Skip to main content

Home Office voluntary return

The Home Office can fund and arrange travel for people who wish to return to their country of origin and may be able to provide additional financial assistance in some cases.

Assistance with a voluntary return can be provided to a person who does not have any immigration permission or has been refused permission to enter or stay in the UK, or a person with a pending immigration or asylum application that they want to withdraw.

The Home Office can organise and fund the flight but will usually expect the person to arrange their own documentation if they do not already have this. The Home Office may provide additional support in obtaining documentation when a person has a vulnerability, which means that it would be difficult for them to obtain documents by themselves.

A person may qualify for additional financial support of up to £3,000 to assist with their reintegration if they are:

  • Returning to a ‘developing country’, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Refused asylum in the UK
  • A victim of modern slavery, as confirmed by UK Visas and Immigration
  • A family group that will travel together, including a child under 18 years old 
  • Under 18 and travelling alone
  • Under 21 and a care leaver
  • Sleeping rough
  • Needing more help with your return - for example, because they have a medical condition 
The Home Office may be able to assist an EEA national to return if they are without status or leave in the UK. Depending on their circumstances and immigration history, the Voluntary Returns Service may be able to arrange and pay for their flight home and they may be eligible for financial support in their country of origin.

A person will usually only have one opportunity to apply for assisted return. An application can be made online or the Voluntary Returns Service can be contacted by telephone. The Home Office provides more information about returning home voluntarily.

When a person is considering whether to return to their country of origin, they would need to be signposted to get legal advice from an immigration adviser so that they are clear about the implications of this.

A non-EEA national who undertakes a voluntary return that is funded by the Home Office (with or without a reintegration package) will be subject to a re-entry ban of two or five years, depending on how long they were in the UK after being issued with a liability to removal notice or becoming Appeal Rights Exhausted (ARE).

An EEA national who is considering returning may wish to find out how this may impact on their future residence rights in the UK, particularly if they are entitled to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.  

Immigration terms

Appeal rights exhausted (ARE)

The status of a person whose asylum or immigration claim has been refused when they have come to the end of the appeal process without success or have no further right of appeal.