Home Office Subject Access Request

by | Oct 20, 2020 | UK Immigration

The Home Office holds comprehensive written records on all migrants who have made immigration applications to enter or remain in the UK. The Home Office should hold records of most substantive interactions it has with any given individual.  The amount of disclosure will depend on the extent of the interactions with the Home Office that an applicant has had, and this will obviously vary from case to case.  

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What information is held by the Home Office? 

In particular, disclosure from the Home Office can provide access to the following types of documents 

  • entry clearance and port records 
  • copies of applications made by applicants, including covering letters and supporting documents 
  • dates of applications made, and outcomes 
  • internal Home Office caseworker notes giving reasons for grant or refusal 
  • reasons for refusal or grant letters 
  • determinations (judgments) of tribunals, as well as copies of previous trial bundles 
  • detention records 

It is possible to specify in the subject access request form what information is being sought.

UK Immigration Questions

What are the reasons for making a Subject Access Request?

Reasons for making a Subject Access Request include, for example:

  1. A person is appealing against a decision to refuse their application and needs to explain your case in court 
  2. An individual might use a Subject Access Request to find out their full immigration history (i.e. when they were granted each visa) and to obtain copies of landing cards which might allow them to calculate their absences from the UK if they are applying for British Citizenship by Naturalisation.
  3. A person is instructing a lawyer and needs to be able to explain their current position to their representative 

How to make a Subject Access Request to the Home Office?

In order to make a subject access request to the Home Office, an individual needs to fill in a Subject Access Request form. The standard Subject Access Request wand is normally processed within 30 days. 

What information do I need to include in the Subject Access Request form?

Anyone can make a Subject Access Request for information that is held about them. The relevant form can be completed by an individual or their legal representative.

The standard Subject Access Request needs to include the following:

  1. A certified copy of photo identification;
  2. Confirmation on what type of information you require
  3. Enough personal information to allow the Home Office to identify the relevant individual;
  4. An original, signed authority from the person you are applying for if you are applying for someone else.

The guidance must be adhered to very closely, or will lead to a long and tedious exchange of correspondence with the Subject Access Request Unit, and ultimately to a delay in the application for disclosure.  

What are the different types of Subject Access Requests?

There are 3 types of requests you can make:

Basic requests

Most applicants find that this type of request gives them all the information they need. It can provide you with any of these 5 types of document and data record:

  • summary of immigration history from our electronic systems
  • landing cards that we hold electronically
  • visa applications you submitted from outside of the UK (as part of entry clearance)
  • a Workers Registration Scheme printout if you are a national of Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia
  • entry and exit into and out of the UK, travel history can be provided for the past 5 years if a passport or travel document is submitted for this period

Specific requests

You can request specific information if you need to. You should clearly describe what documents you need.

You can request copies of up to 5 single documents, including:

  • a list of your applications
  • a particular decision letter
  • the outcome of an appeal (appeal determination)
  • a particular detention progress report
  • a deportation order
  • a particular interview record

If you need more information than the single documents in this list, you will need to make a detailed request.

Detailed requests

We will provide you with a summary of immigration history from our electronic systems after which you can request additional information if the electronic summary does not meet your needs. This additional information could for example come from:

  • Home Office files (including Port and Asylum Support)
  • detention records

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