You should only follow the steps below if you intend to cooperate with the documentation process.

1. Keep a record of all phone calls with your Embassy or High Commission

  • Keep details of all calls with the Embassy or High Commission including the date of the call, the name of the person you spoke to, and what you talked about including the questions that you were asked, and your answers.

  • 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.

  • Remember that you may need to send evidence of all your letters and faxes, and explanations of telephone calls, to the Home Office and the Tribunal when you apply for bail.

2. Each time you write to your caseowner at the Home Office about your travel document:

  • Keep copies of all notes you send to, and receive from, your caseowner about travel documents.

  • Ask your Home Office caseowner what is happening about your travel document, and make sure that you keep all your notes and their written responses.

  • You can also ask the Home Office to release you while you wait to be issued with a travel document.

  • Make sure that you keep copies of your letters and the Home Office replies.

3. Get proof of posting when sending and receiving faxes

  • Keep a copy of all letters that you send to friends or families that seek help with the documentation process. Make a note on the copy of the date you posted the letter.

  • 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, and help to evidence how you obtained the document.

Biodata form

This is a form that the Home Office may ask you to complete about yourself, your family, and your life in your country of origin that might be required to confirm your identity and nationality, and then get your travel documents.

Download here

Address, telephone and fax numbers for your Embassy or High Commission in the UK

You can find contact details on the London Diplomatic List, maintained by the UK government Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) , which lists all Embassies and High Commissions with addresses, names of all senior staff, telephone and fax numbers, plus email and website addresses.  This list has been circulated to groups who visit detainees, so you if you have a visitor you can ask them to look up details for you. Otherwise you can download the list from BID’s website.

Download here

Home Office Emergency Travel Document Reference Guide

This is a document produced by the Home Office, the ‘Country Returns Documentation Guide’, that shows what evidence you need in order to prove your identity to your embassy or high commission in the UK. The document also provides an estimate of how many weeks or months it might take to get a travel document with this evidence. You can download the list from the Home Office website at here.

An application to the Red Cross for help to trace your relatives in your home country via the Red Cross International Tracing service

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 by using the search tool on their website here.


Standard Letters only for people wishing to prove that they are cooperating with the documentation process

The following are some standard letters to embassies and high commissions, and to the Home Office. You can fill in your personal details by hand. Do not forget to take a photocopy of the letters before you send them, and keep the photocopy with all your documents. If you send the letters by fax, try to get the confirmation slip from the fax machine. You may need to go back to the office where it was sent from later on.

Letter 1

Embassy Interview Request Letter 1

Letter to your Embassy or High Commission in the UK asking for an interview with a consular official to establish your identity and get a new passport or travel document.

Download here

Letter 2

Embassy Interview Request 2 Letter (Chase Letter)

Reminder letter to your Embassy or High Commission in the UK to say that you have written to ask for an interview with a consular official to establish your identity, but you have had no response.

Download here

Letter 3

Letter to your Embassy or High Commission asking for a progress report on your passport application once you have had an interview with a consular official.

You can send this letter once you have had your interview and you are waiting for a response.  You can send this letter many times if you have been waiting for a long time after your interview but the embassy still has not told you what is happening with your passport application. 

Download here

Letter 4

Letter to your Embassy or High Commission asking them to confirm that they are unable to recognise you as a national or to issue you with a passport.

If your Embassy or High Commission is unable or unwilling to confirm your nationality, or to issue identity or travel documents after they have made enquiries and interviewed you, you should write a letter asking them to write to you to confirm that they cannot help you.   Keep copies of your letters. The purpose of trying to obtain such a letter from your embassy or high commission is to show that you have been refused a passport from your national authorities. 

Download here

Letter 5

Letter to MP requesting help with proving identity and obtaining travel documents.

To find the contact details for the Member of Parliament (MP) who represents the local area where your immigration removal centre is located refer to the MP contact list below.

Download here

Letter 6

Letter to the Home Office enclosing copies of correspondence to your Embassy or High Commission.

Letter to the Home Office enclosing copies of correspondence to your Embassy or High Commission. Remember to also provide the Tribunal with copies of all this correspondence when you apply for bail.

Download here

Home Office Country Returns Documentation Country Guides

Current Version

May 2018

Previous Versions

December 2017

June 2017









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