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Making a complaint

This page explains how to complain or comment on the service we have provided to you. It tells you:

  • the types of complaints we deal with;
  • how to complain;
  • how we will handle your complaint; and
  • how to comment on our service.

We take complaints seriously. Our aim is to resolve all complaints as quickly as possible and take steps to put things right when they have gone wrong.

The types of complaint we deal with

We deal with complaints about the services we provide, or are provided on our behalf. We also deal with complaints about the professional conduct of our staff and contractors. We will refer the most serious cases arising from officers use of police-like powers in England and Wales to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

How to complain

Wherever possible you should complain immediately to the business area concerned. If it is not possible to complain immediately, you should contact one of our customer service units. The customer service unit you need to contact will depend on the type of complaint you want to make, where the incident occurred or where you are currently living. You should read the page on who to contact for details of all our customer service units.

We have produced a complaint registration form which you can download from the right side of this page. You can return this form by hand, post, fax or email. The complaint registration form is also included in the leaflet 'How to Complain' which is available on request from your local customer service unit.

For simple or urgent complaints you can contact us by phone or email.

We can only accept complaints in English or Welsh.

You should make your complaint as soon as possible; we will not normally investigate allegations of misconduct more than three months after the incident occurred.

The information you should provide

It is important that you give us as much information as possible; the complaints registration form details the type of information we require.

Where possible you should include:

  • full details about the complaint (including times, dates and locations);
  • the names of any UK Border Agency staff you have dealt with;
  • details of any witnesses to the incident;
  • copies of letters or papers that are relevant;
  • any travel details that relate to your complaint.

How we will handle your complaint

We will try to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. Some complaints are complex and will require more detailed investigation.

If we cannot deal with your complaint immediately we will write to you to let you know who is dealing with it. We aim to give a full response within 20 working days. If your complaint alleges serious professional misconduct it may take up to 12 weeks to carry out a detailed, independent investigation.

We may contact you during an investigation for further information.


If you can show that you have suffered financial loss as a direct result of an error we have made, we will consider whether to pay compensation. This is not a legal entitlement. When considering claims, we will establish whether the costs incurred are reasonable and have been actually and necessarily incurred. You will need to provide evidence such as original receipts.

In exceptional circumstances not involving financial loss, we will consider whether a consolatory payment may be appropriate.

What to do if you are not satisfied with how your complaint is handled

If you do not think your complaint has been dealt with properly, you should contact the relevant customer service unit. The customer service unit will check that your complaint has been dealt with properly.

If you are still not satisfied, you can ask your Member of Parliament to raise your concern with the Parliamentary Ombudsman. If you are unsure who your Member of Parliament is, you can find more information on the UK Parliament website.

If you have made a complaint about serious professional misconduct you will will receive a full report from the independent investigators. This report will tell you who to contact if you are unhappy with the outcome.

If you have tried to make a serious complaint about a member of UKBA staff exercising police-like powers you may have a right of appeal to the IPCC. For further information about what is classified as 'serious' and how to make such an appeal please see the IPCC website.

After your complaint has been dealt with

We want to learn from complaints and to improve the service we provide to our customers, for example, we will consider making adjustments to the process which led to the complaint. We will also consider additional training for staff or, in serious cases, taking disciplinary action.

Will making a complaint affect my application?

No. You have a right to comment or complain and it is in our interest to hear from you. We want to resolve your complaint so that we can improve our service. Your application is treated separately from your complaint and will be decided on an impartial basis, taking account of all the relevant circumstances. Complaints do not affect our decision-making process.

How to make a comment on our service

We welcome all feedback on the service we provide and are grateful for all comments that will help us improve our service. If we have done something well and you would like to tell us, you can let us know by making your comments on the complaint registration form and returning it to one of our customer service units.

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