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Application Registration Card (ARC)

The UK offers sanctuary to those looking to claim asylum, with the Application Registration Card (ARC) playing a central role in their journey. Possession of an ARC is proof of claiming asylum, but it can be difficult to navigate the difficulties involved. From understanding the features, benefits and restrictions to advising employers on hiring ARC card holders, the terrain can be complex.

Manchester Immigration Lawyers has extensive experience in this area and will support you every step of the way. Contact our experts today on +44 (0)161 826 9783 or via our online form for tailored advice on your asylum case.

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    What Is the Application Registration Card (ARC)?

    The Application Registration Card, often called ARC, is a small plastic card issued by the Home Office to people who have applied for asylum. The ARC card is to show that you’re an asylum claimant or you’re the family member of someone who is doing so. It may be required by UK government staff, employers, educational personnel, or healthcare providers to check your asylum-seeking status. It allows you to remain legally in the UK while your application is being considered.

    The ARC lists some personal information, but it’s not an identity document. It contains:

    • Your country of origin.
    • Your name and age, and notes if the Home Office has any questions about your age.
    • Whether you’re allowed to work in the UK.

    Despite its introduction in 2002, the ARC underwent a fundamental change in July 2017 to streamline the system. Unlike before this major change, asylum seekers can now receive an ARC by post within three days of applying, including fingerprinting and photographing, which is also required for children over the age of five. The new ARC, which is now valid for two years from the date of issue, also includes an expiry date and the same information as the asylum database at the time of application.

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    Who Is Eligible for An Application Registration Card in UK?

    You can receive an ARC if you have applied for asylum or are dependent on a person who has applied for asylum and the application has not yet been decided.

    If you’ve applied for asylum and haven’t gotten your ARC within three days, you should check your mail or messages for a tracking number from Royal Mail or the ARC courier team of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Use this number to track your item on the Royal Mail website. If you don’t have a tracking number, you need to fill out the ARC enquiry form with your up-to-date address, email, and phone number. You’ll get your ARC once they have the right address.

    Remember that you must notify the Home Office of your current address in order to comply with Immigration Rules.

    If your asylum application has been rejected or withdrawn and you have made further submissions for examination, this will have the following effects on your eligibility for the ARC.

    • If you’re awaiting a decision on additional information you submitted for the denied original claim, you cannot receive an ARC because you don’t currently have an undecided asylum application.
    • If your newly submitted information allows you to renew your original asylum claim and it’s pending, then you’re back to being able to get an ARC.
    • If this additional information allows you to start a new claim and you’re allowed to appeal, you can have an ARC until your appeal rights are exhausted or if you choose not to appeal.

    In some cases, if your newly submitted information doesn’t allow you to start a new claim or renew your original claim, different rules can apply.

    If you are no longer entitled to an ARC, the Home Office will not be able to process or respond to your enquiry.

    Guidelines for Using An Application Registration Card

    If you have an ARC, it means you’re awaiting an asylum decision. Once you’re not waiting anymore, remember not to use the ARC and return it to your casework team.

    Using Your ARC in Daily Life

    • Applying for Benefits: The ARC doesn’t link to asylum seekers’ financial aid. If you need financial help, call Manchester Immigration Lawyers at 0161 826 9783 for guidance.
    • Working in the UK: Check the “Remarks” section of your ARC for your work eligibility. If your ARC has mistakes or you haven’t received an updated one within 5 days after getting work permission, reach out to the Home Office’s asylum team. Employers must use the Employer Checking Service to confirm your work rights.
    • Healthcare Services: You can access NHS services like GP, dental, optician care, and emergency treatments without an ARC. If you face issues with NHS services, contact the appropriate local team for assistance, including NHS local area team for England, Patient Advice and Support Services for Scotland, NHS Advice Direct for Wales, and Health and Social Care Online for Northern Ireland.
    • Education: Your ability to study in the UK will be outlined in your bail documents, not your ARC. Some schools might request to see your ARC, but the Home Office does not affect school decisions.
    • Banking: The ARC cannot be used as an ID for banking. You’ll likely need additional documents to open a bank account. For detailed banking advice, please contact Manchester Immigration Lawyers at 0161 826 9783.

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      Issues with the ARC

      If you’re experiencing any issues with your ARC, such as it being lost, stolen, damaged, confiscated, not received, expired, containing incorrect information, or having the wrong photo, you should report it via the online enquiry form available on the government’s website.

