When you arrived in Norway, you were told what would happen to you now that you have become an asylum seeker. Unaccompanied minors (children and young people under the age of 18) have a special need for protection. In this chapter we explain what opportunities you have and what you are entitled to during your initial period in Norway.
Reception centre for unaccompanied children
Unaccompanied child asylum seekers have special rights. Asylum reception centres have separate units for unaccompanied children and teenagers. These units are staffed around the clock. One of the people working at the reception centre will be your particular contact person. The staff at the reception centre are responsible for you and will help you with your day-to-day needs.
When you arrive in Norway, a guardian will be appointed for you. Your guardian will make sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to. He or she will also look after your legal and financial interests. Ask the staff at your reception centre about the help you can expect from your guardian.
You will also be given the help of an attorney. Your attorney will help you apply for asylum in Norway. You should normally meet your attorney before your interview with the UDI, and he or she will help you prepare for that interview. Afterwards, you and your attorney will go through the interview and make sure that everything in the statement is correct. If your application for asylum is refused, your attorney will help you make your appeal.
Every child in Norway must go to school. If you are aged between 6 and 16, you will attend a primary or lower secondary school. Your asylum reception centre will enrol you at the appropriate school. If you are aged between 16 and 18, you are entitled to attend a course of Norwegian language tuition. You may also be entitled to tuition in those subjects taught up to lower secondary school level. Then the aim is for you to take the lower secondary school final examination. The staff at your reception centre will communicate with your school and ensure that you receive help with your homework.
You will have many subjects to study at school. But there are things you will need to know that the school will not cover. As an asylum seeker you need to know what you are entitled to and what opportunities you have. You also need to know what you must do yourself in various situations. The staff at your reception centre will tell you about these and a number of other issues as part of the information programme.
Confirming your age
Some adults claim to be under the age of 18 because they think it will give them a better chance of being granted asylum. That is why it is usual for the UDI to carry out a medical examination to determine an asylum seeker's age. You may agree to undergo this examination or refuse, but it could weaken your case if you do not undergo this examination.
Searching for parents or relatives
When you arrive in Norway, you may be given help to find your parents, if they are still alive. You may also be given help to find other relatives. If you provide information which can help in the search for your family, it will be easier to contact them. You can talk to the staff at your reception centre to find out more about how you can try and contact your family.
The UDI processes applications from child asylum seekers faster than other applications. This is done to make your stay at the reception centre as short as possible. If you are granted a residence permit in Norway, you should receive an offer of resettlement from a local authority no later than three months after the UDI has granted you permission to stay here. Talk to the staff at your reception centre for more information about your situation.
If you wish to return home, you can ask the staff at your reception centre how you can get help with your travel arrangements.
You are entitled to pocket money while you are staying at the asylum reception centre. The amount you receive will be larger if you buy your own food and groceries. The money is intended to cover clothes, medical treatment, medication, etc. The manager of your reception centre will look after your money if you are an unaccompanied child asylum seeker. You decide together what the money shall be spent on. Ask the staff at your reception centre about how much money you are entitled to.