Voluntary deportation and repatriation are two processes that involve the removal of people from one country to another. Although they may seem similar, there are important differences between voluntary deportation and repatriation.

Voluntary deportation is when a person chooses to leave the country on their own accord, while repatriation is when a person is forced to return to their home country by governmental authorities.

How Voluntary Deportation Works

Voluntary deportation is the process of returning to one’s home country by choice. It enables people who do not have any legal right to stay in the UK and who would otherwise face enforced removal from the country to leave voluntarily.

The Home Office allows people with no lawful basis for their presence in the UK to return home voluntarily rather than face detention or removal proceedings. To be eligible for voluntary departure, an individual must meet certain criteria and enter into a formal agreement with the Home Office that they will leave within a specified timeframe and not return until they have permission.

To apply for voluntary deportation, individuals must contact the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) team at their nearest Home Office reporting centre. They will then be interviewed by an NRM advisor who will assess their eligibility and, if suitable, discuss the voluntary deportation process in more detail.

Once it is agreed that a person can apply for voluntary deportation, they must sign a Voluntary Departure Agreement (VDA), which sets out the terms of their departure. This includes agreeing to leave the UK within a specific timeframe, not returning until permission, and paying any outstanding fines or costs associated with their removal from the UK.

Once all the relevant agreements are signed and payment made, individuals are given 14 days to arrange travel to their home country and leave the UK voluntarily. They may also be offered assistance with arranging transportation if necessary.

How Repatriation Works

Repatriation is the involuntary return of people to their home countries. It usually occurs when individuals have overstayed their visas or if they have entered the UK illegally. They are then deported by the Home Office and must leave as soon as possible.

Unlike voluntary deportation, repatriation is a much more serious process involving detention while waiting for removal. Individuals will also be unable to re-enter the UK unless granted permission later.

For repatriation to take place, individuals must first be identified by immigration officers as being in breach of immigration law. Those suspected of illegal entry or overstaying their visa may be arrested and detained until proceedings occur.

If the individual is found to be in breach of immigration laws, they will be served with a notice of removal from the UK and must leave within the specified timeframe. If not, then they may face detention until their deportation can take place.

In some cases, individuals being repatriated may receive assistance with arranging travel back to their home countries. This includes help with obtaining passports or visas if necessary. In addition, any fines or costs associated with their departure must be paid before they can leave.

Final Thoughts

Voluntary deportation and repatriation are two different processes that involve removing individuals from one country to another. Voluntary deportation enables people with no legal right to stay in the UK to return voluntarily while still having the opportunity to apply for permission to re-enter later.

Repatriation, on the other hand, is a more serious process that involves enforced removal from the UK and bans individuals from returning until they have been granted permission.