1. Who can get help

You must return to your home country if you’re in the UK illegally or your leave to remain has expired.

You can get some help if you’re over 18 and any of the following apply:

  • you’ve been refused leave to enter, or remain in, the UK
  • you’re in a family group with a child under 18 and are in the UK illegally
  • you’ve withdrawn, or want to withdraw, your application to extend your leave to remain because you want to return to your home country
  • you’ve claimed asylum

This is known as ‘voluntary return’.

Getting financial help and extra support

You apply in a different way if you’re eligible for financial help and extra support. You’re eligible if:

  • you’re waiting for a decision on an asylum application
  • you’ve been refused asylum and have appealed, or are appealing, against the decision
  • you’ve been refused asylum, and any appeals you’ve made have also been refused
  • you’ve never previously withdrawn an asylum application
  • you’re part of a family group that will travel together, including someone under 18 years old
  • you’re under 18 and travelling alone
  • you have a letter from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) confirming you’re a victim of trafficking
  • you need more help with your return - for example, because you have a medical condition
  • you were given temporary (‘discretionary’) leave to remain in the UK outside the Immigration Rules, but the leave has now expired

This is known as ‘assisted return’. You can’t apply for this if you:

  • are currently being investigated by the police or detained by the Home Office
  • have been given a prison sentence that’s 12 months or longer
  • have been convicted of an immigration offence and given a deportation order
  • have already been given humanitarian protection, indefinite leave to remain or refugee status
  • have been told by UKVI that you are a ‘third country case’
  • are a European Economic Area (EEA) or Swiss national (unless you have a letter from UKVI confirming you are a victim of trafficking)