Foreign national prisoners The Early Removal Scheme for foreign national prisoners - ERS

This scheme lets prisoners who are foreign nationals leave the UK before their sentence is finished. Information will be sent to the Borders and Immigration Agency about you. The Borders and Immigration Agency will tell you if you are going to be leaving the UK and sort out your travel back to your home country.

You will serve a minimum period in prison in the UK before going back. The longest amount of time for ERS is up to 270 days. Some prisoners will not be granted ERS.

For example:

• Prisoners who have to sign the sex offender register.

• Violent and sex offenders currently on an extended sentence.

• Prisoners who are serving a sentence for not returning after a Release on Temporary Licence.

• Prisoners in prison on a hospital order, hospital direction or transfer direction.

• Prisoners serving a sentence for not following a curfew order.

• Prisoners who have at any time been recalled to prison for not following the HDC curfew conditions.

• Prisoners who have, during their current sentence, been released on HDC or given early compassionate release and have been recalled to prison.

• Prisoners who have, at any time, been recalled to prison for committing an offence before the ‘at risk’ period of their sentence has ended.

• Prisoners who, at the point of sentencing, have less than 14 days left before the halfway point of their sentence.

• Prisoners who have not paid a fine or not done what the court has told them to (contempt of court).

If you are not removed under the ERS, you will carry on with your sentence.


The Borders and Immigration Agency will tell you if you are to be deported at the end of your sentence. They will serve (send) an Immigration Detention Order to the prison.

You will either stay in prison after the end of your sentence or be sent to an Immigration Detention Centre until you are deported (removed) from the UK. If you do not want to be deported you need to talk to a solicitor to find out if you can appeal.

You can find more information in Prison Service Order 4630.


The UK has repatriation agreements with some countries. This means that some prisoners can go to prison back in their own country. You can be repatriated if

ƒ You are a national of the country you want to go to.

ƒ Your sentence is final and no appeal is outstanding.

ƒ The offence you committed would also be an offence punishable by imprisonment in the other country.

ƒ You have, at the time you make your application, at least 6 months of your sentence left to serve before release.

Prison staff can check if the UK has a repatriation agreement with your country. You need to use the prison’s request/complaints procedure to start the process to see if you can be repatriated. The UK and your country have to make an official request for repatriation. You can also ask official staff who work at your country’s embassy to make an application for you.

You can find a list of embassies in Prison Service Order 4630.

It can take a long time to decide on requests for repatriation, sometimes up to 2 years. The UK will usually only refuse requests for repatriation if

ƒ you would serve less time in prison if you transferred abroad

ƒ you have a fine or other judicial order for payment outstanding. If you are repatriated, you must serve the amount of time that you have left to serve under the sentence you were given in the UK.

You will follow the rules of the country you go to on sentence review, release and supervision.  You will be told about any changes before you sign your repatriation agreement.

You can find out more from ‘Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984 – Information for Foreign Prisoners’, in the prison library. This information is in Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

Transfers to prisons in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man

Transfers from prisons in England or Wales to prisons in these countries are called transfers to another jurisdiction. You can ask for a permanent transfer so you can have visits from family and friends. Prison services in both countries have to agree to the transfer.

There are 2 types of transfer

• Unrestricted – your sentence will be completely managed by the area you move to and you will follow their rules for release and supervision on release.

• Restricted – England and Wales will fix conditions to your transfer. These could be about release, supervision on release or recall.

More about transfers

To stand a good chance of having a transfer request agreed you

• Need to have at least 6 months left to serve before your release date.

• Need to have no outstanding appeal against conviction or sentence.

• Must not be going back to court. Things that will be looked at as part of your application to transfer are

• Why you want to transfer.

• If you were living most of the time in the country you want to go back to.

• If you have close family and friends there.

• If you have shown that you plan to live there after you are released. You can also request for your licence to be supervised in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Ask your offender manager how to do this.