will be told that you must go to the offices of IPO to register an official application. If you do not go to IPO within 5 working days your application may be refused.

If you do not apply for asylum at the Irish border, you should go to IPO's offices as soon as possible.

Note: If you are detained by An Garda Síochána (Irish police) and wish to apply for asylum, you should inform a police officer. They will arrange for an application to be made for you.

Who can apply

You can apply for asylum in Ireland if you arrive here and cannot return to your home country because you fear persecution.

When you apply for asylum, you can also apply for a status called Subsidiary Protection. If your asylum application is refused, your application for Subsidiary Protection will then be considered. Read a longer description about types of protection and who can apply.

Your family

If you have family members or dependants with you, you can include them in your application. These include:

  • Husband, wife or partner
  • Children under 18

If you are under 18

If you are under 18 and you are with an adult relative who is claiming asylum, you will normally be included in your relative's application.

If you are under 18 and alone, you should tell an immigration officer or police officer at the Irish border when you arrive. If you do not do this, you should go to IPO's offices as soon as possible.

You will be allocated a social worker who will help decide whether an asylum application is in your best interest. You will also be given access to legal assistance for your application.

First interview

To register your application for asylum officially, you must go the offices of IPO.

You will then be interviewed and asked to complete a short application form. An interpreter will be provided if necessary. This first interview is to confirm that you want to apply for asylum and to gather basic information about you.

During your interview you will be asked to explain why you are claiming asylum.


When you visit IPO, you should bring important documents with you (if you have them). They will help with your application. These include:

  • Passports and travel documents such as air tickets.
  • Identification documents for you (and your children, if any), such as identity cards, birth and marriage certificates or school records.
  • Anything else you think will help your application.

Next steps

At the end of your interview, you will be given a longer application form and told about next steps. These are:

  • To complete the application form and return it to IPO.
  • To visit IPO again for a second detailed interview (called the ‘substantive' interview) to review your application.

You will be given a date when you must return your application form and a date for your second interview.

Note: If you fail to return your application by the right date or if you fail to come to your interview, your application may be refused.

Make sure you answer all the questions in the application form as fully as you can. IPO will consider this information when making a recommendation about your application.

Temporary Residence Certificate and accommodation

At the end of your initial interview, you will be given a Temporary Residence Certificate. This shows that you have applied for asylum in Ireland and that you have permission to stay here temporarily.

If you need help with accommodation while your application is being processed, the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) will arrange for you to go to a reception centre for asylum seekers.

At the reception centre, RIA will review your needs and arrange a place for you to stay. Read more about accommodation and services for asylum seekers.

Second (substantive) interview

At the second (substantive) interview, you will usually be interviewed alone without family members unless you are a child. An interpreter will be provided, if you need one.

At this interview you will be asked to explain:

  • How you were persecuted in your home country.
  • Why you are afraid to go back to your home country.

You should bring any evidence you have of persecution. This can then be used to support your case.

Note: If you do not attend the substantive interview and do not provide a satisfactory explanation within 3 working days, your application may be refused.

You have the right to legal assistance from the Legal Aid Board (LAB). LAB can help with your application and also attend your interview, if required.

Asylum decision and next steps

After your second (substantive) interview, IPO will prepare a recommendation about whether your application should be approved. Your application should be decided within 6 months. It may take longer in some circumstances.

If your application is successful, the Minister for Justice will make a declaration that you are entitled to protection.

If your application is refused, you may appeal the decision. Read more about what happens after you apply and about appeals.



If you have questions, contact us.

Updated: 5 January 2017

Page history

5 January 2017

All references to Office of the Refugee Applications Commissioner (ORAC) changed to International Protection Office (IPO).

24 May 2016

Page published.