INFORMATION FOR DETAINEES
What you can do to get your travel documents
If you do not have any more applications or appeals that you can make to remain in the UK, the Home Office will expect you to leave the country. Depending on your nationality, you will normally need to have a passport or some other travel document to be able to leave the UK and enter your country of origin. If you do not have a valid passport the Home Office will expect you to provide them with information about your identity to help them obtain a travel document for you.
If you do not cooperate with the Home Office when they try to get a travel document for you, they may say that this shows that you are likely to abscond if you are released. They will therefore use your lack of cooperation as a reason to keep you in detention.
If you want to obtain travel documents to leave the UK there are steps you can take - such as writing letters - to try to obtain them from your Embassy or High Commission in the UK.
Taking these steps will help you prove to the Home Office that you are co-operating with their attempts to get your travel documents so that you can be removed from the UK. If you have no legal advisor you can take these simple steps yourself. If you have a legal advisor they should advise you as to what steps they or you may need to take.
The purpose of writing letters to your Embassy or High Commission in the UK is to try to make progress in your immigration case.
Copies of all letters that you send to your Embassy or High Commission asking about your travel documents should be sent to the Home Office.
Copies of all letters that you send to your Embassy or High Commission asking about your travel documents should be sent to the Tribunal with your bail application form when you next apply for bail.
The aim of this approach is to show that you are co-operating with the Home Office, which serves as evidence that you will not abscond if released from detention. If there is a lot of delay in getting a travel document for you, the letters that you write may help in to decide at some point in the future whether your detention has become unlawful.
Your relatives may be able to provide evidence of your identity in your country of origin, which they can send to you in the UK or give to the British Embassy or High Commission in your home country.
The Red Cross says "to find your missing relatives, we need as much information as possible. We will help you fill out a form and send this information to the Red Cross or Red Crescent National Society in the country you think your relative is in, or to the International Committee of the Red Cross who will try to find your family. Our ability to trace people depends on the information you can provide and local circumstances, including the security situation in the relevant country.
If you or someone you know is held in an immigration removal centre and want to use the services, please contact your local Red Cross office".
You can find your local Red Cross office and use their 'Find My Missing Family' service by accessing their website.
1. KEEP A RECORD OF ALL PHONE CALLS WITH YOUR EMBASSY OR HIGH COMMISSION
Every time you have a telephone conversation with someone from your Embassy or High Commission you should write down on paper what you talked about, the questions that you were asked, and the answers that you gave.
Try to get the name and job title of the person you spoke to and write that down too, and put the day of the week, the date and the time as well. You should ask for their name at the start of the conversation.
If the telephone conversation does not go well or the Embassy official is rude to you, then you should keep calm and try not to get angry. When the phone call is finished write down as much as you can remember of what was said. This is important, because the Home Office may try to say later on that you have not cooperated with your Embassy if your telephone conversation did not finish properly.
You will then have a record of discussions that will help you to remember what was said, and which can be used as evidence in court.
If you fax a letter to the Embassy or the High Commission, remember to keep a copy of the document confirming that the fax has been sent and attach this to the letter that you sent.
2. KEEP ALL NOTES YOU SEND TO AND RECEIVE FROM YOUR CASEOWNER ABOUT TRAVEL DOCUMENTS
Every time you send a request to your Home Office caseowner to ask what is happening about your travel documents, make sure that you keep all your notes and their written responses. If they don't respond to one of your requests you should make a note on a piece of paper and keep the note.
You will then have a record of your requests for information and help with your travel documents. This will help you to remember what was said, and you can use your notes as evidence in court.
3. GET PROOF OF POSTING WHEN SENDING LETTERS AND FAXES
If you write letters to a family member or someone else in your home country or another country to try to obtain information about your identity you should:
- Keep a copy of the letter you sent and make a note on the copy of the date you sent it to be posted.
- Try to get ‘proof of posting' from the Post Office so that you can prove to the Home Office or the court that you have written the letter and are taking steps to obtain your travel documents. If you have a visitor from the visitors' group at your removal centre you could ask them if they will help you with this, but this may not be possible.
- Keep the envelopes of all letters that are sent to you, especially letters or documents from abroad, as this may prove date of posting.