Complaints procedure

Find out how to complain about UK Visas and Immigration and how we deal with complaints.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic we are currently unable to respond to written correspondence. If you have written to us by post in the last 20 working days and not received a response, please use the online complaints form to re-submit your complaint and we will respond via email.

Contact us if:

  • you have a complaint about our service or professional conduct
  • the incident happened within the last 3 months

Complaints should be made no later than 3 months after the date of the incident unless there are exceptional circumstances.

If you want a general update

If you want an update on the progress of your application, you can read our service standards to find out our processing times. It also contains details on how we will contact you if your application cannot be decided within the normal service standard. Progress enquiries should not be sent via the complaints route.

The following pages offer alternative customer contact information:

If you’re unhappy about a decision

If you’re not satisfied with a decision we have made, or if you want to ask for a review you may be able to apply for an administrative review.

If you’re refused entry or leave to remain

If you’ve been refused entry to, or leave to remain in the United Kingdom and you want to appeal you can read the detailed guidance on how to appeal.This includes information on whether you have a right of appeal for your application.

If you want to report an immigration crime

You can use the contact form if you believe someone is working illegally, or has made a false application to stay in the UK, or is involved in smuggling.

If you’ve had goods or a vehicle seized

Goods and vehicle seizures are dealt with by the National post seizure unit.

If you want to complain about other areas of the Home Office

Other areas of the Home Office have their own complaints procedures:

How to complain

If you have a complaint about our service or professional conduct, please use our online complaints form.

Complaints do not affect our decision-making process and making a complaint doesn’t mean that your application will be dealt with more quickly or more slowly.

Alternatively email us at complaints@homeoffice.gov.uk.

Tell us as much information about yourself as you can. This will help us to find the information relevant to your case, and to contact you about it. The information you should provide is listed below:

  • your contact details – it is important you include your address and phone number as we may contact you to resolve your complaint by phone or to request further information
  • the names of the applicant/original complainant if you’re completing this on behalf of someone else – we must have written authority to disclose information about another person’s case
  • full details of the matter you’re complaining about, including times, dates and locations
  • the names or identifying numbers of any staff you’ve dealt with
  • details of any witnesses to the incident, if appropriate
  • copies of the relevant letters or papers
  • details of any reimbursement issues including papers and receipts to support your claim
  • your Home Office reference details, and any other references that will help us to investigate your complaint, for example refund reference, appeal reference or UAN (unique application number)
  • if your complaint is in relation to our contact centre we will need to know the date you called, the number you dialled and the number you called us from

We can only accept complaints in English and Welsh.

What happens next?

Your complaint will be managed by our correspondence team. They’re responsible for ensuring that your complaint is resolved in a satisfactory and timely manner. We’ll send you an acknowledgement when you make a complaint and we may contact you during an investigation for further information.

Read the complaints management guidance for further information about how we deal with your complaints.

Read the ex-gratia guidance for further information about how we deal with your ex-gratia claim.

How long will it take?

We’ll investigate your complaint and reply to you within 20 working days. We will contact you if we need more time to investigate your complaint. If your complaint suggests serious professional misconduct we aim to respond within 12 weeks, following an impartial investigation.

Ex-gratia claims have separate timescales, for further information read the ex-gratia guidance.

Serious complaints

If you make a very serious complaint we may refer it to the Home Office’s professional standards unit who will write to you and inform you that they are handling your case. If you’ve made a complaint about serious professional misconduct, the investigators will tell you the outcome. Their letter will tell you who to contact if you’re still not satisfied with the outcome.

If you’re not satisfied

If you are not satisfied with our response, you can ask us to review the matter.

A senior member of staff will carry out an independent review of your complaint. They will provide you with further details within 20 working days of the date when you ask for a review.

If you’re still not satisfied at this stage, you may be able to raise the matter with the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who may be able to help you.