To legally stay in the UK as a refugee, you must apply for asylum. To be eligible, you must have left your country and be unable to return because you have a well-founded fear of persecution.
You should apply for asylum when you arrive in the UK or as soon as you believe it is unsafe for you to return to your own country. Your application is more likely to be approved if you apply at the first opportunity, so it is important to prepare as soon as you can.
After you apply for asylum, you’ll have a meeting with an immigration officer (this is known as a ‘screening’) and then an asylum interview with a caseworker. Most claims for asylum get a response within 6 months.