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Cookie policy


What cookies are for

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, computer or mobile phone.

These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you by:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don't need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there's enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with govt services so we can make them better

Managing cookies
You can manage these small files yourself and learn more about them. Information and videos are available on Directgov: Internet browser cookies - what they are and how to manage them.

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using Home Office websites:

  • First party cookies - these are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site
  • Third party cookies - these are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them

First party cookies

Cookies are set by our web servers to ensure that your session is maintained for the duration of your visit (until you close your web browser).

We've listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last. We will endeavour to let you know before we store a cookie on your computer.

Name Typical content Expires
DCT-Legacy Randomly generated number When user closes browser

Third party cookies

When we use a supplier, we may also set cookies on our websites on their behalf.

We use Google Analytics to help us accurately estimate the number of visitors to our websites and volumes of usage. Google Analytics sets cookies - more information is available on the Google Code website.

The cookies used by Google Analytics are listed below:

Name Typical content Expires
_utma Randomly generated number 2 years
_utmb Randomly generated number 30 minutes
_utmc Randomly generated number When user closes browser
_utmz Randomly generated number + info on how the site was reached (e.g. directly or via a link, organic search or paid search) 6 months