Registration of the asylum application

Republic of Ireland

Country Report: Registration of the asylum application Last updated: 25/05/23


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The right to apply for asylum is contained in Section 15 IPA. When a person presents themselves either at the IPO or at the frontiers of the State seeking international protection, he or she shall go through a preliminary interview at a time specified by an immigration officer or an international protection officer. That time limit is not, however, specified in the IPA.

In the case of families applying for international protection, all adult family members must make their own applications. An adult who applies for protection is deemed to be applying on behalf of his or her dependent children where the child is not an Irish citizen and is under the age of 18 years and present in the State or is born in the State while the person is in the protection procedure or not having attained the age of 18 years, enters the State while the parent is still in the protection procedure. There is no separate right for accompanied children to apply for asylum independently even if they have different protection grounds to their parents.


Preliminary Interview

Once an applicant presents to the IPO, the applicant makes a formal declaration that they wish to apply for international protection, outlined under Section 13 IPA. The applicant is interviewed by an authorised officer of the IPO to establish basic information. The preliminary interview takes place in a room where other applicants are waiting and being interviewed and is conducted by an official who sits behind a screen. If necessary and possible, an interpreter may be made available. Interpreters are provided by the IPO and typically must be requested in advance. Whereby an applicant presents without having requested an interpreter and an interpreter is not available, it is usually the case that the applicant’s basic details are taken by the IPO and they are then called back at a later stage, once an interpreter can be arranged.

The information provided by the applicant at interview is inserted into a standard form by the IPO officer entitled ‘IPF1’. The IPF1 contains the applicant’s biographical data, including their name, address and nationality, as well as the route travelled to Ireland and a brief summary of their asylum claim. The contents of the form are read back to the applicant, who is then required to sign it, and a copy is provided to them.

The purpose of this initial interview is to establish the applicant’s identity; country of origin; nationality, details of the journey taken to Ireland, including countries passed through in which there was an opportunity to claim asylum and any assistance obtained over the journey and the details of any person who assisted the person in travelling to the State; the method and route of entry into the state (legally or otherwise); brief details of why the applicant wishes to claim asylum, their preferred language and whether the application could be deemed inadmissible under Section 21 IPA. This interview usually takes place on the day that the person attends the IPO, though due to restrictions associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and resultant delays, applicants were sometimes called back for their initial interview on a separate day following registration of their claim. In such circumstances, the time period between a claim being registered and the initial interview taking place varied on a case-to-case basis. Typical waiting periods were approximately 2-4 weeks. However, the Irish Refugee Council Information and Referral Service became aware of cases whereby it took clients up to 2 months to complete their preliminary interview and receive their Temporary Residence Certificate. In a press release published on 8 April 2022, the Irish Refugee Council noted that in many cases, these applicants were staying in emergency accommodation where they had limited access to support and information. Moreover, without a Temporary Residence Certificate, applicants were unable to obtain PPS numbers and consequently, were not receiving their Daily Expense Allowance, thereby forcing individuals to live in abject poverty for long periods of time. In some instances, children were unable to access education, despite having arrived in the State several months previously.[1] A parliamentary question answered by Minister Roderic O’Gorman in April 2022 revealed that as many as 1,200 applicants are awaiting an appointment to complete their preliminary interview.[2] In the latter half of 2022, the IPO worked through the backlog of applicants awaiting registration. As of January 2023, applicants were facilitated in registering their application and undergoing their preliminary interview on the same day.[3]

The applicant is required to be photographed and fingerprinted. If the applicant refuses to be fingerprinted, he or she may be deemed not to have made a reasonable effort to establish his or her true identity and to have failed to cooperate.[4]

The information taken at the screening interview enables the IPO to ascertain if the person applying for asylum has submitted an application for asylum in, or travelled through, another EU country by making enquiries through Eurodac which will assist in determining if the Dublin III Regulation is applicable or not.


Application for International Protection Questionnaire

In accordance with the revised international protection procedure, pursuant to the European Communities (International Protection Procedures) Regulations 2022, an applicant attending at the International Protection Office in order to make an application for international protection is now required to complete their International Protection Questionnaire onsite at the IPO following the conclusion of their  to their preliminary interview.[5] The international protection questionnaire has been reduced significantly to just 24 questions in order to enable applicants to complete the questionnaire at the time of making their application.[6]

The revised questionnaire is considerably shorter than its predecessors at just 19 pages long and comprised of 11 sections.

Section 1 gathers the principal applicant’s basic biographical details (full name, identification numbers, address, former addresses).

Section 2 requests information pertaining to the applicant’s family, specifically their spouse/civil partner.

Section 3 collects information on the applicant’s education and employment history, including formal education/training and employment/self-employment.

Section 4 focuses on the basis of the claim for protection, allowing space for the applicant’s personal testimony; questions on any grounds for both refugee status and subsidiary protection, the applicant’s fears if returned, as well as reasons why their dependants fear persecution.

Section 5 focuses on state protection and asks whether the applicant reported what happened to them in their country of origin, seeks details on the applicant’s criminal record as well as information regarding whether the applicant or their dependants have ever been issued with a passport.

Section 6 deals with permission to remain. In the event that the applicant should be refused both refugee status and subsidiary protection, the minister will consider the person’s personal circumstances in order to determine whether he or she may be permitted leave to remain on the basis of humanitarian considerations. The applicant is encouraged to notify the IPO of any new information or circumstances pertaining to permission to remain at any stage they might arise in the process, including following an appeal at the IPAT, which adds an extra degree of responsibility upon the applicant. It is important to note that under S.I. 664/2016 International Protection Act (Permission to remain) Regulations 2016 an applicant only has a five-day period to provide a further submission on permission to remain after the IPAT decision.

