Seeking asylum in Australia involves claiming refugee status and applying for a protection visa.  In general, people must have refugee status in order to be granted protection.

People who are outside Australia can apply to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). People who are in Australia apply to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection to have their status assessed.

The refugee status determination process determines whether a person is recognised as a refugee, and allows for the entitlements and rights afforded to refugee status. In Australia, having refugee status means someone may be issued a protection visa.

Most people seeking asylum in Australia arrive with a valid visa. Those who do not are detained in immigration detention facilities or the community while their applications are processed.

People who have refugee status or have been granted protection through the Special Humanitarian Program may be issued with permanent protection visas. People who have arrived in Australia without valid visas are issued with one of a number of temporary visas.

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Updated 2 July 2018

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