How we can help Resources Toolkits and guides Immigration advice for protestors Download this guide I'm worried about deportation Can I be deported if I'm arrested at a protest? You will usually only become subject to deportation action if you have been convicted of a criminal offence. Automatic deportation is triggered if you receive a custodial sentence of 12 months or more. If a serious conviction arises from your arrest at a protest you may face deportation action. If you have previous convictions, even a minor new conviction can trigger deportation action. Can deportation action be taken against me even if I have immigration status? Yes. Deportation action can be taken against anyone who is not a British citizen, including people who hold Indefinite Leave to Remain. I’m worried my immigration status will be affected if I protest Can my current immigration status be impacted if I am arrested at a protest? Yes, your current immigration status can be impacted if you are arrested or convicted of a criminal offence as a result of the protest. Your immigration status may be revoked following conviction. Can my future applications to the Home Office be impacted if I am arrested or stopped at a protest? Yes. Most applications for leave to remain, including for Indefinite Leave to Remain, have ‘suitability requirements’. If you are arrested or stopped and provide your details to the police, it may impact whether you can meet these suitability requirements. If you do not meet them, your application may be refused. If you are simply stopped by the police, you do not have to tell them your name or answer their questions. However, they may still be able to identify you from photos. In order to naturalise as a British citizen, you must meet a ‘good character’ requirement. Your ability to meet this may be impacted if you are arrested by the police at a protest. You do not need to be convicted, it is enough for them to show it is more likely than not you have been involved in crime. I’m undocumented Can the police arrest me if they catch me at a protest and find that I don’t have any status? Yes. If the police encounter you and suspect that you are committing an immigration offence, they may arrest you. Can the police share my information with the Home Office? Yes. If you are stopped by the police, searched or arrested, the police often share people’s information with the Home Office for the purpose of immigration enforcement. If you are simply stopped by the police, you do not have to tell them your name or answer their questions. However, they may still be able to identify you from photos. Will any future application I make to the Home Office be impacted if I’m encountered at a protest? It is possible that your perceived ‘suitability’ to be granted leave to remain will be impacted if you are stopped by the police at a protest, even if you are not arrested. I’m worried about being detained Can I be detained if I’m arrested at a protest? You are not liable to be detained under immigration rules if you have secure immigration status. If you are undocumented, you may be detained if you are encountered by the authorities. Immigration authorities can also detain you if you are convicted of a criminal offence as a result of the protest and then made subject to deportation action. Can anyone who is undocumented be detained? In theory yes. There are exceptions to this, for example if you are pregnant or particularly vulnerable. However, detention has been known to take place despite such vulnerabilities existing. How long can the Home Office detain me for? Immigration detention should only be used by the Home Office to enforce a removal that will happen quickly, however, the Home Office do have the power to detain indefinitely. If you are detained, you have the right to apply for bail. You should seek legal advice urgently. Bail for Immigration Detainees offer free legal support (helpline 020 7456 9750). If you need advice not covered here, you can call JCWI’s advice line between 10am and 1pm Monday, Wednesday or Thursday. All advice is confidential and free of charge. Calls charged at a local rate. Prepared by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants and Black Protest Legal Support.