UNHCR Egypt - Refugees Status Determination Information

Language: Arabic  English
This website provides asylum applicants with a secure way to access the results of their refugee status determination interview. These results are also posted – anonymously and in line with confidentiality provisions at the offices of UNHCR Implementing Partners.

Question and Answers

What is the role of UNHCR?

The Office of the United Nations of High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is the refugee agency of the United Nations that was established in 1951 to provide international protection to refugees and solutions for refugees. UNHCR works to safeguard the rights of refugees, promote their well-being and help secure durable solutions. In Egypt, UNHCR is responsible for the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process on behalf of the Egyptian government based on a memorandum of understanding signed in 1954.

Who is a refugee?

According to 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of refugees, a refugee is a person who is outside the country of his/her origin, has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, and owing to such fear is unable or unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country.

Please also note that applicants for whom there are serious reasons for consideration that they are responsible for serious crimes might be excluded from refugee status.

What is the purpose of the refugee status determination interview?

The purpose of the refugee status determination (RSD) interview is to assist you to put forward your case and to fully explain all pertinent information concerning you and your past experiences and circumstances that led you to fleeing your home country.

All information you provide during the interview will be treated in a confidential manner by UNHCR.

During the interview, you will be asked questions about your family, education, place of birth, and the particular reasons for leaving your country of origin. Based on this interview, UNHCR will determine whether or not you will be granted refugee status according to international refugee law.

The Refugee Status Determination Interview

When you are scheduled for an individual refugee status determination (RSD) interview, either you will be given an appointment slip with the date of the interview or you will receive an SMS. Furthermore, this website will be updated with your appointment date as well. As there could be changes in the RSD appointments, you are also requested check the website regularly, especially 48 hours before your RSD appointment.

During the RSD procedure, you are required to:

  • Submit any documents and evidence available regarding your application;
  • Tell the truth and be cooperative;
  • Inform UNHCR about your family members accompanying you. Adult family members will be interviewed individually.

During the RSD procedure, you have the right to:

  • Be interviewed in a language you can communicate in;
  • To be represented by a lawyer or a legal representative, who qualifies as such under UNHCR’s established procedures, during your RSD procedure.

Please also take note that:

  • Each applicant has a different profile, background and reason for fleeing his/her country; hence, each case will be assessed individually according to UNHCR rules and procedures. Please, do not pay attention to rumours spread among refugee communities about specific stories to be presented in order to be granted refugee status;
  • Intentionally misleading UNHCR about the facts of your case or your identity is fraud. Please note that this will negatively affect the processing of your case and may lead to a negative decision. UNHCR reserves the right to take appropriate measures in such cases;
  • Your statements and documents will be kept confidential and will not be shared by UNHCR with other third parties without your consent. Please note that under no circumstances will UNHCR share your information with the government of your country of origin;
  • Do not sign any documents unless read, understood and approved by you;
  • While in Egypt you, like any other foreigners, are expected to respect the laws, customs and traditions of the society hosting you;
  • Verbal and physical threats made to UNHCR staff violate national law. UNHCR will report any person making such threats to the police and these person may be prosecuted.

Why are there different procedures at first instance?

UNHCR Cairo has different procedures depending on the complexity of the cases. Some cases undergo registration and refugee status determination (RSD) interviews together in the same interview, which is called the Merged Registration/RSD procedure; some cases have separate registration and RSD interviews; and some cases have more than one RSD interview in order to ensure the Office has sufficient amount of information to complete the RSD procedure. All RSD interviews except for the Merged Registration/RSD ones take place in the RSD Building 44A Street, 2nd Proximity, 8th District, 6th of October City. The Merged Registration/RSD interviews take place in the UNHCR 6th of October Main Premises in the 17 Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity, 7th District. No RSD interviews are conducted in the UNHCR Alexandria Office.

What if I missed an RSD appointment?

Please be informed that if you failed to attend an RSD appointment without a reasonable explanation, your case might be closed.

If you miss an appointment, it is your responsibility to request a new one as soon as possible explaining the reason why you could not approach the office. Please note that the new appointment will only be granted if you provided a reasonable explanation as to why you failed to attend.

Are my family members, who registered with me, required to be present at the refugee status determination interview?

