Deportation is the compulsory removal of a non-British citizen from the UK and, as distinct from other forms of compulsory removal, a prohibition on return until the deportation order is revoked. Where there has been no removal and therefore no enforcement of a deportation order, an application may also be made to revoke the order while remaining in the UK.

For those convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to a period of at least 12 months in custody after 1 August 2008 automatic deportation provisions apply which introduce a presumption that deportation is conducive to the public good. Statutory exceptions exist where removal would breach Refugee or Human Rights Conventions or the Community Treaties or where the person was under 18 at the date of conviction or subject to certain provisions of mental health legislation.

The power to deport on public good grounds has long existed and still plays a residual part in the deportation process in relation to criminal offending and family members. The most frequent use of the power has been against convicted criminals who have not been recommended for deportation by the court that sentenced them. Apart from automatic deportation provisions in the UK Borders Act 2007, the general rule for deportations is contained in immigration rule 364 (as amended from 20 July 2006, which applies to all conducive deportations and not just those based upon criminal offending.

Appeal rights lie against a decision to make a deportation order and a decision to refuse to revoke a deportation order. Automatic deportation decisions are also immigration decisions and appealable. A deportation order in these cases is made at any time whereas in other cases, after a decision to deport, there is then an appeal and thereafter the deportation order.

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