      Each person in your family must submit an individual form for their specific issues. If you are an unaccompanied minor seeking asylum, contact the Refugee Council for assistance. Here’s what to do for common ARC issues:

      • If you haven’t received your ARC, check with the staff at your temporary residence, such as a hotel or hostel, or contact the Home Office personnel responsible for your accommodation.
      • If your ARC has expired or is close to expiring, and you’ve recently applied for additional asylum support, send an email to the Casework Support Unit at to inquire about obtaining a new one.
      • For incorrect information on your ARC, such as your name, date of birth, place of birth, gender, nationality, or work status, your case team will verify the correct details before issuing a replacement. If there’s a change in your age, your caseworker will arrange for a new card.
      • If the photo on your ARC isn’t of you, you may need to attend an appointment to verify your personal details using biometric data such as fingerprints or a facial scan.

      Are the ARC Holders Allowed to Work?

      In the UK, those who have applied for asylum typically cannot work while their application is being processed. This is to ensure that their presence in the country is strictly for the purpose of seeking refuge. However, there are exceptions. For instance, if you as an asylum seeker have been waiting for a decision for more than 12 months, and the delay isn’t your fault, you may request the right to work from the Home Office.

      When such permission is granted, it comes with restrictions. The asylum seeker is limited to jobs that are in high demand and short supply within the UK, known as the “shortage occupation list.” This list, which is publicly accessible, includes various specialised roles that the country needs.

      If your asylum application is ultimately refused, and you have no further legal avenues to challenge this decision, you must then cease any employment. Following such a rejection, it is expected that you will make arrangements to leave the UK, as your permission to stay, which includes the right to work, is no longer valid.

      What Employers Should Know When Hiring An Asylum Seeker with An ARC

      If you’re an asylum seeker with an ARC card, here’s what your potential employer should know when hiring you:

      Employers must make sure that anyone they hire is authorised to work in the UK, including people with an ARC card. If they don’t, they can be heavily fined.

      Before offering you a job, your employer should check via the Employer Checking Service (ECS) that you’re authorised to work. They’ll need your details and your consent to do this.

      Your ARC card will state whether you’re authorised to work. Sometimes you may only be able to do certain jobs for which the UK urgently needs labour. Your employer should make sure that the work they’re offering is on this list.

      They’ll use the ECS to check this with the Home Office and should get a quick response.

      The employer will need to carry out this check before you start work and may need to repeat it later if your labour rights might change.

      Just because they’ve checked it once doesn’t mean there won’t be a problem forever. If your situation changes and you’re no longer allowed to work but do so anyway, your employer could face problems.

      To avoid trouble, employers should keep records of these checks, seek professional advice and put a good system in place to ensure they’re compliant.

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        How Can We Help?

        The UK is a vibrant country with a dynamic culture and diverse opportunities, making it an attractive place for asylum seekers to settle. Having an Application Registration Card (ARC) is crucial for asylum seekers as it gives them legal status while their application is being processed. However, the intricacies of immigration law and the role of the ARC within it can be challenging to go through on your own.

        Manchester Immigration Lawyers have extensive experience in helping asylum seekers and their families handle the complexities of the UK immigration system. If you’re struggling to understand your rights in relation to an ARC, or if you’re an employer looking to employ an asylum seeker, Manchester immigration solicitors can provide expert advice and support.

        We can guide you every step of the way, from confirming your right to work to updating your ARC details to ensure compliance with all Home Office requirements.

        Get in touch with Manchester Immigration Lawyers today either on +44 (0)161 826 9783 or via our online contact form. We’ll be happy to give you personalised advice and make your journey through the immigration process as smooth as possible.

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                  Frequently Asked Questions

                  If an ARC holder’s circumstances change, such as a change in address or family situation, they should inform the Home Office immediately. Keeping the Home Office updated ensures the asylum process goes smoothly and prevents potential issues.

                  If you are seeking asylum in the UK, it’s important to stay within the country while your application is being processed. Travelling outside of the UK during this period is not permitted and can have negative consequences on the status of your asylum claim. Leaving the country might suggest to the authorities that you have a safe place to return to, which could jeopardise your chances of being granted asylum.

                  If your request for asylum is turned down, you cannot keep the ARC and must give it back to the Home Office. This card is only for those whose applications are still being reviewed or accepted. Without it, individuals don’t have the official permission to stay in the UK.

                  If an ARC holder’s asylum application is approved, they are granted refugee status or another form of protection in the UK. This means they can stay in the country legally, work without restrictions, and access public services. They will no longer need the ARC, as they will have different documentation to prove their status.