Asylum seekers, who have just arrived in Denmark, can get early counselling about the Danish asylum procedure from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). The counselling sessions take place at Reception Centre Sandholm and are part of the obligatory information sessions for new asylum seekers.
The DRC counsellors also visit asylum centres around Denmark and offer counselling about all phases of the asylum procedure. We also offer counselling over the phone, video or at meetings in person at our office in Borgergade, Copenhagen, as well as in Danish prisons.
You are always welcome to contact us, if you have questions about the Danish asylum procedure or need counselling on your case. You can ask the personnel at the asylum centre or the prison to arrange a counselling session with us.
Interpretation for asylum seekers
- There will be an interpreter present during all interviews with the Danish authorities. As an asylum seeker, you have the right to an interpreter, who you understand – and who understands you.
- If you have difficulties understanding the interpreter, or do not feel comfortable with the interpreter, you must always tell the authorities. You can risk that it will not be possible to replace the interpreter on the same day, but it is important that the interpreter understands you.
- The interpreter has a duty of confidentiality and must not tell anyone about you or your situation. The interpreter is not allowed to share her or his own views or to provide good advice during the interview.
- If you want an interpreter of a specific gender, you should inform the authorities well in advance of the interview. You can ask the personnel at the centre to contact the Danish Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen).
Obligation to participate and provide information
- As an asylum seeker you have the duty to attend and participate, when the Danish authorities call you for an interview, and you must explain the authorities about everything that is relevant for you case.
- You also have a duty to tell the truth, because it can have big consequences for a possible residence permit, if the authorities later find out that you have provided false information. It is relevant when it comes to your identity, regarding your name, age and nationality, as well as information about the reasons for your asylum claim.
- Even though it can be difficult to talk about the reasons you had to flee, you have the obligation to answer all the questions, which the authorities ask you. You must also show your passport, travel documents or other documents, you have brought with you, if the authorities ask you.
About the asylum interview
- The asylum interview is important for how the authorities assess your asylum claim. It can be some long and intense interview, where you have to explain about difficult issues and answer a lot of questions. You can always ask for a break if you need it.
- You should prepare thoroughly before you attend the interview on your asylum claim, and you can e.g. try to remember dates and sequences of the events, which led to your flight. You can also make a timeline to assist your memory in advance of the interview.
- You must explain about all the problems you had in your home country and about all the reasons that you have applied for asylum in Denmark.
- As far possible, explain about your problems in the order in which they happened. Your explanation about why you fled and need asylum, should be as detailed, truthful and coherent as possible. Even though it can be difficult to explain about the experiences that you escaped from, and because you might lack confidence in authorities and police.
- The Danish authorities will ask many questions about small details, which will be written down in your case, e.g. questions on what, who, where, how, when, why and how long. All the questions are important for the Danish Immigration Service to understand, what you have been through and why you cannot return to your home country.
- You must answer all the questions of the authorities as well as you can. If you feel insecure about some details, then be honest and answer that you are not certain about your reply. The same goes for dates and timeslots.
- It can be difficult to talk about the reasons for the flight – especially with a person, you do not know. But even though it is difficult, and even though it might be about some very personal issues, it is important that you explain as detailed and exact as possible.
- The Danish authorities will process your information confidentially, and they will not share your information with the authorities of the country, you have fled from, or other irrelevant persons.
- Conflicts in the family can also be relevant for an asylum case, so remember to explain about all the problems you have had and which are the reasons that you are afraid to return to your home country.
- You can explain the authorities about issues, which your family members do not know of, or which you do not wish for them to know that you have informed the Danish authorities about. You can ask the Danish Immigration Service to keep the information secret from your family.
- You must quickly inform the authorities in case you find out that you have forgotten to explain something during the interview, e.g. about a detail that is important for your asylum case. You can e.g. write a letter to the Danish Immigration Service in your mother tongue.
- In case you do not inform the authorities until after you have received a possible first instance rejection from the Danish Immigration Service and your case is being processed by the Refugee Appeals Board, the authorities might not believe the new information, because you did not explain about it early in the procedure.
- During the interview, the case worker from the Danish Immigration Service will draft a summary of the conversation, which the interpreter will translate for you at the end of the interview.
- It is important you listen well to the translation of the summary, and that you provide comments, if you think that something is wrong or lacking in the summary. You can ask the interpreter to read the summary thoroughly for you and translate each sentence.
- You must sign each page of the summary, thereby confirming that what you have heard the interpreter translate is a correct depiction of your explanation during the interview. You have the right to get a copy of the summary, which is written in Danish. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get a written translation of the summary from the authorities.
- The authorities will use the interview summary to make a decision in your case. It is thus important that it is coherent with your explanation.
About the role of the Refugee Appeals Board
- If the Danish Immigration Service rejects your application for residence as a refugee in the first instance, your case will automatically be appealed to the Refugee Appeals Board (Flygtningenævnet).
- You have the right to be represented by a lawyer when your case is being examined by the Refugee Appeals Board. The lawyer is paid for by the Danish state.
- You will receive a letter from the Refugee Appeals Board with a list of lawyers, who are familiar with asylum and migration law. You can either choose a lawyer yourself or let the Refugee Appeals Board make the choice for you.
See the list over lawyers on the website of the Refugee Appeals Board here (Advokatliste)
For rejected asylum seekers
The DRC Asylum Department provides impartial counselling for rejected asylum seekers about the rules in Denmark and the possibilities to get support upon voluntary return.
Read more about DRC’s counselling for rejected asylum seekers here.