Worried about being detained?

We have produced AJAR cards which can help if you are detained.

The AJAR card will make sure that you have the important names and phone numbers which you need even if you are not able to keep your phone.

It is important that you plan ahead:

   Agree with a trusted friend how they would be able to get any of your paper work which would help your release, think about how they can get these from your house.

   Agree with a trusted friend/person supporting you that they are willing to be contacted by your medical and legal representatives and fill in their name and sign that part of the AJAR card

   Ask your lawyer for an emergency number which you can use when their office is shut

   Ask someone to accompany you to sign on if you are worried (AJAR can provide a volunteer to accompany you).

If you would like an AJAR card or if this would be useful for someone you know, please contact us.

Detention support


If you are taken to a detention centre, at a police station or an airport:


  • You should still be able to make phone calls.
  • If you have a solicitor, call them immediately as well. It is not too late to stop your deportation, but you need to act quickly.
  • you can only have a legal aid lawyer from outside detention if they’ve done 5 hours work for you before you were detained. If you are screened and detained without having seen a lawyer beforehand, you can only get legal aid from the surgeries within detention centres (where specific firms are allocated to each one). Here is the list of solicitors. Not all of these are good though so check with people if you are not sure. There is also a long waiting list so if time is running out you might need to go private.
  • Make sure you find a good solicitor as many people are let down by bad legal advice.
  • If you are in Harmondsworth or Colnbrook, you can get advice from Detention Action free from a pay phone on 0800 587 2096 or from your mobile on 020 7226 3114
  • Ask if there are any visitors or detainee support groups and try to contact them.
  • If you are from Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Association might be able to offer you advice. The ZA helpline is usually open Tuesday and Thursday 10 – 4pm Telephone: 020 7739 8226
  • If you have not yet been issued with removal directions, you might be able to apply for bail. Contact AJAR for advice.
  • If you have been issued with removal directions, a public campaign where you ask people to contact the airline might be the best action. You can contact AJAR or Leeds No Borders 07466699812 to see if they can support you with a public campaign.
  • If you do not want to go back to your country, do not sign any papers saying that you agree to return home.
  • Do not sign any agreements to leave your children behind or take them with you. They might use all kind of tricks and threats – be strong!
  • If you are not deported, you should be released from the detention centre. If they don’t release you, you can apply for bail.


Right to Remain http://www.righttoremain.org.uk/ is a voluntary organisation which provides practical help and advice to people facing deportation on how to make a campaign against their deportation Tel: 0207 749 7616/ 07817 359746


Medical Justice

If you are a survivor of torture, trafficking or any other form of cruelty, the Helen Bamber Foundation might be able to help.


At the airport…

Even if you are about to be taken to the airport, there are things you can do that might stop your deportation.

In many cases, pilots refuse to fly if there is someone on the plane who is upset, making noise or refusing to sit down, or if other passengers do not want to travel on that flight for these reasons.

So, tell people on the aeroplane that you are being deported by force and that you do not want to be deported. Ask them to talk to the pilot as soon as possible (even before going on the plane).

If you have friends and supporters, ask them to go to the airport and talk to other passengers about you.

Don’t give up – keep fighting! You can be taken off the plane up until the doors close. If you are not deported on that flight and you are taken back to the detention centre, try to get a solicitor immediately to challenge your deportation.

Remember there are many things you can do to help yourself if you are detained - even if you end up without a lawyer to help you - it is crucial you do not give up hope. Please contact AJAR who have volunteers who may be able to help.  
Know Your Rights