Where are you going to seek asylum?
to enter the asylum country legally, with a visa if one is required.
Visas are often difficult, but not impossible to obtain. But compared to an
illegal journey, it is much safer to travel with a visa. Visa are normally
refused when the applicant is suspected to apply for political asylum. Only
high profile refugees and refugees with a very strong link to a certain country
of asylum sometimes get a visa for the purpose of applying for asylum. The
U.S. and other resettlement programs might sometimes help if you already left
your country. But you cannot rely on them as they tend to be restrictive. Read
some suggestions on obtaining a visa for more tips.
Many thousands of asylum seekers still travel by a tourist or business visa
to their targeted asylum country or a neighbouring country that is ready to
issue a visa. In order not to be sent to the visa issuing state they frequently
destroy their original travel documents before applying for asylum. They pretend
to have another name than the one on the passport. But there are some risks:
- You are less credible when you try to be somebody else, even when telling
the real true story that happened to you. You should therefore reveal your
real identity once you have got access to an asylum procedure.
- Some asylum countries verify whether the applicant has really lived at a certain
place in his country of origin. This is another reason to reveal your identity
once you are in the asylum procedure.
- Your real identity might get revealed when your fingerprints have already
been registered within the same state or by one of the European Union states
co-operating by a common fingerprint recognition system (Eurodac). This fingerprint
recognition system registers people who applied for asylum for a period of
ten years and those who entered illegally one of the European Union states
for two years.
- Your real identity can also be revealed by the so-called Schengen
Information System (SIS) which registers people who asked for visa or had
to leave one
of the European Union Member States. SIS registers names, alias names, dates
and places of birth, civil status, unique physical characteristics, passport
data, but no photographs, fingerprints, or other biometrical data yet (biometrical
means: measuring electronically a part of the body). If somebody uses an
authentic passport which has already been used once for an illegal entry
or stay in the
European Union, the SIS will also detect it. Biometrical data will be included
to the next generation of SIS, SIS II, that is also aimed at integrating
the 10 new European Union member states. Biometrical data and an electronic
will be integrated in the future visa of the European Union (from the end
of 2005 onwards). The United States of America already now use biometrical
and an electronic photo in their visa.
Please note also that airways personnel or European/American border policemen
working at airports in your country or a transit country sometimes detect falsified
visa or travel documents. There is no asylum in the plane yet. Only once on
the ground of the targeted state you can apply for asylum. According to some
reports this right is even not always respected at European airports! Inform
a friend or a help organisation for refugees of your arrival if you are really
in immediate danger at home when returned by plane to your country!
Some of these risks also exist when a refugee uses a travel document issued
on another, a wrong name. This practice will become even more common: It
is not easy to falsify a high tech visa. But it is easy to falsify a standard
passport or to bribe somebody to get an original passport on a wrong name.
In this case like in all others we recommend to reveal the identity once
to an asylum procedure has been granted. By the way: If a refugee reveals
his real identity after the illegal entry he cannot be punished for illegal
(Article 31 of the Geneva Convention).