How to apply for asylum in Iran

To apply for asylum in Iran, if you are in Iran, you may wish to approach your local BAFIA office.

In Iran, you can seek for asylum in the following ways:

  • crossing the border into Iran;
  • filing an application while residing outside of Iran;
  • indicating a request for asylum and entry into Iran;
  • filing an application while residing in Iran demanding asylum.
  • The Government of Iran, through the

Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrant Affairs (BAFIA), is responsible for the registration of asylum-seekers and refugees as well as for Refugee Status Determination in Iran.

Most websites linked in this article are in English or Persian. If you need, use Google TranslateTarjimly, or any other translation app.

Asylum process in Iran

An asylum seeker is identified by the following ways:

  • Crossing the border into Iran; upon entering Iranian territory, the refugee should present himself to the first border patrol station or appropriate Government official. If the refugee possesses a firearm, it should be handed up to Iranian officials in exchange for a receipt. The aforementioned authority shall receive the application and refer the refugee to the district border guard, who shall obtain the necessary information from the applicant and, through the Governorate or District Governorate Office, shall forward the application to the Ministry of Interior;
  • submission of an application while residing outside Iran;
  • denoting request for asylum and entry into Iran;
  • submission of an application while residing in Iran requesting asylum.

The Permanent Committee for Refugees (PCR) of the Interior Ministry is in charge of examining anybody who applies for refugee status.

If the application is approved, the disciplinary forces, the Iranian police, will issue a refugee booklet to the refugee, which will serve as an identification booklet and official identity for the holder and will be registered at the disciplinary forces’ station of the holder’s residence. Every three months, the holder must renew the booklet’s validity. Refugees should sign written agreements promising to follow the country’s rules and regulations for the duration of their stay.

Rights of refugees in Iran

Upon approval of the application, a refugee shall benefit from the rights accorded to Iranian nationals in the following areas:
1. use of medical, cultural and social services;
2. employment in the fields authorized for foreign nationals and those fields deemed appropriate by the Permanent Committee.

All refugees in Iran are treated equally regardless of race, creed, or country of origin.

A refugee has no right to participate in political or labor activity.

A refugee is free to conduct his own religious ceremonies and religious teaching for his children as long as it does not violate the country’s public order.

Refugees will be treated the same as foreign nationals who live in the country.

A refugee is free to pick his location of abode, subject to compliance with local laws and security concerns.

If refugees violate national security or the laws of the country, the Minister of Interior, on the recommendation of the Permanent Committee, shall cancel their refugee identification document, and if his act calls for criminal prosecution, he shall be given to judicial authorities. In any case, refugees must be given enough time to leave the country.

A refugee whose identification document has been revoked must stay under the supervision of disciplinary authorities until he leaves Iran.

If there are no threats to national security or public order, refugees will be issued a travel document that will allow them to travel abroad.

Refugees’ places of work and housing will be determined in accordance with the Permanent Committee’s instructions.

If the Permanent Committee determines that the circumstances that led to the refugees’ flight from their place of origin no longer exist, the refugees must leave Iran unless they can present adequate evidence that their fear of persecution remains.

Refugees shall not be forced repatriated to countries where their lives or freedom are threatened for political, racial, or religious grounds, or because they belong to a specific social group.

Citizenship will be granted to refugees who have fully complied with the country’s norms and regulations during their stay in the country.

A refugee has the same rights as a foreign national when it comes to purchasing movable and immovable property.

A refugee has the right to seek justice in Iranian courts.

Sources: UNHCR Help Iran, Iran: Regulations of 1963 relating to Refugees

The cover image is somewhere in Qom Province, Iran. Photo by Javad Esmaeili on Unsplash