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Passport and travel documents applications

An individual who is not a British national, who cannot make use of or obtain a travel document from his/her country of origin, can make an application for a travel document to travel outside the UK.

Before you are permitted to make this application you must be resided in the United Kingdom for any of the reasons below:

    • You were offered entry in the UK as a refugee or stateless person
    • You were granted for a limited time humanitarian protection after your application for an asylum did not succeed.
    • You were granted for a limited time discretionary leave after your application for Asylum did not succeed.

In order to be considered, you must evince that you made a formal application for a passport in your country of origin which was rejected unreasonably, except in a case where you are in the UK as a refugee or a stateless person. Documents that support your claims are required to authenticate your application (Original Copies not photocopies).

Type of Travel Documents

    • You should make an application for a Convention Travel Document if you are in the UK under the status of a Refugee.
    • You should apply for a stateless person's document if you are in the UK under the status of a Stateless Person.
    • You should apply for a One-way document (also known as an IS137) if seek to leave the UK permanently.
    • You should make an application for a Certificate of Travel if your previous application for a passport in your country of national was refused.

Refugee Travel Document

A convention travel document can be applied for, if the UKBA has given the individual permission to stay in the UK as a refugee. The 1951 United Nations Convention in relation to the Status of Refugees made the provision of this document available.

The UKBA has the right to refuse any individual assess to this particular document due to specific good reasons such as the protection of national security. Any individual who applies for the refugee travel document must be able to prove his or her refugee status in the UK and he or she must be a legal resident in the UK economy.

Any documents sent to an applicant by the UKBA which contains certain official reference numbers can be used as proof by the applicant that he or she has permission to stay in the UK. These numbers are as follows:

  • ACD 0122
  • ACD 2151
  • ASL 2151
  • ADL 1
  • ASL 2167
  • GEN 23
  • GEN 22
  • ICD 0726

From the date the application is made, the applicant must have the permission to stay for at least 6 months on the UK. This is based on the fact that if the applicant has under six months leave, the visiting country may not accept the applicant's travel documents. The individual must apply for an extended stay in the UK if his or her current permission to reside in the UK is set to expire under six months and this must be done before a travel document can be applied for.

A Home Office convention travel document cannot be used to travel by an applicant to his or her country of origin or to where he or she has soughed for asylum, except for in certain circumstances. Although the convention travel document is valid for travel in other countries.

Travelling Abroad Using a Convention Travel Document

The individual may also need to acquire a visa before entering some countries when he or she has acquired their convention travel document. The individual is required to make enquiries at the embassy of the country (or countries) he or she wishes to travel to before making travel arrangements.

Please note that if an individual has a convention travel document, he or she does not need a visa of 3 months or less to a number of listed countries for visits. An individual is required to make enquiries at the embassy of the country (or countries) he or she wishes to travel to before any travel arrangements are made and this is essential especially when the list of countries changes from time to time.

Stateless Person Travel Document

In accordance with 1954 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, an individual who is recognise as a stateless person may apply for the stateless persons' travel document. The above mentioned convention defines a stateless individual as a person who in any country would not be considered a national under any terms of the country's laws. A letter from the UKBA will need to be provided by the individual confirming his or her status.

The individual cannot be acknowledged as stateless if:

  • He or she is accepting help or protection from agencies of the United Nations excluding for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees;
  • The individual is a resident of the country that has rights and obligations which is also attached to having nationality of the country and if the applicant is acknowledged by the authorities of the country;
  • He or she has committed serious crimes or broken the laws against the peace of the country, a crime against humanity, a serious war crime, a non-political crime outside the individual's country of residence before he or she starts living in the country or acts in a conflicting manner to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

The applicant must have permission to remain in the country for up to 24 weeks prior to the application date. In the event that the applicant has under six months in the UK, the country been visited may not accept the travel document.

If an application is successful, the leave granted as a stateless person may be up to 10 years.

The stateless persons' document is considered valid for travel to all countries.

Certificate of Travel

A certificate of travel can be applied if the individual has not been granted refugee status in the UK and has not been acknowledged as a stateless person and this certificate of travel also grants the individual access or permission to travel outside the UK and also to return to the country. As a national of a particular country, the individual must provide proof that he or she has been officially and unreasonably been refused a passport by authorities of that country.

NOTE: Once an individual has been acknowledged as a UK refugee, he or she cannot apply for a certificate of travel.

With an exception to certain circumstances, a Home Office certificate of travel cannot be used by an individual to travel to his or her country of origin or to the country from which they sought asylum.

The individual should make enquiries from the authorities of the country they wish to visit before they apply because some countries do not accept certificates of travel as valid travel documents and these countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Germany, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands.

The applicant must a valid leave in the UK for a period of at least six months before the application date.

Certificates of Identity Before the 17th of March, 2008, the certificate of travel document was brown in colour and it was called the 'certificate of identity' but the process for issuing the documents are the same. Therefore, if any individual holds a brown certificate of identity, he or she can use it until its expiry date.

One Way Travel Document Application

This document allows an individual just one journey out of the UK only, therefore, it cannot be used to return. This document is normally known as IS137. An individual can also apply for a one-way travel document if he or she is a national of any country and is currently in the UK.

Children are required to apply for their own one-way travel document because they cannot be named on their parents or guardians' travel documents.

One way travel documents are used where an individual is not able to provide core travel documents like an international passport. As you would appreciate, it is almost impossible to travel outside a country without a passport. The one way travel document serves as a document to identify an individual when travelling between countries.

It is also important to note that you can only apply for the one way travel document if you cannot use your current passport or it is impossible to obtain a new passport from your home country.

In order to be eligible for the one way travel document, the following eligibility requirements apply: -

  • You are currently living in the UK
  • Your current grant of leave to remain in the UK is as a refugee or stateless person in the UK.
  • You have been granted a discretionary leave following a failed asylum application.
  • You are settled in the UK.

As mentioned earlier, you have to be able to prove that you have applied for a passport from your home country but have been unreasonably refused.

Our immigration advisers are more than happy to offer a free initial assessment over the phone should be unclear about any aspect of this application. We also advice on a wider range of immigration matters. Call us today on 02037442797 or send us an email on

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