Does the British High Commission provide any emergency travel document, a letter, or even temporary return of our passports with which non-Indian Visa Applicants could travel back to their home country?

I, along with my kids, have applied through VFS and have been stuck in Delhi for the past 10 days. I am starting to get worried, not for the outcome of the visa application, but for the mid-term exams of my kids, which start in a couple of days, and for me running out of my office leave.

We are Afghan nationals. Our passports are with the BHC as we await visa decisions. Would there be a way to retrieve our passports so we can return home, and then send in the passports (through courier or in person) when a decision is reached?

I was asking whether the BHC would provide a letter, saying that the passports are with it, and whether such a letter could be used for immigration purposes until the passports are returned. I was told by someone that he received such a letter sometime back (or maybe I misunderstood).

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    I'm not sure I understand the situation. Is it that you traveled to Delhi from some other country, applied for a UK visa there, and cannot go home because the High Commission still has your passport? Jul 3, 2017 at 14:55
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    What is your citizenship? Jul 3, 2017 at 14:57
  • 1
    The British high commission in India issues emergency travel documents to British citizens. I presume you are not a British citizen, since you're applying for a visa, so the answer to your question is no. It seems that your question is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of emergency travel documents. An emergency travel document is issued to someone outside his or her own country, by the authorities of that country, to allow the person to travel to that country in an emergency situation, without a passport (usually because it was lost or stolen).
    – phoog
    Jul 3, 2017 at 15:04
  • @Nate: Yes, I am an Afghan national. The passports are still with BHC and as I mentioned, I am looking for any possible way (including releasing our passports) to enable us to go back and then send in the passports (through courier? or in person) when a decision is reached.
    – Sabir
    Jul 4, 2017 at 5:54
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    @Sabir no. Any receipt the BHC might issue will be useless for immigration purposes. Such receipts can be useful for explaining to the police or others why a passport is unavailable for domestic identification, but you will not be able to leave India with something like that. You can explain that you need to go home and ask them whether you can take your passport and return if the visa is granted. I have no idea whether they will agree, however.
    – phoog
    Jul 4, 2017 at 11:32

1 Answer 1


Does the British High Commission provide any emergency travel document,

No, British consulates would only issue travel documents to British citizens or British subjects. Some exceptions could also be made for refugees who received permission to relocate to the UK. None of those apply to your situation.

I see the following solutions to your conundrum:

  • Ask the British consulate to return your passports prematurely without a visa, forfeiting your application.
  • Ask the Afghan consulate in India to issue you an emergency travel document and use it to travel back to Afghanistan
  • Wait for the visa to be issued and sort out the exams issue later on, perhaps using your passport stamps and the UK visa to prove you couldn't return prematurely

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