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Refugee Travel Document

A refugee travel document (also called a 1951 Convention travel document or Geneva passport) is a travel document issued to a refugee by the state in which she or he normally resides allowing him or her to travel outside that state and to return there.

The UKBA will give you this travel document unless the UKBA believes there are extremely good reasons to refuse, such as to protect national security. When you apply, you must be legally resident in the United Kingdom and be able to prove your refugee status here.

You must have permission to stay in the UK for at least six months from the date when you make your application. This is because other countries may not accept your travel document if you have less than six months’ permission to return to the United Kingdom. If your current permission to remain in the UK will expire in less than six months, you must apply to extend your stay before you can apply for a travel document.

Except in exceptional circumstances, you cannot use a Home Office convention travel document to travel to your country of origin, or the country from which you sought asylum. It will normally be valid for travel to all other countries.

A convention travel document issued to an adult will usually be valid for 10 years if you have permission to stay in the United Kingdom permanently (known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’). If you have temporary permission to stay in the United Kingdom (known as ‘limited leave to remain’), your convention travel document will usually be valid for the same period as your permission to stay in the UK, up to a maximum of five years.

Children cannot be named on the travel document of their parent or guardian. A convention travel document issued to a child will usually be valid for five years if the child has permission to stay in the United Kingdom permanently. If the child has temporary permission to stay in the United Kingdom, the document will usually be valid for the same period as their permission to stay here, up to a maximum of five years.

When you have obtained your convention travel document, you may also need to obtain a visa before you enter some countries. Before making any travel arrangements, you should ask at the embassy of the country or countries you wish to travel to.

If you already have a convention travel document, it may say on page 30 that you do not need a visa for visits of three months or less to a number of listed countries. As the list of countries changes from time to time, you should ask at the embassy of the country or countries you wish to travel to before making any travel arrangements.

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