Frequently Asked Questions

Are RefugeeLaw services for free?

No. RefugeeLaw is a private refugee consultancy and is not subsidised by anyone. We put a lot of efforts and time in assisting our clients to ensure they get the most chances to reside legally and permanently in South Africa. RefugeeLaw is therefore not in a position to work for free.

How do I find out more about RefugeeLaw services?

RefugeeLaw is always glad to hear from new potential clients. You may contact us on 021 412 1502 or 064 976 5696 to find out more about the services we provide. We recommend that you send us a scanned copy of your latest asylum or refugee permits to info@refugee.co.za. This will allow us to get a better understanding of your case prior to the initial consultation.

Why should I use RefugeeLaw services?

Refugee Law specialises in one thing, refugee law. It provides tailor-made legal assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in South Africa. Each case is handled on the basis of your personal circumstances. We pay great attention to detail in order to maximise your chances of getting a positive outcome. We regularly follow up on your application to ensure that the adjudication process is finalised as quickly as possible. We are always available to answer our clients queries or concerns.

What is the purpose of the initial consultation?

RefugeeLaw charges R1,200 for the initial consultation. This consultation is a very important step. It allows us to get a thorough understanding of your case. Each case is different and RefugeeLaw applies a tailor-made solution to each of them. The consultation takes 30 to 60 minutes, sometimes more, during which we will ask you a number of questions to determine the way forward which will best suit your profile and needs.

Are RefugeeLaw fees refundable?

No. RefugeeLaw fees are determined on a flat-fee basis. One job, one price. Payment is upfront and is not refundable. Although RefugeeLaw uses its best endeavours to get a positive outcome, and will not accept cases with no reasonable chance of success, it cannot guarantee that your case will be approved. This decision is solely in the hands of the relevant authority or body despite the efforts and work we have put into your case.

I have applied for refugee certification a long time ago, but got no answer. What is happening?

In most cases, the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs is waiting for the initial asylum file before making a decision. It can take months before the Department of Home Affairs sends your file to the Standing Committee. In other cases, the application may have gotten lost or been misplaced. The first step RefugeeLaw will take is to approach the Standing Committee to find out what happened to your application. This will determine the way forward. The Standing Committee typically replies to enquiries within 2 to 3 weeks.

What kind of assistance does RefugeeLaw provide to prepare or update your application for certification to the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs?

Upon payment of the initial consultation fee (R1,200), we will interview you for about 30 to 60 minutes in order to get a thorough understanding of your case. The interview will take place either in our Cape Town office or over Skype.

You will for instance be asked questions in relation to:

a. the date when you left your country of origin
b. the route you followed to get to South Africa
c. the date your applied for asylum
d. the documents your received from Home Affairs throughout the process
e. the exact reasons you provided in support of your asylum application
f. the supporting documents we believe should be part of your application

At the end of the interview, a decision will to be made whether the merits of your case are strong enough to support an application for certification.

If yes, you will be provided with a quote.

Draft application for certification

After payment has been made, we will prepare a draft application.

This takes about 48 hours and includes the application form, the reasons for certification (typically 7 to 10 pages) and the relevant documents (typically 4 to 6 documents).

Review

A copy of the draft application will be emailed to you, so that you can review it and make comments.  Your comments will be taken into consideration in the final draft.

Signature

Once the application has been finalised, you will have to sign it, either in person at our office or electronically.

Courier

The application, which includes the application form, the reasons for certification and the relevant documentation, will be couriered by DHL to the Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs in Pretoria. You will then receive a proof of delivery to be attached to your personal copy of the application.

Follow-up

We will regularly follow up on the application and keep you posted on any issue brought to our attention by the Committee.

How long does an application for refugee certification take to be finalised?

The refugee certification process is impacted by a multitude of factors. The Standing Committee for Refugee Affairs, which adjudicates the applications for certification, is known to be understaffed. In addition, in most cases, before deciding on a application, the Standing Committee requests the initial asylum file from the Department of Home Affairs and it can take months before it receives it. In some instances, the application gets lost or has been misplaced. These factors explain why refugee certification is a lengthy and somehow unpredictable process. RefugeeLaw uses its best endeavours to fast-track the process by regularly following up on its clients’ applications.

RefugeeLaw is in Cape Town, but I am not. How can I use your services?

RefugeeLaw’s clients reside in different parts of South Africa. For those who do not reside in Cape Town, we use Skype or WhatsApp to conduct the initial consultation and finalise the work before it is sent to the relevant department or body. This has proven to be a very simple and effective way of dealing with cases and clients all over South Africa.

How do I know if RefugeeLaw will actually work on my case?

Once you are a client and have paid the relevant fee, you will be copied into all communications made to or received by the authority or body in charge of your case. You will receive a draft of any representations, application or appeal prepared by RefugeeLaw in your case. The draft will allow you to make comments and ask further questions if need be. Once you have approved the draft, you will receive the final document for your records, including proof of submission.

How do I get your banking details?

Banking details will be provided once you have decided to consult with RefugeeLaw.