If you're going to be deported from the UK
You might have to leave the UK if you’ve broken immigration rules. It’s called ‘administrative removal’ or ‘removal’ if you’re asked to leave because you’ve:
overstayed your permission to live in the UK
had an application to stay in the UK refused
broken the rules of your visa or leave to remain - for example if you worked without permission
Administrative removal is different from deportation. You can be deported if you’re a foreign national and have completed your prison sentence for committing a crime. This is also called ‘removal for the public good’. Your family can also be deported.
If you’ve been told you’ll be removed or deported should get specialist immigration advice as quickly as possible - read more about getting specialist immigration advice.
Challenging the decision to deport or remove you
If the Home Office wants you to leave the UK, they’ll tell you in writing. You can challenge their decision by explaining why you should be able to stay in the UK. Your letter will tell you how to challenge the decision.
You should get help from an immigration specialist if you want to challenge the Home Office’s decision. An immigration specialist will discuss your situation and help you challenge the decision. For example, you might be able to stay if leaving would go against your human rights or if you can apply for asylum.
If your challenge is rejected
The Home Office will send you a letter with information explaining how to leave the UK. It’ll say whether or not you can appeal the decision.
If you can appeal
You’ll need to get help from a specialist immigration adviser. They’ll look into your case to see if an appeal is likely to succeed. They’ll look at things like:
you have strong connections and family in the UK
the original decision discriminates against you - like if the reason for your deportation is your ethnicity rather than your nationality
going back to your home country would be unsafe
You could also ask your MP for help if you decide to appeal. They can:
get your case looked at again if you think a mistake has been made
ask the Home Office to look at your appeal quickly
You can contact your MP for help if you decide to appeal.
It’s best to leave voluntarily if your adviser says an appeal isn’t likely to succeed. If you don’t you’ll be banned from coming back to the UK for 10 years if the government takes you out of the country.
You can also get in touch with your MSP for help.
Appealing if your first appeal fails
You can appeal again if your first appeal fails. Speak to a specialist immigration adviser - they’ll tell you if another appeal might succeed. You can stay in the UK while your appeal is being considered.
If you have new evidence showing you should be able to stay in the UK, you might be able to make a new application. For example, if there was new evidence proving your relationship with someone who has the right to live in the UK.
If you can’t make any further appeal
When you can’t make any more appeals and don’t leave voluntarily, the Home Office will start making arrangements to take you out of the UK. You won’t be able to return to the UK for 10 years.
If you can’t appeal
If you can’t appeal, you might be able to take your case to a judicial review. You’ll need to do this within 3 months of receiving the Home Office’s decision.
Judicial review might be a good option if there’s been a legal or administrative error. You should get help before deciding to ask for a judicial review - check with an immigration specialist.
Leaving the UK voluntarily
You can choose to leave voluntarily if:
there’s no formal deportation order against you
you have overstayed
If you pay for your journey home, you can apply to return to the UK in 1 year.
You should write to the Home Office to tell them that you’re planning to leave.
If you can’t afford to leave the UK
If you can’t pay for your journey home, you might be able to get help from the government. For example, they can help pay for your flights and documents. This is called 'voluntary return'.
The government can help you return home if any of the following apply:
- you entered the country illegally or overstayed your visa
- you applied for asylum
- you were forced into modern slavery - for example, if you've been trafficked
- you're an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen and you don't have permission to live in the UK - for example, if you're not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme
You might also be able to get up to £3,000 to help you settle down when you return home. You can check if you can get financial help to return home on GOV.UK.
Returning to the UK
If you got help from the government to return to your home country, you can usually apply to return to the UK:
in 2 years if you leave within 6 months of being told to leave
in 2 years after your appeal was refused or after an administrative review
in 5 years if it takes you longer than 6 months to leave
You might have a right to an administrative review when you don’t have a right to appeal to an independent tribunal. In an administrative review, a senior officer at the Home Office will review the decision.
You might be able to return sooner if you’re applying as the partner of someone who has the right to be in the UK. You might also be able to return sooner if you’re the parent of a child in the UK.
If you’re going to be removed from the UK but there’s no formal deportation order against you
You must get legal advice and tell the Home Office immediately if there’s any other reason you should be allowed to stay in the UK. You might need to explain why you didn’t mention that reason earlier.
Being deported or removed from the UK
You won’t be taken out of the UK immediately - it usually takes a while for the Home Office to arrange for you to go. During this time you’ll have to visit an immigration reporting centre. You’ll usually have to go to the reporting centre every 2 weeks or once a month.
Being taken into detention
You’ll be take to a detention centre if you’ve been told you have the leave the UK soon. You’ll have to stay there until you leave the UK.
You might also be taken to a detention centre if the Home Office thinks you might try to avoid being deported.
You shouldn’t be taken into detention if you’re particularly vulnerable to harm in detention, for example because of your mental health, you’re pregnant or because of a physical disability. If you are detained despite being vulnerable you should apply for bail.
You can be taken into detention at any time. You’re most likely to be taken in when you’re visiting the reporting centre, but it can happen any time. It’s best to be prepared, so make sure you have important documents with you. This includes all your documents related to your immigration case - like copies of applications and refusal decisions.
You’ll get at least 3 days’ notice of being taken out of the UK.
You should be given information in your own language explaining your rights while you’re there. If you don’t receive this, you should ask for it. Your rights include:
having visitors, receiving post and telephone calls, using the internet
applying for bail
keeping your personal property
communicating with the outside world - for example to tell people in your home country that you may be returning, contact a lawyer or send and receive documents about your case
staying with your family, if they’re detained with you
Getting bail this means the government agrees that you won’t need to stay in detention. Your chances of getting bail are better if you or someone agrees to guarantee to pay money if you run away.
If you want to ask for bail, you can get free help from Bail for Immigration Detainees. This is a charity which provides legal advice to anyone held in detention in the UK. They make free applications to get asylum seekers and migrants released from detention. Their website also has self-help guides.
Bail for Immigration Detainees
Telephone: 020 7456 9750
Monday to Thursday, 10am to 12pm
Calls cost up to 13p per minute from landlines, 3p to 55p from mobiles
Get help from a legal adviser
You also have the right to ask to see a legal adviser while you’re in detention. They'll help you apply for bail and make further appeals if there’s new information about your situation.
If you want to see a legal adviser, ask for an appointment with the duty solicitor under the Detention Duty Advice Scheme. You can read more about the Detention Duty Advice Scheme.