Complaints procedure

Find out how to complain about Border Force and how we deal with complaints.

Before you complain

Check you are in the right place before making a complaint to avoid any delays. We are unable to help you with any non-Border Force related issues or the Border Force matters listed below.

Many issues can be resolved by contacting the correct department about your concern.

Request information

Complain about other areas of the Home Office

Other areas of the Home Office have their own complaints procedures:

Other areas we do not deal with

Check to see if your question is already answered

Make sure the person you want to complain about is a Border Force officer

Border Force officers will have an identification number. They wear a dark blue uniform with epaulettes on their shoulders.

If the officer was not wearing this uniform, you should contact the relevant organisation such as the port or airport customer services department directly with your concerns.

Problems with queues in the arrivals hall

Border security is our top priority. When flights are delayed or multiple flights arrive in a short space of time, it can take longer for passengers to go through our border security checks.

Why you may have been stopped

We are unable to comment on specific reasons for additional checks on travellers at the border. To request personal data held in the immigration and borders system, you will need to make a subject access request.

We have a safeguarding duty and may need to ask you a few questions if you are travelling with a child under 18 and you are not the child’s parent or may not appear to be the parent (for example, you have a different family name).

Issues using ePassport gates

ePassport gates may be temporarily closed for a number of reasons:

  • it is more efficient for passengers to be checked by officers during quieter times

  • a gate may need an IT or system update

  • a large group of passengers are arriving who can’t use the gates and officers need to carry out manual checks

Remember children under 10 years are not eligible to use ePassport gates.

Definition of a complaint

A complaint is:

any expression of dissatisfaction that needs a response about the service we provide, or about the professional conduct of our staff, commercial partners and contractors.

This is about:

  • the standard of service received from Border Force

  • the professional conduct of Border Force staff or contractors

Make a complaint

When a complaint should be made

You should submit your complaint no later than 3 months after the incident has happened unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Where to send your complaints

We only accept written complaints that are in English or Welsh.

You should email your complaint to

Alternatively, you can fill in the Border Force complaints and compliments form (PDF, 59.5 KB, 2 pages) and send it to:

Complaints Allocation Hub
Central point of receipt
7th Floor
Lunar House
40 Wellesley Road

Information you need to provide

Tell us as much information about yourself as you can. This will help us investigate your complaint.

Please provide the following:

  • your full name, telephone number, email and postal address

  • full details of what your complaint is about, including times, dates and locations, such as flight number (if applicable), airport and terminal

  • the names or identifying numbers of the Border Force officers or a full description of each officer

  • your passport number and date of birth, or a copy of the biometric data page of your passport

  • a copy of the page in your passport stamped by the officer concerned, if applicable

  • copies of any relevant letters, paperwork or references

  • evidence of any damage caused, for example photographs, and any quotes, invoices and receipts to support your claim

Complain on behalf of someone else

To disclose information about another person, we need written authorisation.

Ask the person who wants to complain to complete our Border Force third party authority form (PDF, 91.2 KB, 3 pages) and make sure it includes their handwritten signature before completing the rest of the steps for making a complaint.

What happens next

You will get a response saying we have received your complaint. We may also contact you during an investigation for more information.

Complaints are managed by our Correspondence team. They will make sure that your complaint is resolved in a satisfactory and timely manner.

For more information about how we deal with complaints, see our complaints management guidance.

How long it will take

You will receive a response within 20 working days if it meets the criteria of a complaint that needs a response.

Serious complaints

If you make a serious complaint, for example about professional misconduct, we may refer the case to the Home Office’s Professional Standards Unit.

You will receive a response within 12 weeks from their investigators.

If you are not satisfied with the response

You can ask us to review the matter. We will need detailed information explaining what you are dissatisfied with. A member of staff can then carry out an independent review of your complaint.

You should expect a response within 20 working days of the date when you asked for a review.

If you are still not happy at this stage, you may be able to raise the matter with the Independent Examiner of Complaints who may be able to help you.