UK residents who do not have a passport – or who cannot use their passport for travel – may apply for UK travel documents to enable them to pass through international borders. There are a number of different UK travel documents – to be eligible for most of them UK residents will have to have permission to be in the UK for at least six months.
Different Types of Travel Documents
There are four different types of UK travel documents for which UK residents may apply:
- Convention travel document – for use by refugees;
- Stateless person’s document;
- A one-way document – the IS 137;
- A certificate of travel.
Applying for UK Travel Documents
Applications are made to the UK Border Agency using form TD 112. The UK Border Agency states that it is its aim to process 70% of applications within four weeks. However, applications could take much longer than this and applicants are told not to contact the Agency to enquire about an application unless 14 weeks have passed since the application was sent in. Applications for replacement travel documents can take a long time because the UK Border Agency may have to make extensive enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the application.
Applications for children must be made on a separate form. Children under the age of 16 may apply for a children’s travel document which attracts a lower application fee.
A fee must be paid for all applications. The adult fee for a certificate of travel is £210 and the child fee is £130. For the three other travel documents the adult fee is £72 and the child fee is £46. In most cases the same fee will have to be paid in order to replace a lost or stolen travel document.
Convention Travel Document
This document is for use by UK residents who have official refugee status in accordance with the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. A UK resident who can show that they are in the UK with permission and have refugee status will almost certainly be provided with a Convention travel document unless to do so would pose a threat to national security in the UK.
Convention travel documents are valid for 10 years in the case of permanent residents and up to five years for temporary residents depending on the length of time they are permitted to stay in the UK.
Stateless Person’s Document
This document is for use by people who are officially recognised as stateless under the terms of the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. Applicants in this category will have to support their application with evidence confirming that they are stateless. A stateless person is someone who is recognised as not having the rights and obligations of a national of any country.
Stateless person’s documents are valid for 10 years when provided to permanent residents and up to five years in the case of temporary residents.
As its name suggests this document is only for use by people permanently leaving the UK and is only valid for one journey.
Certificate of Travel
The certificate of travel is the new name for the document previously known as a certificate of identity. This document is for use by UK residents who are neither refugees nor stateless but whose own countries have officially, and unreasonably, refused to provide them with a passport. Not all countries recognise certificates of travel and they cannot be used for travel to the holder’s own country.
Certificates of travel are usually valid for five years for permanent residents. For temporary residents the validity of the certificate of travel will match the length of time for which they have permission to remain in the UK.