After your entry clearance application for a long-term UK visa is granted, the final plans for your move to the UK have to be made, and often a number of frequently asked questions arise. For example:
- Why is my vignette (passport stamp) not the full visa duration?
- When do I have to arrive in the UK?
- Can I enter as a non-visa national before the start date of my vignette and stay after it starts under the new conditions?
- Where and when do I collect my BRP?
- Can someone else collect my BRP?
- Can I collect my child's BRP?
- What if there is a mistake on the card?
- Why does my BRP expire on 31 December 2024?
- Can I travel with my child and my partner join us in the UK later?
- Do I need a new BRP if I get a new passport?
- Do I need to carry my BRP with me?
In this article we answer these frequently asked questions.
Why is my vignette (passport stamp) not the full visa duration?
As we have discussed here, a Biometric Residence Permit, (BRP) is a card showing information about your visa in a secure format.
Passport stamps, also known as "vignettes" are less secure and more open to forgery, so they are limited in duration. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, vignettes had 30 days' validity as standard. Now, vignettes tend to be issued with 90 days' validity for long-term visas.
When do I have to arrive in the UK?
Mostly, simply within the validity of your vignette.
However, if you are a sponsored worker, e.g. Skilled Worker, you must start work within 28 days of the date your visa becomes valid / the start date on your CoS / the date you are granted permission to enter, whichever is the latest. If you do not start work within this timeframe, normally your sponsor must cease to sponsor you. It is best to check with your immigration adviser / employer if you have to arrive within a specific time frame on your visa type.
Generally, unless you wish to submit another application to apply for a new vignette to get a new 90 days to travel, it is advisable to plan to be able to enter the UK on the travel date you enter on your application form, as this date will be taken into account if the decision on your visa application is made before then. E.g. your visa application is successful on 01 August 2022 but you entered your travel date as 01 September 2022: validity for the vignette should run from 01 September, rather than 01 August 2022.
Can I enter as a non-visa national before the start date of my vignette and stay after it starts under the new conditions?
No. You can enter as a non-visa national under visitor conditions, which means that you must intend to leave the UK within six months of your entry date, and cannot work, etc. You will not enter under your new conditions until you leave the UK and re-enter with the new visa. It is very important that you do not enter as a visitor and simply assume that your vignette will automatically take effect from its start date – it does not.
Where and when do I collect my BRP?
Details of where to collect your BRP will be provided in your decision letter which you should receive when collecting your passport.
If there is no decision letter accompanying your passport when this is returned to you, it is generally advisable to log in to your visa application or to check the submitted form as this should show the Post Office from which you will have to collect your BRP.
You must collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK, or before the expiry of your vignette, whichever is later.
Can someone else collect my BRP?
As a general rule, no – adults normally have to collect their own BRP.
However, if an applicant has a serious illness or disability that prevents them from collecting their own BRP, they can nominate someone else to collect the BRP. The Home Office does not accept any other reason for another person to collect the BRP.
Can I collect my child's BRP?
You can collect your child's BRP if you are named on the child's passport stamp and collecting your own BRP at the same time, or if you are the 'nominated person' to collect the BRP.
Can I travel with my child and my partner join us in the UK later?
You should all aim to enter the UK within the validity period of your vignettes (or shorter period, depending on your visa type).
In a child's application, you will normally have had to show that either both parents are applying or have leave, or that you have sole responsibility for the child. Where one parent is remaining in your home country while the other travels with the child, it is likely to be a sensible precaution to take a copy of the other parent's vignette and evidence that they will travel to the UK on their planned entry date, so that an Immigration Officer is assured that the visa conditions will be met and both parents will come to the UK.
What if there is a mistake on the BRP card?
Once you have received your Biometric Residence Permit, you must check your BRP carefully to ensure all details are correct. Any errors need to be identified promptly, as there is a limited timeframe in which an Administrative Review can be lodged or problem reported, as appropriate.
Why does my BRP expire on 31 December 2024?
This is not an error.
Your leave will be valid for the dates on your grant letter – e.g. 01 September 2022 – 15 September 2027. However, as BRP's are due to undergo a security upgrade, as discussed in our blog here, the physical card will expire on 31 December 2024, even though your leave will continue beyond this date.
You will be contacted by the Home Office in due course to use the online 'view and prove' service.
Do I need a new BRP if I get a new passport?
No – your BRP is not linked to your passport. So long as your personal details do not change, you are able to continue to use a BRP which you received while you held one passport alongside subsequent passports.
However, if any of the details on your Biometric Residence Permit change (name, nationality, facial appearance, DOB or gender), you must report the change of circumstances to the Home Office. So if your nationality changes this must be reported, but not a simple passport renewal.
If you have a valid BRP and have changed your address, you can report this without having to apply for a new Biometric Residence Permit using this form. This form can also be used to inform the Home Office of other changes of circumstance such as criminal convictions, separation from a partner or if a child stops living with you permanently.
Do I need to carry my BRP with me?
You are required to have your BRP with you at all times. You will need to travel with your BRP as this must be shown at the UK border alongside your passport or travel document when travelling outside of the UK or returning to the UK.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.