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Travel documents UK

To travel from another country to the United Kingdom, individuals are advised to prepare travel documents before their departure to ensure entry into the country. If the correct travel documents are not available, individuals may apply for UK travel documents.

Call our friendly team today on 0333 222 0145 or get in touch with IAS UK immigration experts to find out more about ILR and our immigration services.

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    Travel documents

    A UK Border Agency issued ‘travel document’ is internationally recognised as a temporary travel document. Commonly given to individuals who find themselves classed as alien residents, refugees or stateless people and are unable to obtain a national passport.

    The documents most individuals will require to travel normally are:

    • A passport (unless from the Common Travel Area) that will remain valid for the duration of your stay
    • A valid visa, if appropriate
    • A biometric residence permit

    There are many nationalities who can enter for periods of up to 6 months without a visa (or up to 3 months if entering from Ireland).

    However, if these documents cannot be obtained by an alien resident, refugee or stateless person then they can apply to be issued either:

      • A convention travel document for refugees.
      • A stateless person’s document for stateless people.
      • A certificate of travel for individuals who cannot obtain a travel document from their country of citizenship.
      • A one-way travel ticket out of the United Kingdom.

    What counts as a travel document UK?

    A bona fide valid passport or travel document should:

    • Contain the photograph, name and date of birth of the holder.
    • State the holder’s nationality.
    • State if the individual is stateless or seeking asylum.
    • Be valid for travel to the UK.

    an airport with a british airways flight


    There are certain eligibility requirements that an individual needs to meet before they can apply for Travel Documents.

    The eligibility requirements are as follows:

    • The individual applying is not a British citizen.
    • The individual applying is unable to acquire a passport of travel document from their own country.

    Individuals must provide sufficient and suitable evidence to prove that their situation needs an emergency travel document issued, and also must explain why their passport was refused in the first instance.

    The following situations could be valid reasons why an individual may not need a visa to travel urgently:

    • An employment position, business trip, or educational trip.
    • Leave of compassion, for instance if a family member has become ill or has passed away.
    • Religious exemption

    Depending on certain individual circumstances, applicants may be required to prove that they have attempted to apply for a passport from their country’s national authorities but were unreasonably refused.

    If so, applicants will need to be willing to prove:

    • That they do not have permission to be in the UK as a refugee or stateless person.
    • They have humanitarian protection but it has not been officially accepted.

    Your application form is not considered ‘unreasonably refused’ if one of the following is true, as it will be classed as a personal error:

    • There were inconsistencies or errors within the application.
    • There was not enough supporting evidence to confirm identity and or nationality.
    • There is a requirement to complete military service in your home country.
    • There is evidence of a criminal record you hold in your home country.
    • There is evidence to show you committed tax fraud in your home country.

    Applicants will not have to prove that they have been ‘unreasonably refused’ a passport if one of the two following reasons is true:

    • They are under humanitarian protection with a fear of their home countries authorities.
    • They must be in their country to apply for a passport.
    • Their country’s national authorities cannot issue passports in the UK or send an application to their own country to be processed.


    Individuals are able to apply for a refugee travel document if they:

    • Have refugee status in the UK, or;
    • Originally came to the UK on a family reunion visa to join someone who has refugee status.

    The travel document will be valid for a maximum of 10 years if the individual has Indefinite Leave to Remain (settled in the UK).

    If an individual has Leave to Remain, the travel document will be valid up to 5 years.

    If the individual is 15 or under, the document will be valid for up to 5 years.

    The costs of the documents are as follows:

    • £75 for adults.
    • £49 for children aged 15 or under.

    Stateless people

    Stateless persons travel documents will be valid for up to one way document up to 10 years if they have acquired Indefinite Leave to Remain.

    If an individual has Leave to Remain, the document will usually be valid for a limited time of up to 5 years.

    If the applicant is 15 years old or under, the document will be valid for up to 5 years.

    Travel document holders are typically granted freedom to enter all countries on a stateless person’s travel document.

    There are differing fees for children and adults. The costs are as follows:

    • £75 for adults
    • £49 for children 15 or under

    Do you need help arranging your UK travel documents? Our lawyers can assist you. Get in touch

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      Apply for a Home Office Travel Document

      You can use an official UK passport abroad if you haven’t been granted an official UK passport. Make sure your destination pays to accept your visa.

      someone writing a on a piece of paper

      Certificate of travel

      You can apply for a certificate of travel if you adhere to the following requirements:

      • You have acquired Leave to Remain or Indefinite Leave to Remain (permission to stay in the UK) and your country of origin has refused you a passport.
      • You are seeking asylum in the UK under humanitarian protection.
      • You have a vital reason to travel to your country of origin, but your country cannot provide you with a passport quickly enough.

      How long does it take to get a travel document UK?

      An emergency travel document can be made available to you for use within 24 hours. Normally, it will be ready to collect 2 working days after you apply.

      However, applicants should anticipate waiting a couple of weeks for the documents to travel given the current climate especially if their current passport has expired.

      How Can IAS Help

      Our immigration team have exceptional experience in helping individuals navigate their immigration issues and the legal implications of their decisions.

      Being denied travel documents for whatever reason can be stressful and create uncertainty with your short-term or long term travel plans.

      Rest assured that our lawyers can assist you with whatever situation you find yourself in, and can long-termguide you to the safest immigration option.

      Our lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of immigration, and understand the implications this status holds for individuals, especially those in uncertain circumstances.

      Call our friendly team today on 0333 222 0145 or get in touch with IAS UK immigration experts to find out more about ILR and our immigration services.

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