Bail is a way for you to be released out of detention. There are two ways to be released from immigration detention because bail can be granted by the Chief Immigration Officer also known as the CIO bail or an Immigration Judge at a hearing of the First-tier Tribunal.
How To Apply For Bail?
If you have been in the UK more than 7 days, you have the right to apply for bail. If you have a legal representative, he or she can make an application for you and represent you at the hearing stage. You can also do it yourself if you know how to do it legally and properly.
- You must print the bail application form also known as B1 Form. You can also as the immigration officers at the detention centre to give you the form. Or you can also call the Tribunal on 0300 123 1711 and ask them to fax you the B1 form.
- After you fill-out the B1 Form, you need to fax it to the Immigration Court which is designated to hear your application. You can ask any immigration officer at the reception where you are detained which Court to send the fax to.
- After 2-3 days, you will receive a notification of the date for your bail hearing.
- For a better application, it is adviseable for you to have at least one or two people to act as sureties. They are the people who will keep in touch with you and try to ensure that you do not break any conditions of release that might be made. They will usually be asked to offer some money also known as “recognisance” that may have to be paid to the court if you run away. Anyone with valid immigration status can act as surety but better to have someone who has no criminal conviction and someone of good character.
Do I need a legal representative to apply for bail?
No. You can do it yourself. But it may make your case stronger if you are legally represented.
I don’t have a solicitor – how do I fill out the bail application form?
The form has 8 sections. It is not too difficult to fill out. All of the sections except 5 (grounds on which you are applying for bail) and 7 (representation) ask for information about yourself and your sureties which you should already have. If you are making your own bail application, leave section 7 blank.
Section 5 is where you need to say why you should be released. You should mention why detention is unreasonable or unnecessary, your ties to the UK and why you will not run away. If applicable, you should explain that you have always kept in touch with the authorities when asked.
You should also refer to the following factors: the length of your detention, reasons why you cannot be removed, the speed and effectiveness of steps taken by the UK Border Agency, the effect of detention upon you and your family, and the risk that you will commit criminal offences if released. You can read the Bail Guidance for Immigration Judges, which judges must refer to when making a decision about bail.
It is also worth considering the UK Visas and Immigration’s policy on detention. In chapter 55 of their Enforcement Instructions and Guidance, it says that detention “must be used sparingly, and for the shortest period necessary”. It also says that a person who has an appeal or representations outstanding is more likely to comply with any conditions of release (and therefore be given bail), than one who is just awaiting removal. You can download chapter 55 on detention and chapter 57 on bail from the UK Visa and Immigration website.
What will happen at the hearing?
The bail application will be heard by an Immigration Judge. If you have sureties, you must make sure that they come to the hearing. They will need to bring evidence of their identity, and bank statements or work payslips for the last three months to show that any money that they are offering is available.
The Home Office will have someone there to oppose bail and will produce a document called a bail summary which gives the reasons why they do not want you released. You should be given a copy of this and be able to challenge anything in it which you think is incorrect or unreasonable. UK Border Agency policy says that the bail summary should be faxed to the applicant (you) and the applicant’s representative (your solicitor) the day before the hearing. It also says that if you do not have a solicitor representing you at the hearing, the bail summary should be sent to you at your place of detention before 2pm on the day before the hearing.
The judge may question anyone present and, when each side has put their case, will then make a decision.
What will happen if bail is granted?
There will be conditions attached to your release. You may be asked to report regularly to the police or to Immigration. You may have to live at a particular address. You may be electronically tagged so that a curfew can be imposed. If you break any of the conditions of release then you may be detained again straight away.
What happens if bail is refused?
You will remain in detention. You should receive a written statement of why bail was refused and this can be very useful in future applications. You can make another bail application after 28 days; if your circumstances change, you can apply sooner than this.
-Don Magsino MBA is an Immigration Lawyer in the United Kingdom.