ARTICLE
24 April 2024

Phasing Out Of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) And Other Paper-Based Residence Documents: What You Need To Know

BW
Bates Wells

Contributor

Bates Wells
For nearly a decade, migrants in the UK have been issued with a plastic ID card called a Biometric Residence Permit, which they can use to prove their residence rights – this is now all about to change.
UK Immigration
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What is happening?

For nearly a decade, migrants in the UK have been issued with a plastic ID card called a Biometric Residence Permit, which they can use to prove their residence rights – this is now all about to change.

By the end of the year, the Home Office is seeking to phase-out physical immigration documents including Biometric Residence Permits, Biometric Residence Cards and other paper-based documents in favour of online UKVI accounts.

Lexology reports that holders of UK Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) cards have already started receiving emails from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) asking them to set up an online UKVI account ahead of the move to E-visas, and this has since also been confirmed by the Home Office.

What do I have to do?

This is a sweeping change that will affect people across visa categories. It's important to take action once you receive an email from UKVI: all BRP holders will have to create an individual account (even if they are dependants, including children) and obtain an E-visa.

It is also important to update the passport linked to your account if necessary to ensure that your status can be checked correctly, and to update your contact details if they have changed.

This change should not affect you if you are BRP card holder who has already become a British Citizen with a British passport, or if you already have a UKVI account (in which case, you already hold an E-visa, EUSS Pre-Settled Status or Settled Status).

What happens if I don't do anything?

BRP card holders who don't obtain an "E-visa" by 31 December 2024 will not be able to evidence their residence status to third parties such as employers, landlords and banks. They may also be refused entry to the UK from 1 January 2025 onwards.

Even though there may be a transitional period for those who do not apply on time, we would urge BRP card holders not to rely on it.

What if I haven't received an email?

The UKVI emails are being sent out in batches, so don't worry if you haven't yet received an email. Keep looking out for one in the coming months and check your spam folder.

The government's E-visa guidance has also recently been updated to reflect the changes, and it's possible to sign up for updates on the page if you are anxious and haven't yet received an email.

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.

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