All those who are registered in the file need to be present for the refugee status determination interview unless you are informed otherwise. All the adult members of the case will go through a separate interview at UNHCR.

What should I bring with me to the RSD interview?

You should bring with you the following:

  • Your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card;
  • Your appointment slip;
  • Any documents that are relevant to support your refugee claim;
  • Your and your family members’ original identification documents (such as passports, ID cards, booklet, marriage certificate, birth certificates, medical reports if any, etc.);
  • Proof of previous registration with other UNHCR Offices.

Can I have a legal representative/advisor to assist me during my refugee status determination procedure?

You are entitled to have a legal representative/advisor to assist you during your refugee status determination interview. In Egypt, Saint Andrews’ Refugee Services provide information, counselling, referral, representation, and advocacy for asylum seekers and refugees in Egypt free of charge, and you can access to their website through the following link http://stars-egypt.org/.

Notification of Refugee Status Determination Decisions

Once your decision is ready, you will receive an SMS to indicate your result notification date/appointment. In the meantime, you can also check this website via the RSD status page, which will also reflect your result notification date/appointment, once available. The decision on your asylum application could either be recognition or rejection.

What if I changed my contact details?

Please be informed that your mobile number is the main channel we use to communicate with you and it is paramount that your contact details are up to date. Therefore, if your contact details are changed, please contact the call centre at 02-27285699 or approach our office at 17th Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity, 7th District, 6th of October City to update your contact details.

What happens if I am recognized a refugee status?

If you are recognized as a refugee, you and your dependents will be provided with a UNHCR refugee card. In order to collect the decision letter you will be required to present to UNHCR reception staff your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification) when you approach UNHCR 6th of October Main Premises in the 17 Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity, 7th District for your result. If you are residing in the northern governorates, you will be notified in UNHCR Alexandria Office. This blue card is evidence that you have refugee status and fall under the protection of the Egyptian Government.

What happens if I am denied a refugee status?

If you are denied refugee status after the first instance interview, you will be requested to approach UNHCR 6th of October Main Premises in the 17 Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity, 7th District, where you will receive a negative decision letter, which contains an explanation on the reasons that led to the denial of the asylum application. If you are residing in the northern governorates, you will be notified in UNHCR Alexandria Office.

In order to collect the decision letter you will be required to present to UNHCR reception staff your UNHCR asylum seeker registration card and your identification documents (passport or other form of identification). You will then be required to sign a receipt for your notification letter.

If you are notified with a negative decision you have the right to submit an appeal request within 30 days by approaching the Window 4 of UNHCR 6th of October Main Premises in the 17 Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity, 7th District or by approaching UNHCR Alexandria Office, if you are residing in the northern governorates. If you do not wish to lodge an appeal against the first instance decision denying your asylum application, you will no longer be considered as person of concern to UNHCR.

How can I submit an appeal request?

You should collect an appeal request form from Window 4 of the UNHCR 6th of October Main Premises in the 7th District or download it from the Forms and Leaflets section of this website [Link to be inserted]. In your appeal request form you must include the following:

  • The reasons why you think the first instance negative decision is wrong, and
  • Your updated contact information.

You should then submit the duly filled appeal application form to Window 4 of the UNHCR 6th of October Main Premises 17 Mekka El Mokrama Street, 3rd proximity, 7th District or to the UNHCR Alexandria Office, if you are residing in the northern governorates. You will be given a receipt for confirmation of your appeal submission.

What will happen during the appeal process?

Different UNHCR protection staff members than the ones who were involved in the initial first instance decision review all appeal requests. Not all appeal requests will lead to an appeal interview. If an appeal interview is needed, you will be notified of the date of your appeal interview via SMS, and the appointment will also be available in the RSD status section of this website.

If the first instance decision is overturned, you will be granted refugee status; if the first instance decision is confirmed, your file will be closed.

When would my file be closed?

If your asylum claim is rejected on appeal, and if you miss your RSD appointments without any valid excuse and you fail to request a new appointment, your case will be closed. Reopening of a file is not a right and is not an automatic process; hence, the reopening of your file will be decided based on the merits of your case.

How can I contact the RSD Unit?

You can contact the Info Line at 02 2728 56 99 or you can approach the RSD Building 44A street, 2nd proximity, 8th District, 6th of October City.

UNHCR Egypt - Data & Information Management, 2019