The nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) family of transcription factors is activated by canonical and non-canonical signalling pathways, which differ in both signalling components and biological functions. Recent studies have revealed important roles for the non-canonical NF-κB pathway in regulating different aspects of immune functions. Defects in non-canonical NF-κB signalling are associated with severe immune deficiencies, whereas dysregulated activation of this pathway contributes to the pathogenesis of various autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Here we review the signalling mechanisms and the biological function of the non-canonical NF-κB pathway. We also discuss recent progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms regulating non-canonical NF-κB pathway activation, which may provide new opportunities for therapeutic strategies.