If you're settled in the UK but do not have a document to prove it, you may be eligible to apply to the Windrush Scheme

It's free to apply.

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 Windrush 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.

If you become a British citizen under the Windrush scheme you can choose if you want to attend a citizenship ceremony. You will not have to pay the fee.

How to apply

You may be able to apply for a document to prove you can live and work in the UK if one of the following is true:

Windrush Scheme application form

If you need advice or guidance with your application you can call the 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.

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:

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