Visitor Information for social visits

Book a visit online

COVID-19 Update - April 2021: All visitors will be required to take a lateral flow test upon arrival and must wait 30 minutes for the results to come through before being allowed entry. 

If the test gives a positive result, you will not be allowed entry and will be asked to return home. 

Visiting times

Visiting hours between 14:00 and 21:00 on Monday - Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. On Friday's the visiting hours are from 14:30 to 21:00. Last admission is at 20:30.

You must book at least one day in advance, between 8:00 and 21:00.

Book a social visit using the online booking form or via:

Tel: 01293 566 500 for Brook House
Tel: 01293 434 800 for Tinsley House
Email: gatwickirc.visitsbooking@serco.com

What identification is required?

Social visitors (i.e. personal visitors to residents) must provide one of the following:

  • A passport (current or if expired within 5 years of expiry date). This can include foreign passports and travel documents recognised by HM Government.

  • European Community identity card

  • Photographic driving licence


Or two of the following:

  • Birth certificate

  • Marriage certificate

  • Rail or bus pass with photograph

  • Employer’s ID card or NUS student card

  • Young person’s proof of age card

  • Trade union membership card

  • Senior citizen travel pass issued by a local authority

  • Home Office ARC card (asylum support application registration card)

  • Benefits book

Remember to bring your ID for each and every visit you attend, failure to provide the correct forms of ID can and will result in refusal of entry to the centre in accordance with this Detention services order (DSO).

Prohibited items

Gatwick Immigration Removal Centres Visitors Prohibited Item List


Electricals

Tablets
Extension leads
Plug adaptor
Recording devices
Cameras (including camcorders)
Cassettes and tapes
Personal copied CDs/DVDs
Laptops
USB sticks
Memory cards
Smart watches and Fitbits
Mobile phones

Toiletries

Chemicals (including Hydrogen Peroxide)
Cosmetics
Perfumes

Medication*

Needles or syringes
Any illicit substance
Psychoactive substances - PS
Any unknown / unquantified substance

*In-possession medication to be declared at booking in visitors centre.

Weapons

Improvised weapons
Guns / Ammunition
Knives
Belts with large buckles
Self-defence weapons
Razors
Tools
Loose blades
Metal cutlery
Scissors

Miscellaneous

Chewing gum
Coat hangers
Suitcases
Rucksacks
Sellotape
Any flammable products (including White Spirit)
Lighter fluid / any lighters
Pets
Cash must be handed in on booking in at the centre
Ceramic plates / cups
All tobacco product (Cigarettes)
Pornography
Blu tack
Candles
Marker pens / paint
Solvent based glue
Matches
Alcohol

Note:

This list is NOT exhaustive. Staff are to seek advice from Security should they come across an item not listed here which they feel may be prohibited. 

We take a zero tolerance approach to anyone bringing in any prohibited item or illegal substances into the centre and will refer any breaches to the local Police authorities.

Arriving for visits

All visitors should present themselves to either the Front Reception Desk at Tinsley House/Gatwick PDA or the Visitors Centre at Brook House where our staff will welcome you and assist you in your visit at the centre.

All visitors will be subject to a search of their person and belongings on arrival at Gatwick IRCs. Refusal to comply with a search will result in your entry to the site being refused. Searches will, where requested, be conducted by a member of our team of the same gender. You will not be asked to remove any items of clothing as part of the search. If as a result of the search you are found to be in possession of any of the prohibited items listed, you will not be able to take these items into the Centre with you but will be able to collect them as you leave. If you are found to be in possession of any illegal items such as drugs, the police will be contacted.

What information will I be asked to provide?

At Visitor Reception, you will be asked to provide sufficient ID, once that has been completed we will take a biometric scan of the tip of both your index fingers and your photograph will be taken. This information will be validated on your entry to and from the visits hall. This personal information will then be encrypted immediately and will be destroyed if not used within six months, in accordance with the UK Data Protection Act. This data will not be cross checked against any other database; it is purely used to ensure the same person exits the Centre as presented to the staff at entry.

What does Biometric mean?
Biometric means a piece of unique information about you, i.e. Iris recognition, Hand geometry Recognition, Face Recognition or Fingerprint recognition this cannot be reproduced by anyone as this information is unique to you. At Gatwick IRC we use information on the depth and length of ridges on your fingers,

What does the Data Protection Act say?
The Data Protection Act says that information should be kept for no longer than is necessary. The Act does not specify what a ‘necessary’ period should be for particular information. Each case would be considered on its own merits. If an organisation is obliged to retain data for a given length of time under any other laws, this should be taken into consideration.

Data Protection information can be obtained by contacting The Information Commissioner’s Office on 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 or online at www.ico.org.uk/ 

Can I request the information used at Gatwick IRC to be removed when I finish my visit?
Unfortunately not, but our system is set to auto remove all of your details if you do not attend site for 6 months or more

What details are removed?
The system removes your picture any personal details and biometrics taken, we keep basic information about your visit i.e. time date and visit number for audit purposes

What do I do if I need further information or would like to provide feedback?
We welcome all feedback. Please write your request to:

Assistant Director Security
Brook House Immigration Removal Centre
Perimeter Road South
London Gatwick Airport
RH6 0PQ
 

How do I send money to a resident?

Visitors are able to deposit money (sterling bank notes only) for residents via a secure kiosk in the Visitor’s Centre.

Safeguarding

The staff and volunteers at Gatwick IRC are committed to practice which promotes the welfare of vulnerable adults and children and safeguards them from harm. Staff and volunteers accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues that cause harm, and to establish and maintain a safe environment for them. We will not tolerate any form of abuse, wherever it occurs or whoever is responsible. We are committed to promoting an atmosphere of inclusion, transparency and openness and are open to feedback from residents, their family / friends, advocates, our staff and our volunteers with a view to how we may continuously improve our services/activities.

Searching

Target – Social visitors - Entry 

Social visitors will be searched with their consent although if permission is not given entry will be denied in accordance with Detention Centre Rule 55

  • 100% of social visitors will be Level B searched. 

  • 100% of all social visitors will pass through a metal detection portal. Those visitors that are pregnant or have a medical condition requiring the use of a pacemaker will be exempt from the use of metal detection portals and wands. In such circumstances the Duty Manager should decide whether a level A or B search is appropriate under the circumstances.  

  • 100% of all domestic visitors leaving the visits hall to go to the toilet will be Level B searched before re-entering the visits hall. If a member of staff has reason to suspect that an illicit item may be concealed on re-entry to the visits hall the Duty Manager should be contacted immediately to either conduct a level A search, continue the visit as a closed visit or terminate the visit altogether. Any level A search can only be conducted with the agreement of the visitor. Alternatively, a closed visit may be accommodated or in extreme circumstances, the visit may be cancelled in the interest of safety and security. 

 Target – Official and legal visitors to residents - Entry 

This section applies explicitly to those visitors attending to visit Residents. Other site visitors reporting to site staff directly will be subject to searching only as part of staff searching operations. 

Official and legal visitors will be searched with their consent although if permission is not given entry will be denied in accordance with Detention Centre Rule 55

  • 100% of all legal/official visitors will be rub down level B searched. 

  • 100% of all professional visitors will pass through a metal detector portal. Those visitors that are pregnant or have a medical condition requiring the use of a pacemaker will be exempt from the use of metal detection portals and wands. In such circumstances the Duty Manager should decide whether a level A or B search is appropriate under the circumstances. 

  • If a member of staff has reason to suspect that an illicit item may be concealed on re-entry to the visits hall the Duty Manager should be contacted immediately to either conduct a level A search, continue the visit as a closed visit or terminate the visit altogether.