Border procedure (border and transit zones)

United Kingdom

Country Report: Border procedure (border and transit zones) Last updated: 24/04/24


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In the UK there is no provision for asylum decisions to be taken at the border. An application for asylum may be made at the border, and immigration officers from the UK Border Force may carry out the screening interview, but then always refer the claim to UKVI (see Regular Procedure).[1] The substance of the claim is not examined at the border.

If a person claims asylum, immigration officers grant immigration bail,[2] to enable the applicant to live in the community, subject to conditions, whilst the claim is considered. It is not an immigration status and therefore there are no rights attached to the admission. It is analogous to release from detention on licence. Detention at a port is limited to relatively short periods (less than 24 hours). Short-term holding facilities (STHF) at ports are not subject to the usual rules which govern immigration detention, but are inspected by the government’s Prison Inspectorate.[3]



[1] UK government, ‘Claim asylum in the UK’, accessed 24 March 2024, available at:

[2] Immigration Bail replaced temporary admission on 15 January 2018 (see Home Office guidance document, available at: Many guidance and policy documents still refer to Temporary Admission.

[3] See reports from the HM Inspectorate of Prisons on the Ministry of Justice, available at:

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection