The course of the interview

How the interview works

The protection officer interviews every applicant individually. The interview proceeds in a professional and calm way and can take up to 4 hours. There is at least 1 break.

Purpose and course of the interview

At the beginning of the interview, the protection officer gives information about the purpose and the course of the interview:

  • the statements of the applicant remain confidential
  • the interpreter is neutral and has an obligation of professional secrecy.

During the interview, the applicant must tell the truth and do everything possible to prove his identity, origin, travel route and statement. Among other topics, the protection officer asks questions about the identity of the applicant, the 'nature' of the persecution, the reasons for the persecution, the parties involved ('actors') in the persecution, the fear in case of a return and the evidence. These are the documents that the applicant presents as proof of his identity or asylum motives.

At the end of the interview, the protection officer asks the applicant and the lawyer, representative or trusted person if they would like to clarify certain points.

The presence of children

Children older than 1 year can cause distraction. To make sure the interview proceeds in optimal circumstances for the applicant, it is not advisable to bring children to the interview:

  • the applicant may lose concentration or feel inhibited in the presence of the child
  • the child may hear painful stories in an unfamiliar environment
  • the presence of a child can make it more difficult for the interpreter, the lawyer or representative to concentrate.

If both parents are invited to an interview and  bring their child with them, they can wait in the family waiting room. While the protection officer interviews one parent, the other parent can keep an eye on the child.

Single parents
  • Before the interview, the parent informs the CGRS in writing about the days on which the child goes to school or day care. The CGRS will take this into account to plan the interview.
  • If the child does not go to school or day care, it would be best for the child to stay with family or friends or a qualified person in the reception centre during the interview.

If the child does come to the interview, a family member or friend can keep an eye on the child in the family waiting room during the interview.

The interview report

The protection officer notes down the entire conversation (questions, answers and any problems that occurred) in an interview report. The protection officer does not read this report to the asylum applicant. The applicant does not receive a copy. The applicant or the lawyer can, however, ask to see the full asylum file and/or to receive photocopies.