Key messages

The Home Office values the contribution made to the UK by Commonwealth citizens (the 'Windrush generation') and we are committed to do right by those affected.

The Home Office has announced a dedicated Windrush Scheme to make it easier for individuals to access support and understand what is on offer.

The scheme enables the Government to process citizenship applications for Commonwealth nationals in the UK who settled in the UK before 1973, free of charge. This includes free citizenship applications for children of Commonwealth citizens who settled in the UK before 1973, where the child joined their parents before they turned 18; and free confirmation of the existing British citizenship for children born to the Windrush generation in the UK where needed.

If you are applying for citizenship under this scheme you will need to meet the good character requirements in place for all citizenship applications but will not need to take the knowledge of language and life in the UK test or attend a citizenship ceremony.

The scheme also covers the government's commitment to help members of the Windrush generation, who have spent recent years in their home countries, to return to the UK free of charge.

How to apply

This application form can only be used if you are in the UK and:

You are a national of a Commonwealth country or group listed in the Windrush Scheme Policy, you either settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 and you have been continuously resident in the UK since your arrival, oryou have the right of abode.

You are a national of a Commonwealth country or group listed in the Windrush Scheme Policy, you settled in the UK before 1 January 1973 and your settlement status lapsed because you left the UK for more than 2 years and you are now lawfully in the UK and have strong ties with the UK

you are the child of a national of a Commonwealth country listed in the Windrush Scheme Policy, and you were born in the UK or arrived in the UK before you were 18 years old and you have been continuously resident in the UK since your arrival and your parent was settled before 1 January 1973 or has the Right of Abode (or met these criteria but is now a British Citizen)

For any nationality - you arrived in the UK before 31 December 1988 and you have lived continuously in the UK since your arrival.

Download form

If you need advice or guidance with your application you can call our new dedicated helpline. The line is open Monday to Saturday between 9am to 5pm and Sunday between 10am to 4pm

If required, you will be allocated a caseworker who will work with you to build a picture of your life in the UK. We will work with other government departments to find your records if helpful. We accept all sorts of documentation, including previous addresses, employment records, national insurance numbers, birth and marriage certificates, bills and letters among others.

There are no fees for any applications made under the Windrush Scheme and no information provided in relation to an application under the Windrush Scheme will be passed on to immigration enforcement.

Support available

Surgeries

In addition to the taskforce, we are delivering community surgeries to offer individuals concerned about their status the opportunity to talk in confidence to Home Office staff, and request support to resolve their case. We are asking community groups to support us in hosting these events. If you are interested in assisting this initiative, please email us at:

Compensation scheme

We have announced a compensation scheme for Commonwealth citizens who have faced difficulties in establishing their status. We held a month long call for evidence to hear experiences that will help to shape the design of the scheme. This will be followed by a public consultation to allow us to take views on building a scheme to effectively address the issues people have faced. Soon after the consultation has closed, we will be announcing details of the final scheme and how to apply.

For more information:

Lessons learned

The Home Secretary has commissioned an internal review that will seek to draw out how members of the Windrush generation came to be entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants; why that was not spotted sooner; and whether the right corrective measures are now in place. The review will be overseen by an Independent Advisor.

If you would like to provide evidence, please email:

Further information can be found at gov.uk/windrush where you can also sign up to stay informed about Home Office announcements relating to Windrush.