Personal information charter

This personal information charter explains how we look after your information.

We sometimes need to process personal information about you so that we can provide services for you, carry out Home Office and other associated public functions, and comply with applicable laws and regulations.

This personal information charter contains the standards you can expect when we ask for, hold, or in any way process your personal information. It also covers:

  • what we ask of you to help us keep information up to date
  • how you can request a copy of the personal information we hold about you
  • how you can report a concern

This page also explains our information management policy.

Our standards

The processing of personal data is governed by data protection legislation including the General Data Protection Regulation and other relevant legislation. When we ask you for personal information, we ensure that:

  • you know why we need it and what we are going to do with it
  • we only ask for what we need and don’t collect too much, or irrelevant information
  • we protect it and make sure nobody has access to it who shouldn’t
  • we only share it with other organisations when there is an identified need and it is lawful to do so
  • we don’t keep it longer than necessary
  • you know how to tell us that you object to us processing your information and how to tell us if the information we hold about you is not correct or you want us to erase it
  • it’s not made available for commercial use without your permission
  • you know how to contact us and our data protection officer
  • you know how to complain to the Information Commissioner if you are not satisfied with the way we process your information

In return, we ask you to:

  • give us accurate information
  • tell us as soon as possible if there are any changes, such as a new address

This helps us keep your information reliable and up to date.

Personal information that we collect and process

We collect and process personal information for the exercise of our own and associated public functions. These include:

  • investigating an offence,
  • preventing, detecting or prosecuting a crime
  • maintaining and developing DNA and other policing databases
  • maintaining public order and preventing anti-social behaviour
  • securing the UK border and controlling immigration
  • recording movements in and out of the UK
  • considering applications to enter and stay in the UK
  • addressing visa matters and checking immigration status
  • issuing passports and visas
  • establishing entitlements to benefits and services
  • managing customs functions at the border
  • considering applications for activity requiring a government issued license
  • keeping the UK safe from the threat of terrorism

We may also use information we hold about you to:

  • undertake statistical and analytical analysis
  • undertake research, including social and ethnographic research
  • assist in verifying your identity
  • fulfil other legal obligations
  • respond to questions sent to the department
  • support, manage and train our staff

We may ask you for different types of personal data, including biometric data (such as facial images, fingerprints, and/or DNA).

CCTV is used by the Home Office for maintaining the security of property and premises and for preventing and detecting crime.

Further details about how we work with fraud prevention organisations is also available.

Depending on why the Home Office is processing your information it may be held for a number of specific reasons, including and in addition to those listed above. For more information about this read the privacy notices issued by other parts of the Home Office.

Borders, immigration and citizenship system privacy notice

Her Majesty’s Passport Office privacy notice

Information rights privacy notice

More information about the Home Office retention and disposal standards is also available.

Keeping personal information

We will keep your personal information for as long as is needed to provide you with a service or conduct our business in accordance with our functions and our records management policy. We may also keep it for longer to meet other legislative requirements, or to answer requests for information from ongoing or impending statutory inquiries.

Depending on the reasons why the Home Office is processing your information it may be held for differing periods of time. For more information about this read the privacy notices issued by other parts of the Home Office.

Borders, immigration and citizenship system privacy notice

Her Majesty’s Passport Office privacy notice

Information rights privacy notice

Sharing information with others

Any personal information you provide will be held securely and processed in accordance with data protection and other relevant legislation, such as the Human Rights Act 1998, the Immigration Act 2014, or the Criminal Justice and Data Protection Regulations 2014. We may disclose your information to other organisations so that we can carry out our functions, or to enable others to perform theirs. Other organisations include, but are not limited to:

  • other government departments and agencies
  • local authorities
  • police and other law enforcement agencies
  • courts and other judicial bodies
  • foreign governments and other authorities
  • foreign law enforcement and judicial bodies
  • fraud prevention bodies

Any information about you that we pass to a third party will be held securely by that party.

Depending on the reasons why the Home Office is processing your information it may be shared with a number of other organisations, including and in addition to those listed above. On occasion the Home Office may also engage third parties to process personal data on our behalf. For more information about this and to see if that affects the way your personal information is being shared, read the privacy notices issued by other parts of the Home Office.

Borders, immigration and citizenship system privacy notice

Her Majesty’s Passport Office privacy notice

Information rights privacy notice

How to ask for your personal information

If we hold any personal information about you, you have the right to ask for a copy of it through a subject access request (SAR). The Home Office includes UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), and Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO).

In certain circumstances we do not have to give you the information you have asked for. For example if we are using data for investigating, preventing or detecting crime, or apprehending or prosecuting offenders where to do so would be likely to prejudice those purposes. Where it is known the police are investigating, or prosecuting offences, we will ask for their view on whether providing you with the information would prejudice their activities.

Guidance is also available on how to ask for:

To ask for personal data held by other parts of the Home Office, please contact the information rights team using the contact details below.

When you write to us you must provide the following:

  • confirmation of your identity: a copy of your passport, full driving license or birth certificate (please do not send original documents)
  • confirmation of name and address: a copy of your full driving license, a copy of a recent utility bill, bank or credit card statement, pension or child benefit book (or similar official document which shows your name and address)
  • if you are writing on behalf of someone else, a signed declaration from the person you are acting for indicating that they have asked you to make an application on their behalf

If possible you should also send:

  • details of all addresses you have used in previous correspondence with the Home Office, including email addresses (if applicable) so that we can search our systems
  • any information that might help us in locating the information in which you are interested (this might include details of any contacts you have had with the Home Office at any time, and details of why you think we will hold information about you)

Once we receive all the above information, the Home Office has one month within which to respond to your request. This may be extended by up to 2 months in complex cases.

The Home Office does not keep records of individuals as a matter of routine and if you have had no previous dealings with the department, it is unlikely that we will hold information about you. If, however, you have reason to believe that we do hold information about you, please indicate any contacts or dealings you have had with the Home Office in the past, so that we can locate anything that is relevant.

Information management strategy

We will manage our information to achieve the right balance between making information more widely available to the public, while ensuring that adequate protection is in place.

Our information management policies include how we:

  • respond to subject access and freedom of information requests
  • secure the information we hold
  • ensure that information created, collected and stored is proportionate to the business need, and is retained only for as long as it is needed

Further information

This privacy notice has been created to be understandable and concise. It does not include exhaustive detail about what information we hold, every organisation the Home Office shares information with, how the information is collected or how long all information is kept. If you would like more information you should email us at info.access@homeoffice.gov.uk.

Or write to us at:

Information Rights Team
Home Office
Lower Ground Floor, Seacole Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

The Home Office has a data protection officer who can be contacted by:

Email: dpo@homeoffice.gov.uk Telephone: 020 7035 6999

Or write to:

Office of the DPO
Home Office
Peel Building
2 Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4DF

Reporting a concern

When we process your information we will comply with the law, including data protection legislation. Should you feel that your data is being processed in breach of data protection law or other legislation, you can report your concern to our Data Protection Officer using the contact details provided above, or contact the Information Commissioner’s Office at:

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45. Fax: 01625 524510

You can also visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.