Guidance

Windrush scheme

Information for Commonwealth citizens and other nationalities who have been lawfully resident in the UK for a long time but who do not have documents to demonstrate their status.

Under the Windrush Scheme you can apply for the necessary documentation for free. You may also be able to apply for British citizenship for free.

Who is eligible for support?

You could be eligible for the Windrush Scheme if you are:

  • a Commonwealth citizen who settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 or has right of abode
  • a child of a Commonwealth citizen parent who settled before 1 January 1973, where you were born in the UK or arrived in the UK before the age of 18
  • a person of any nationality who settled in the UK before 31 December 1988 and is settled in the UK

Please see the Windrush Scheme for full details on eligibility.

How to apply

If you are applying from within the UK, you must print and complete the paper form Windrush scheme application form (UK) (PDF, 478KB, 20 pages). If you need a physical copy of the form posted to you contact the Windrush Helpline.

As part of our operating processes the Windrush Helpline may contact individuals by telephone, email or letter for a variety of reasons. We will only ask for identity documentation if you have applied under either the Windrush Scheme or the Windrush Compensation Scheme. If you have questions or concerns about an approach for information received please call our helpline who will be happy to advise.

If you are applying from outside the UK you must use the online application form.

The Windrush Helpline

The Windrush Helpline can offer support and guidance to individuals on the Windrush Scheme and how to apply.

The Windrush Helpline can also help vulnerable people or those who need additional support.

Contact the Windrush Helpline

Telephone: 0800 678 1925 (freephone)

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 3pm

Outside of the helpline opening hours, you can leave a message to ask for your call to be returned at a more convenient time.

Email: commonwealthtaskforce@homeoffice.gov.uk

If you are overseas, you can email the Windrush Helpline and ask them to call you back.

Sign up for email updates on:

  • Home Office announcements relating to long-term residents, including the Windrush generation

  • next steps for those affected, including the compensation scheme and lessons learned review

Windrush Taskforce surgeries

The Windrush Taskforce has been travelling the country to explain the scheme and answer individual queries. They have run over 40 surgeries, with the support of local community groups and charities. Events have taken place in churches, community centres, mosques, gurdwaras and local council buildings.

If you are interested in hosting an event in your local community, please contact windrushsurgeries@homeoffice.gov.uk

Compensation scheme

The Windrush Compensation Scheme is now open for claims.

Read more about the Windrush Compensation Scheme.

Published 9 April 2019
Last updated 26 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Removal of bank holiday closure notice.

  2. Bank holiday closure update.

  3. Update to explain that outside of the helpline opening hours, you can now leave a message to ask for your call to be returned at a more convenient time.

  4. Updated to remove Easter 2020 helpline opening times.

  5. Added Easter 2020 opening hours for the Windrush Helpline.

  6. Updated minor style error on application form

  7. Updated application form.

  8. Windrush event in London removed.

  9. New Windrush Taskforce surgery event in London added.

  10. Christmas and New Year’s opening hours 2019 for the Windrush Helpline added.

  11. Updated application form

  12. The Windrush Taskforce section been updated to include information about our operating processes.

  13. Added a message to let users know the taskforce is having technical issues with phone lines.

  14. Easter opening hours for the Windrush taskforce published.

  15. First published.