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Refugee Passport UK – Requirements And How To Apply For It

UK Refugee Travel Document After Brexit | Travelling As Refugee

The UK refugee travel document (RTD) has offered many benefits to refugees. Before Brexit, RTD gave the chance of international travelling without a visa in the whole EU. However, Brexit affects the effectiveness and use of RTD. The doors of the EU are now closed for Refugee Passport UK. 

Despite that, UK refugees now face challenges when deciding to travel to the EU. After Brexit, various policies regarding travel documents changed, causing trouble in the visa process. This article thoroughly explores how Brexit affects UK refugees, so stay connected. 

What Is A Refugee Travel Document (RTD)?

RTD is a kind of identification that the country’s government issues when refugees seek asylum. It permits the refugee to travel, live peacefully, avail of benefits, and have the right to live without fearing losing their identity. RTD is such a passport for refugees that it makes international travel easy. Refugee travel documents are essential for the following reasons: 

  • It makes traveling easy to attend international conferences, for treatment, and for family visits. 
  • You can safely return this document with this document.
  • It is a legal status that serves as an identification document.
  • With this identification document, refugees can get a job.
  • It also enables refugees to get an education. 

Changes To UK Refugee Travel Document After Brexit

The following points show how the exit from the EU Brexit affected the UK: 

  • Before Brexit, UK refugees were allowed to travel in the EEA and EU without having any travel documents and visas. Now, just like normal individuals, UK refugees need a valid visa and will go through the process of obtaining a visa to enter the EU and EEA.
  • Some parts of the EEA and EU still welcome UK refugees without visas, while others need visas.
  • The length of the RTD validity period is still the same. This document is issued for five years, and they can travel freely. 
  • Also, the renewal process of RTD is unchanged. You need supporting documents for renewal and have to visit the home office. 
  • After Brexit, visa-required countries now require travel documents such as funds, which were not needed before. 

How Asylum Policy Affected After Brexit?

The following points will show how Brexit affects asylum policy:

  • Protection and Legal rights
  • Resettlement and Integration
  • International protection
  • Access to the asylum procedure
  • Family reunification
  • Right to asylum
  • Visa requirements

Protection and Legal rights

Asylum policy provides a wide range of protection and legal rights for refugees’ safety. The changes in visa requirements impact representation and legal assistance for RTD holders. Refugee Passport UK need help traveling, accessing asylum procedures, and getting legal support. Due to these difficulties, many refugees cancel their traveling plans. 

Resettlement and Integration

The resettlement and integration processes are critical factors in asylum policy that legally permit refugees to rebuild their new identity without fear in a new country under asylum protection. On behalf of the asylum policy, refugees can travel internationally to create community networks, get jobs, and earn higher education degrees. However, after Brexit, the requirement for visas changed, and due to this, a lot of refugees failed to go on international tours. 

International protection

The asylum policy aims to provide international protection to refugees. However, as the requirements change for RTD holders, most must stay within international boundaries, compromise their freedom, and move back to their countries. If the situation remains the same, refugees will have to bear dangerous consequences, and their protection will extend.  

Access to the asylum procedure

The UK RTD is legal proof of refugee status, but due to changes in visa requirements, these refugees cannot claim their identity in EEA and EU countries. Refugees who have to go to the EEA and EU visa-required countries for interviews and appeals will have to bear additional hurdles. After Brexit, due to these conditions, refugees face delays and rejections and have to apply more than once for visa approval. 

Family reunification

Refugees whose families are living cross-border can reunite with them in another country or the UK. The refugee can easily sponsor the whole family to establish their community in the UK. If a Refugee Passport UKwants to settle in another EEA country with their family after Brexit, they have to undergo a complex process of family reunification, and the visa requirements need to be updated for every Refugee Passport UK. 

Right to asylum

According to international law, refugees can seek asylum in any country. However, the requirement for visas hinders these rules. Asylum protection is limited for refugees who must pass a complicated visa process. Refugees are restricted from traveling anywhere in selected countries that follow the rights and rules of asylum protection. 

Implications For UK Refugees

The following are the implications for UK refugees after Brexit: 

  • Many EU and EEA countries now require additional documents and visas for refugees, which complicates the visa process for UK refugees.
  • Refugees facing a financial crisis are applying for visas, and visa costs are too high.
  • Most EU and EEA countries have put various limitations on the visas that refugees can travel to if they are coming to meet family or for any specific work-limited travel. 
  • After Brexit, EEA and EU countries have changed their visa requirements, which makes it challenging for Refugee Passport UK. 

Advice For UK Refugees

Following are the essential pieces of advice for UK refugees after Brexit: 

  • If you plan to travel to the required countries, ensure you know all their requirements about the application and processing time.
  • It is important to check eligibility criteria before submitting the visa application, whether the country you are applying for welcomes refugees.
  • Some visas cost too much, so make your budget according to the type of visa you want.
  • Stay updated about traveling details and visa regulations to avoid in-time problems.
  •  If you are unaware of the visa and are applying for the first time, seek advice from the home office or legal advisor. 


To conclude, the UK RTD is a crucial document for refugees that allows them to show their identities. With that, traveling was relatively easy before Brexit. However, these refugees face hurdles when traveling. Many visa restrictions exist for refugees that block their traveling, put regulations, increase financial burdens, and hinder asylum policy. However, you can overcome these problems by proper travel planning, understanding visa requirements, and having enough funds. If you still find it hectic, go to the immigration officer, consult with them, and find the solution to your problem. 


How to renew the UK RTD?

For the renewal of your UK refugee travel document, you have to fill out a form and provide these essential things:

  • Refugee status document
  • Current RTD
  • Passport size two pictures
  • All the mentioned documents

What are the required documents for RTD after Brexit?

As rules changed after Brexit, you now need to provide these crucial documents that are mentioned below:

  • Evidence of refugee status
  • Existing RTD
  • Approved asylum letter
  • Copy of utility bills
  • Address
  • Identity
  • Driving license

How much time does an RTD UK take to process?

The processing time of refugee travel documents varies, but generally, it takes four to six weeks. However, if the home office has a busy schedule, this takes more than six weeks. As a refugee, it is good to apply for RTD before you plan any tour because if you do not have RTD, your visa will not be approved at the time of visa application. 

What are the rules for traveling for EU countries after Brexit?  

After Brexit, it is difficult for UK refugees to travel to EEA and EU countries. All these countries have their own rules; some require a visa, and some do not. Few countries offer short stays for refugees under certain requirements. Before applying to any EU country, you might have sufficient knowledge about its rules for refugees. 

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Our Head Solicitor
Khurram Amir Qureshi

Khurram Amir Qureshi has been an advocate of Pakistan since 2004, a Solicitor of England and Wales since 2009, Solicitor of Ireland since 2015. He has extensive experience in family law, Immigration law, Personal injury cases, and Civil and Commercial litigation gaining over 13 years of continuous practice in England and Wales.

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