Social Visit

Social Visit

Social visits are an important part of a resident’s day and we encourage their friends and family outside the centre to make the most of these important times together.
Visits give our residents the opportunity to see familiar faces and discuss how they feel.  For family and friends, it gives the chance to hear first hand about the facilities and activities available to our residents and reassures them that we are taking every care of the needs and concerns of their loved ones.

Social visits take place in our large, tastefully decorated visits room, complete with soft seating and low coffee tables.  We provide a self-vend café bar for both visitors and residents and there is a small garden where residents can sit with their visitors if they prefer.  Our aim is to make both residents and visitors feel comfortable and better able to enjoy the visit.

Social Visit

Social visit times:

  • 14.00-17.00 (2pm – 5pm)
  • 18.00-21.00 (6pm – 9pm)

Social visits must be booked 24 hours in advance. Visiting rooms fill up quickly and booking ahead ensures that we can guarantee that you will be able to spend time with your family member or friend.

  • Call: 01234 821000
  • Fax: 01234 821096

Remember to bring:

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.

All visitors to Yarl’s Wood are searched, biometrically fingerprinted and have their photograph taken as part of the visit clearance procedure.  This is necessary to speed up identification, entering and exiting the visitor centre.  All fingerprints and pictures are deleted if the visitor doesn’t return for 3 months.

Why is the technology used?
Whenever visitors and residents share the same area within the Centre we are required to ensure that only visitors with the correct information can move around and leave that area via the correct exits. To enable us to do just that, we capture your photo and take a biometric reading of your index finger at Visitor’s Reception. This way when you enter the Centre, we can confirm your identity as a valid visitor to Yarl’s Wood IRC.

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 three 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 Yarl’s Wood 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

Can I request the information used at Yarl’s Wood IRC to be removed when I finish my visit?
Unfortunately not, our systems have been changed and the removal of data is not possible, but the system is set to auto remove some of your details if you do not attend site for 3 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:

Security Manager,
Yarl’s Wood IRC,
Twinwood Business Park,
MK44 2FQ

Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre