Asylum Aid and Statelessness

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Artwork © Alix Chauvet 2016

If you are stateless, you do not have nationality of any country. No country will look after you, you cannot vote in any country, and no foreign embassy will extend its help to protect your rights. You often have nowhere you can legally reside, and you cannot legally cross international borders because you lack identity and/or travel documents.

The human costs of statelessness are harrowing. Stateless people are left at risk of destitution, homelessness, exploitation and unlimited immigration detention.

This is one of the most complex areas of international protection– and we are determined to tackle it. Asylum Aid is at the forefront of work on statelessness in the UK.


How we work on Statelessness

Legal advice & representation

Asylum Aid offers free legal advice and representation for applications to remain in the UK as a stateless person under the Immigration Rules, Part 14. Stateless persons in need of legal advice and those assisting stateless people may be interested in our Statelessness Portal. Referrals can be made by email to:

We may also be able to assist with other matters affecting stateless persons, such as applying for asylum or problems with housing or support. If we can’t help, we will do our best to refer you to someone who can.

Cheerful little boy Nolte LourensPolicy & Advocacy

Asylum Aid’s Policy and Communications Team seeks to increase awareness and understanding of statelessness in the UK and to work with the Home Office towards improvements in statelessness decision making. Among other activities, we offer free training (both for lawyers and non-lawyers) on statelessness.

Please contact us if you are interested in training or can provide information about statelessness in the UK from your own work.

Read our briefing notes about statelessness here.


The Statelessness Portal

Our Portal is a free resource for stateless people, community groups, and others. It is designed to help them to understand the relevant laws and procedures, and helps them to find assistance and other useful resources.

The information here is provided to assist stateless persons, but it is not meant to be legal advice. We have tried to be as accurate as possible, but anyone using this information should check its accuracy with a qualified and experienced lawyer.

To access the Portal, click here.


The Statelessness Index

We are very excited to be a partner in the Statelessness Index developed by the European Network on Statelessness.

The Index assesses how countries in Europe protect stateless people and what they are doing to prevent and reduce statelessness.

Using this tool you can quickly find all the latest facts and figures concerning the situation of stateless people across Europe.

To access the Statelessness Index click here.

Key successes

statelessthumbnailIn 2011, Asylum Aid and UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) conducted detailed, ground-breaking research into the number, profile and situation of stateless people in the UK.

The report, Mapping Statelessness in the UK, found that stateless people in the UK live at daily risk of human rights infringement. It exposed a long-standing gap in immigration and asylum policy, a legal limbo in which many stateless people were lost, unable to obtain permission to remain in the UK, and unable to leave.

In 2013, after strong advocacy by Asylum Aid and UNHCR, the government introduced a statelessness determination procedure, under Part 14 of the Immigration Rules. The government also published its policy on applications to remain in the UK as a stateless person in 2013, and an updated version in February 2016. By the end of 2015, around 1500 people had submitted applications under the Immigration Rules relating to statelessness, with 40 positive decisions and 550 refusals.





Working with others

ensEuropean Network on Statelessness

Asylum Aid is a member of ENS, which brings together non-governmental organisations, academic initiatives, and individual experts committed to address statelessness in Europe.

Key ENS campaigns that Asylum Aid has supported include the #StatelessKids campaign to end childhood statelessness in Europe. The campaign includes a petition calling for action from the European Parliament that has received over 20,000 signatures.



unhcrThe UN Refugee Agency

We continue to collaborate with UNHCR in our work on statelessness. In 2014, UNHCR launched a campaign to end statelessness by 2024. Find out more about statelessness and sign UNHCR’s ‘I BELONG’ petition.

UNHCR also publishes lots of helpful statelessness resources on Refworld.