If you are a non-UK national and need to travel outside the UK without the use of a passport from your own country, you will need to obtain UK travel documents from the Home Office.
The consequences of not having the correct permission when travelling can be significant, potentially affecting your ability to re-enter the UK. It is therefore important to ensure that your application is submitted correctly.
To be eligible to apply for UK travel documents, you must be lawfully resident and present in the UK in one the following eligible groups:
- You hold indefinite leave to remain.
- You are a person recognised as a refugee in the UK under the terms of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, or a person who has come to the UK on a Family Reunion visa to join a refugee who is present in the UK.
- You are a person who has been recognised as stateless under the terms of the 1954 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons.
- You have been granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave to enter or remain in the UK for a limited period following an unsuccessful asylum application.
Unless you are in the UK as a refugee or stateless person, to apply for UK travel documents you must also show that you have formally applied for and been unreasonably refused a passport by authorities in the country of which you are a national. This documentary evidence will need to be submitted with your application.
Types of UK travel documents
There are four different types of travel document that you can apply for, depending on your immigration status:
- Convention travel document – if you are applying as a refugee. For adult applicants this will be valid for up to 10 years (5 years for a child under 16), or in line with any conditions of leave.
- Stateless person’s document – if you are applying as a stateless person. For adult applicants this will be valid for up to 10 years (5 years for a child under 16), or in line with any conditions of leave.
- Certificate of travel – if you have limited or indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK without refugee status, and have been refused a passport by national authorities of your own country. For both adult and child applicants, this will be valid for up to 5 years or in line with any conditions of leave.
- One-way document – if you are a non-British citizen of any country (regardless of status) wanting to leave the UK voluntarily and not return, and do not have a valid passport/travel document of your own. For both adult and child applicants, this will be valid for one single journey out of the UK. It is valid for 12 months from the date of issue, but is designed for immediate use.
How to apply for UK travel documents
When applying for UK travel documents you can apply either online or by post using form TD112 BRP.
If your family are applying at the same time, send all your applications together to be processed concurrently. You will also need to provide documentary evidence in support of each application. Any documentation provided must be in original form and not photocopies.
The fees for applying for UK travel documents can vary depending on which type of document you are applying for.
Except where you are applying for a one-way document, anyone applying for UK travel documents must also have a valid Biometric Residence Permit.
UK travel documents can only be issued showing the same details recorded on your Biometric Residence Permit.
When to apply for UK travel documents
It is not possible to be granted UK travel documents for longer than your permission to remain in the UK.
If you have less than 6 months’ leave to remain in the UK on the date of travel, you should check if the country you are travelling to would accepts a travel document.
If you wish to extend your leave, you should make an application for further leave to remain in the UK before applying for travel documents.
It is not advisable to make arrangements to travel before you have secured your UK travel documents.
Lost or stolen UK travel documents
In the event that your UK travel documents are either lost or stolen, you will need to report and replace these. Even if you are not seeking a replacement you must still report the loss or theft to both the police and the Home Office.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.