Section 7 requires information as to any serious medical conditions the applicant or his/her dependants or both, have, as well as any documentary evidence of same.

Section 8 of the questionnaire contains information relating to the s.35 interview and asks the applicant about any special requirements they might have for the duration of the interview. It also requests that the applicant provide all available supporting documentation that may be relevant to their claim for both international protection and permission to remain in the State.

Sections 9-11 of the questionnaire ask for information about the completion of the questionnaire, including details of the applicant’s legal representative, if applicable.

Previously, the applicant received a more in-depth questionnaire, comprised of 34 questions, in their preferred language, which was required to be completed by the applicant and returned within 20 working days.

According to the IPO, the rationale for the new procedure is to ensure that international protection applications, particularly those from safe countries of origin, are dealt with in a timelier manner so as to increase processing capacity and reduce delays.[7] However, the Irish Refugee Council has written to the Minister for Justice, addressing numerous significant concerns in relation to the appropriateness of the revised procedure. Such concerns relate particularly to applicants who may have had traumatic experiences prior to their arrival in the state. These applicants are required to complete and submit their questionnaire in an open-plan waiting area at the IPO, an environment which is often extremely busy, noisy and tense. This raises significant concern in relation to the applicant’s privacy and personal data protection. Moreover, it is an extremely inappropriate physical space for applicants to complete such a significant document and gives rise to a risk of re-traumatisation insofar as particularly vulnerable applicants are concerned. Additionally, the revised process completely removes the applicant’s practical access to legal advice prior to the submission of their international protection questionnaire. Unless an applicant is accompanied to the IPO by a lawyer when making their application, they do not have the benefit of legal advice in advance of submitting their international protection questionnaire, a document upon which significant reliance is placed in the applicant’s substantive interview.

Translation services, as well as Cultural Support Officers are available to applicants in order to assist them in the completion of their questionnaire,[8] however, it is not clear what exactly the role of the Cultural Support Officer involves or the extent of the assistance they can be provide to applicants in the completion of their questionnaire. Having accompanied clients to apply for international protection on several occasions following the establishment of the revised procedure, in the Irish Refugee Council’s experience, Cultural Support Officers have not been present to assist applicants in the completion of their questionnaires, while the standard of translation services provided has been unsatisfactory given the importance of the questionnaire in the overall application process.

Following submission of their international protection application, applicants are directed to the international protection unit within the Legal Aid Board for free legal assistance and support completing the questionnaire once they have entered the international protection process. However, the Irish Refugee Council assisted a number of people who had registered with the Legal Aid Board and had been told to complete the questionnaire by themselves due to a general lack of capacity within the Legal Aid Board or a lack of capacity within the solicitors on the Legal Aid Board panel. Anecdotal reports show that the level of funding provided to the panel is insufficient to cover the number of hours required to give comprehensive representation. This issue persisted as of January 2023, with many applicants waiting in excess of 6 weeks to be assigned legal representation by the Legal Aid Board.[9]

In 2022, the Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre provided ongoing representation to 280 applicants at various stages in the international protection process. 48 clients received refugee status, while 24 clients received permission to remain. A further 67 clients received representation in respect of their family reunification application, and 22 clients were reunited with their family members following a positive family reunification decision.[10]

Upon registering their claim, the applicant is issued a Temporary Residence Certificate, which comes in the form of a plastic card and is referred to the International Protection Accommodation Services (IPAS).

Previously, if the applicant required accommodation, he or she would usually be taken to Balseskin Reception Centre in Dublin (near Dublin airport), where the applicant could then avail themselves of voluntary medical screening and counselling. However, due to a very significant lack of capacity in the Direct Provision system, all applicants are instead brought Citywest Transit Hub, located on the outskirts of Dublin. Owing to limited bed capacity, many international protection applicants were forced to sleep on the floor of the Convention centre or on chairs for periods of up to 6 weeks while awaiting transfer to more permanent accommodation.[11] Many applicants residing at Citywest have reported sub-standard, overcrowded living conditions, as well as significant child protection concerns, posing a risk to the personal safety, health and wellbeing of adults and children living at the facility.[12]

Applicants may also make their own arrangements for accommodation if they have the financial resources to do so, however it is crucial that they keep the IPO apprised of their address as any correspondence in relation to their claim will be sent to that location.




[1] Irish Refugee Council, ‘Press Release: Irish Refugee Council calls for clarity and action on the registration of asylum applications’, 8 April 2022, available at:

[2] Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, Response to Parliamentary Question Nos 612 and 613, 5 April 2022, available at:

[3] Information provided by Irish Refugee Council Information and Advocacy Service, January 2023.

[4] The consequences of such refusal are laid out in Section 38 IPA.

[5]  ibid.

[7] International Protection Office, The European Communities (International Protection Procedures) Regulations 2022 and the International Protection Act 2015 (Procedures and Periods for Appeals) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 FAQ’s, 8th November 2022, available at:

[8] ibid.

[9] Information provided by Irish Refugee Council Information and Advocacy Service, January 2023.

[10] Information provided by Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre, December 2022.

[11] Information provided by Irish Refugee Council Information and Advocacy Service, January 2023.

[12] RTÉ, ‘Child Safety Concerns at Citywest Transit Hub’, 19th December 2022, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation