What is asylum in Iceland?
When you apply for asylum in Iceland, you are asking the country to protect you from some kind of danger or life-threatening situation in your home country. You are requesting protection from Icelandic government because your own country is unable or unwilling to provide you with sufficient protection. This most commonly means that you are facing threats in your country and are persecuted because one (or more) following reasons: war, your race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity and/or sexual orientation; you are a member of a particular social group, or are persecuted due to your political opinion.
You can apply for asylum as soon as you arrive in Iceland - at the border control - or at any Icelandic police station. Once you have applied for asylum, you will be interviewed by a relevant official in private. You can ask for a translator or, if it makes you feel more comfortable, speak to an official of a different gender (for example, if you are a woman, you can ask to speak to a woman). island.is/en/international-protection-rights-and-applications/how-to-apply
As required by the requirements of international law, each asylum application is examined by the expert panel (asylum commission) and you should therefore try to prepare your evidence well (i.e. news publications, medical documents or similar). The examination process is commonly referred to as the asylum procedure, which in Iceland, if successful, ends with obtaining an Icelandic social security number, or so called "kennitala": if your asylum application is considered genuine and legitimate, you will receive (kennitala) and refugee status.
The Immigration Directorate, often called "UTL", will assign you a lawyer, a free legal aid, who can help you with your application during the asylum process. Make sure that you present all the evidence to your lawyer so that he or she can hand it over.
Note that the process of deciding can take up to a year and you will have a right to appeal (if decision is negative). However, note that during that time some of the rights and services may be limited, including the employment. It is best to familiarize with the rights, services and their limitations as per category listed below.
If your claim is rejected after the appeal (second rejection), you will have the right to go to the court and sue the asylum committee that decided on the second rejection. In that case you will have to cover the costs for the lawyer (can be very expensive, make sure to ask your lawyer for the cost estimate if you are considering to proceed to to the court) and the court process will not postpone or cancel the rejection, which means you will still be expected to leave the country.
If you still need more clarification on the meaning of asylum, please feel free to submit your question to our email address: email@example.com. But please note that the Red Cross is not deciding about your status (only the authorities of the country can do that) and cannot interfere or represent you in your individual case.