Certificate of travel
This page explains what a certificate of travel is and who may apply for one. For information about other types of Home Office travel document, see Travel documents.
If you have not been given refugee status in the UK and have not been recognised as a stateless person, you may be able to apply for a certificate of travel, which will give you permission to travel abroad and return here. You must first prove that you have been formally and unreasonably refused a passport by the authorities of the country of which you are a national.
Before you apply for a certificate of travel, you should read Who qualifies for a certificate of travel? You cannot apply for a certificate of travel if you have been recognised as a refugee in the UK.
Except in exceptional circumstances, you cannot use a Home Office certificate of travel to travel to your country of origin, or to the country from which you sought asylum.
Some countries do not accept certificates of travel as valid travel documents, so you should check with the authorities of the country you wish to visit before you apply. At present, countries that do not accept it include:
- the Netherlands
- South Africa
You must have permission to stay here for at least 6 months from the date when you make your application. This is because other countries may not accept your certificate if your permission to return to the UK will expire in less than 6 months. If your current permission will expire in less than 6 months, you must apply to extend your stay before you can apply for a travel document.
A certificate of travel issued to an adult will usually be valid for up to 5 years if you have permission to stay in the UK permanently (known as 'indefinite leave to remain'). If you have temporary permission to stay in the UK (known as 'limited leave to remain'), your certificate of travel will usually be valid for the same period as your permission to stay here.
Children cannot be named on the travel document of their parent or guardian. A certificate of travel issued to a child will usually be valid for up to 5 years if the child has permission to stay in the UK permanently. If the child has temporary permission to stay in the UK, the certificate of travel will usually be valid for the same period as their permission to stay here.
See How to apply for information about making your application.
Certificates of identity
Until 17 March 2008, the certificate of travel was called the 'certificate of identity' and was coloured brown. However, the validity and criteria for issuing the document were the same. If you currently hold a brown certificate of identity, you can use it until it expires.
Permission to stay in the United Kingdom for reasons that are exceptional. This is sometimes given to someone who does not qualify for asylum but whom we believe should be allowed to stay for other reasons.
Permission to stay in the United Kingdom for reasons that are exceptional. This type of permission is no longer given, but was sometimes given in the past to someone who does not qualify for asylum but whom we believe should be allowed to stay for other reasons.
Protection given to someone under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights. It is not the same as asylum, which may be given only to those who are fleeing persecution, under the terms of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. We may give humanitarian protection to someone whom we believe does not qualify for asylum if we think there are humanitarian reasons for allowing that person to stay in the United Kingdom.