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Travel Documents UK

There are many non-UK nationals that travel in and out of the UK each year using their passports. However, in certain circumstances, a valid passport from their native country may be unattainable. If so, travellers can apply to the Home Office for a UK Travel Document and if successful, use it as an alternative.

The application process to gain UK travel documents can often be complex and daunting. Different travel documents are available for people in various circumstances, and knowing which one to apply for can sometimes cause anxiety and stress.

However, our team of specialist immigration lawyers can guide you through the entire process from start to finish quickly and easily. For help with your UK travel document application, call us today at 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.


What is a UK Travel Document?

UK travel documents from the Home Office allow non-UK nationals to travel in and out of the UK without a valid passport providing certain criteria can be met. There are 4 different types of travel documents available and the applicant should apply for the one that best fits their circumstances.

Am I Eligible to Apply?

To be eligible to apply for a travel document from the Home Office, applicants must meet certain criteria. Firstly, applicants must be living in the UK for one of the following reasons:

  • They have been granted indefinite leave to remain (permanent residency).
  • They have been granted permission to stay in the UK as a refugee or stateless person.
  • They have been granted humanitarian protection or discretionary leave for a limited time following a failed asylum application.

In addition, applicants must be able to show that they have applied for a passport that has been unreasonably refused by their country’s national authorities. (Unless they have permission to be in the UK as a refugee or stateless person).

Types of UK Travel Documents

There are 4 types of travel documents available for those in different circumstances.

Convention Document (Refugee)

This document is for refugees who are unable to obtain a passport from their own country. The convention travel document allows the holder to travel from the UK and re-enter without issue upon returning. However, it does not allow the applicant to travel back to their home country or any country in which they sought asylum from.

The document is usually valid for ten years if the applicant has settled status (indefinite leave to remain) in the UK, or 5 years if they have permission to stay (leave to remain) or are under 15 years of age.

It costs £75 to apply as an adult or £49 for children aged 15 and under. However, the fee is waived if the applicant was born before 1 September 1929.

Stateless Person Document

This document is for people who are classed as stateless by the UK authorities and therefore cannot obtain a passport. It allows holders to travel to most countries in the world and return to the UK without restriction.

The document is valid for up to ten years if the applicant is settled in the UK and has indefinite leave to remain or 5 years for those that have permission to stay or leave to remain or are under the age of 15.

The fee for this document is £75 for adults (over 15) and £49 for children (15 or under). However, applicants born on or before 1 September 1929 do not have to pay the fee at all.

One-way Document

One-way documents (or IS137) are for non-UK citizens that wish to leave the UK permanently. The document allows them the right to leave the UK but not return. Applicants do not need to have settled status in order to apply. However, there are certain criteria that must be met in order to be considered for this document.

For example, the applicant must not be a British citizen, they must not be able to obtain a passport from their native country, they must not be facing deportation or have any pending criminal proceedings against them in the UK and they must want to leave the UK for good.

The document is valid for 12 months from the date it is issued and cannot be used to return to the UK under any circumstances. The fee for adults or those over 15 is £75, for those 15 and under it is £49 or it is free to apply if the applicant was born on or before 1 September 1929.

Certificate of Travel Document

This document is for those that have been refused a passport by their own nation’s authorities. It allows the holder to leave and re-enter the UK in replace of a traditional passport. To apply one of the following must be true:

  • Has settled status or permission to stay in the UK and has been refused a passport by their native country’s authorities.
  • In the UK under humanitarian protection and it’s been officially accepted that they are in fear of their native country’s authorities.
  • In the UK on a family visa as a dependent of someone with humanitarian protection.
  • Born in the UK as a child of a refugee and has permission to stay in the UK but does not have refugee status.
  • Has an important reason to travel but the native country’s authorities are unable to process travel documents quickly enough.

If the applicant has an important reason to travel, this and the fact that their native country’s authorities are unable to help must be proven as part of the application. This document is valid for up to 5 years if the applicant has settled status or until the permission to stay in the UK ends. Applicants can travel to most countries using this document except any of those from which they claimed asylum.

The fee for adults is currently £210 for those over the age of 15 and £141 for children aged 15 and under.

Contact us today for assistance with obtaining a UK travel document.

Applying For a Home Office Travel Document

All applicants need to complete an online form on the UK government’s website and then send their supporting documentation to the Home Office through the post. However, if there are exceptional or compassionate circumstances involved, evidence can be sent for consideration via email.

How can IAS Help?

Applying for a travel document can be stressful and time-consuming. It can be difficult to be sure which type of document to apply for depending on your circumstances and mistakes do not get refunded by the Home Office.

Our team of immigration specialists at IAS can tell you your options quickly and accurately, help you fill in your application from start to finish, advising you on all aspects of being granted your travel documents as easily and quickly as possible.

Call us today at 0333 305 9375 or contact us online.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are options available to those that may struggle to complete the online application form if, for example, they do not have internet access or do not feel comfortable whilst using a computer. Applicants are able to access ‘Assisted Digital’ support which can provide advice over the telephone or via face-to-face interviews.

It is not possible to list dependents on a travel document like it is on a visa. Each travelling family member (including children) must have their own travel document to travel in and out of the UK. If the child was born in the UK, they may be able to become a British citizen and get a traditional passport.

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