Wed | Aug 22, 2018

Immigration Corner | I want to voluntarily return

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Dear Mr Bassie,

I recently read that a person may be eligible for help to 'voluntarily return'. How can someone access this help?

- L.A.

Dear L.A.,

Persons can get help if they are making their own plans to return to their home country.

Such persons should contact the Voluntary Returns Service to find out what help is available to them and how long it will take to arrange their return if eligible.

Persons may also be able to get help with the cost of the flight. However, they should not make a flight reservation until they have contacted the team. The details for contacting the team are as follows:

Voluntary Returns Service

Email: voluntaryreturns@

Telephone: 0300 004 0202

Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.




When contacting the Voluntary Returns Service, persons will need to give their Home Office reference, if known; full name; date of birth; nationality; telephone number; current address; details of the travel document held, for example, a passport or emergency travel document, and whether it is valid; and if such persons have any dependents who are under 18 years old.

It should be noted that if a person's passport or travel document is being held by the Home Office, it will be returned to him/her at the airport upon leaving the United Kingdom.

If eligible, persons can apply for up to £2,000, which can be used to find somewhere to live, find a job, or start a business in their home country; help applying for travel documents; and help booking a flight.

Persons need to apply by downloading and filling in the assisted return application form. Then, send it to the Home Office. The address can be found on the form.

Please be aware that persons can be forced to return to their home country if they withdraw the application or do not follow the application process.

Persons can contact the Voluntary Returns Service if they need help with their application. The address is as follows:

18th Floor

Lunar House

40 Wellesley Road






After making an application, the Home Office will make contact within 14 days to let persons know that they have received their application. Please be aware that further information may need to be provided to support the application and that the application can be cancelled if this is not supplied.

It should be noted that persons must leave the United Kingdom within three months of the date that the application is approved. Also, if a person has applied for asylum he/she must cancel their application by signing a 'declaration of withdrawal' when he/she is leaving the United Kingdom.

- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK).