Legal aid for asylum seekers


If you are applying for international protection status in Ireland, you should get legal advice as soon as possible. You can apply for legal aid through the Legal Aid Board.

International protection is the name given to applications for asylum. The International Protection Office makes a determination based on the information you provide in your application.

At the end of the application process, you may be granted one of the following:

  • Refugee status
  • Subsidiary protection status
  • Leave to remain

If your application is refused, you can appeal the decision. If you do not appeal, or your appeal fails, a deportation order may be made.

You can find information on how applications for international protection are processed on the International Protection Office’s website in a variety of languages.

The international protection process is complex and the outcome of your application will have a very important effect on your life, and the life of your family. It is important that you are represented by a solicitor with experience of international protection law.

What legal services are available to asylum seekers?

The Legal Aid Board provides confidential and independent legal services to people applying for asylum in Ireland. The Board's civil legal aid and advice scheme can assist with applications for international protection (covering both refugee status and subsidiary protection) to the International Protection Office and appeals to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal.

It can not assist you with a judicial review of how the decision on your application was made but you might be able to get civil legal aid for that separately.

The Irish Refugee Council Independent Law Centre also provides early legal advice and representation to people in the early stages of the asylum process.

Services provided

The Legal Aid Board can help you in the following ways:

  • It can give you advice before you submit your questionnaire to the International Protection Office or before you attend your interview in the International Protection Office
  • It can make written submissions to the International Protection Office in support of your application for asylum
  • It can represent you before the International Protection Appeals Tribunal
  • If your application for refugee status is refused, it can seek a review of a negative permission to remain decision by the Minister for Justice
  • It can also help if the International Protection Office decides to remove you from Ireland and send you to another EEA country under the Dublin III Regulation

Your obligations as a client

If you become a client of the Legal Aid Board you must:

  • Tell the Legal Aid Board your current address.
  • Attend all appointments made for you with your caseworker or solicitor in the Legal Aid Board. Strict limits apply at all stages of the asylum process and you could lost your legal aid services if you fail to attend appointments.

How much do I pay towards my legal costs?

If you are applying for legal aid to help you with a claim for asylum or subsidiary protection in Ireland, and your only income is the Daily Expenses Allowance and you have less than €4000 in savings and assets you will be asked to pay a contribution of €10. This covers both legal aid and legal advice. If you can’t pay this, you can request that the fee is waived on hardship grounds.

If you have more income or assets you will be means tested. You can read more about the general means assessment in civil legal aid and advice.

How to apply

To apply for legal aid and advice to assist you with your asylum application, you fill in the application form and send it to any of the three law centres that provide services for international protection applicants below.

Where to apply

Smithfield Law Centre

48-49 North Brunswick Street
Georges Lane

Tel: +353 1 646 9600
Fax: +353 1 671 0200

Cork North Law Centre

North Quay House
Popes Quay
T23 HV26

Tel: 1800 202420
Fax: +353 21 455 7622

Galway Law Centre

Seville House
New Dock Road

Tel: 1800 502400
Fax: +353 (0)91 562599

Irish Refugee Council

37 Killarney Street
Dublin 1

Tel: (01) 764 5854
Fax: (01) 672 5927

Page edited: 18 August 2021