asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether those who have applied for asylum in the United Kingdom are entitled to travel abroad while their applications are being considered; and whether the proposed new smart cards to be issued to asylum seekers will be valid as travel documents for re-entry into the United Kingdom.
Asylum applicants who travel abroad while their claim is being considered are deemed to have withdrawn their application for asylum in the United Kingdom.
The application registration card (ARC) is not a travel document and will not confer the right of re-entry to the United Kingdom. The purpose of the ARC is to show that the holder has lodged an asylum application with the Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate. It will replace the standard acknowledgement letter (SAL) which is currently used and provide evidence of entitlement to the facilities or services available to asylum seekers.
The ARC's format and security features, which includes the holder's fingerprints, will make positive identification more straightforward to establish and help prevent abuse.