Does voluntary departure from the UK count as deportation?

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By Kristy Tolley

Understanding Voluntary Departure

Voluntary departure is the process by which an individual who is subject to immigration control leaves the UK voluntarily instead of being forcibly removed by the government. This process allows individuals to leave the country on their own terms, without the stigma and legal implications that come with deportation. Voluntary departure is an option available to those who want to avoid the negative consequences of being deported.

What is Deportation?

Deportation is the process by which an individual who is subject to immigration control is forcibly removed from the UK by the government. This can happen for a number of reasons, including criminal convictions, overstaying a visa, or breaching immigration laws. Deportation can have severe consequences for the individual, including a ban on returning to the UK and difficulties in obtaining visas for other countries.

How Does Voluntary Departure Differ from Deportation?

The main difference between voluntary departure and deportation is the manner in which an individual leaves the country. With voluntary departure, the individual chooses to leave the UK and does so on their own terms. They are not forcibly removed and do not have the stigma of being deported. With deportation, the individual is forcibly removed from the country and may face a ban on returning to the UK. Voluntary departure is also seen as a more positive option by the government, as it shows a willingness to comply with immigration laws.

Voluntary departure does not have the same legal implications as deportation. When an individual is deported, it is recorded on their immigration history and can affect their ability to enter other countries or apply for visas in the future. However, voluntary departure does not have the same impact on an individual’s immigration history. It is seen as a more positive option and can actually improve an individual’s chances of obtaining a visa in the future.

Can Voluntary Departure Affect Your Future Immigration Applications?

Voluntary departure is seen as a positive step by the government and can actually improve an individual’s chances of obtaining a visa in the future. It shows a willingness to comply with immigration laws and can demonstrate good character. However, if an individual has overstayed their visa or breached immigration laws, it may still affect their ability to obtain a visa in the future, regardless of whether they chose to leave voluntarily or were deported.

Are There Any Benefits to Voluntary Departure?

There are several benefits to choosing voluntary departure over deportation. Firstly, it allows individuals to leave the UK on their own terms and can avoid the negative consequences of being forcibly removed. It also shows a willingness to comply with immigration laws and can improve an individual’s chances of obtaining a visa in the future. Additionally, it can be a quicker and less expensive process, as it avoids the need for legal representation and appeals.

What Are the Requirements for Voluntary Departure?

In order to be eligible for voluntary departure, an individual must have a valid passport, be able to pay for their own travel, and not be subject to a deportation order. They must also provide evidence of their intention to leave the UK, such as a plane ticket or booking confirmation. If an individual is being detained, they may still be eligible for voluntary departure, but will need to make arrangements with the Home Office.

How to Apply for Voluntary Departure

To apply for voluntary departure, an individual must inform the Home Office of their intention to leave and provide evidence of their travel arrangements. They may need to attend an interview and provide additional information about their situation. The decision to grant voluntary departure is made by the Home Office and can take several weeks to process.

What Happens if You Do Not Leave the UK After Voluntary Departure?

If an individual does not leave the UK after being granted voluntary departure, they may face legal consequences. They may be subject to a deportation order and forcibly removed from the country, or they may be banned from entering the UK in the future. It is important to comply with the terms of voluntary departure and leave the UK as planned.

Can You Appeal Against a Voluntary Departure Order?

There is no legal right to appeal against a voluntary departure order, as it is a voluntary agreement between the individual and the Home Office. However, if an individual believes that they have been unfairly denied voluntary departure or that their rights have been violated, they may be able to challenge the decision through a judicial review.

Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Voluntary Departure vs. Deportation

Voluntary departure and deportation are two different processes with different legal implications. Voluntary departure allows individuals to leave the UK on their own terms and can improve their chances of obtaining a visa in the future. Deportation is a more serious option with long-term consequences. It is important to understand the differences between these processes and make an informed decision based on individual circumstances.

References and Further Reading

  • UK Government. (2021). Voluntary departure: leave the UK voluntarily. Retrieved from
  • UK Government. (2021). Deportation: what happens to people who are deported. Retrieved from
  • Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association. (2019). Practice note: voluntary departure. Retrieved from
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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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