What is a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?
The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is an immigration document that details a migrant’s biographic details and biometric information, it is a small card that looks similar to a driving licence. It also shows your immigration status and entitlements of your stay in the UK.
As an immigrant in the UK your Biometric Residence Permit is very important, employers will often ask to see it as part of their right to work checks and you may also need to show it to universities and landlords.
You will receive a BRP only under specific circumstances. If you wish to learn more, you can get in touch with our team of professional immigration lawyers in London. You can call us on 020 4502 8582.
- What is a Biometric Residence Permit?
- Who needs a Biometric Residence Permit?
- Which details are reported on my BRP?
- What can I use my Biometric Residence Permit for?
- How do I apply for a Biometric Residence Permit?
- How do I have my Biometric Information taken?
- How do I collect my Biometric Residence Permit?
- Mistake on a Biometric Residence Permit
- Biometric Residence Permits and Indefinite Leave to Remain
- Biometric Residence Permits and British citizenship
- Frequently asked questions
Who needs a Biometric Residence Permit?
A Biometric Residence Permit is issued to all overseas nationals who are staying in the UK for more than 6 months, this includes those who have successfully applied to settle in the UK, people who have entered the UK on long-term work visas and foreign students coming to study in the UK.
You will also get a Biometric Residence Permit if you extend your visa to longer than 6 months, transfer your existing visa to a new passport of apply for specific Home Office travel documents.
EEA, EU and Swiss nationals who have been granted settled status or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will also receive a Biometric Residence Permit.
Short-term visa holders such as those in the UK on a visitor visa, will not be issued a Biometric Residence Permit.
Which details are reported on my BRP?
Your Biometric Residence Permit contains details about yourself and your immigration status, these details include:
- Your name, date and place of birth
- Your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo of your face)
- Your immigration status with any conditions of your stay
- Additional information, such as whether you can access public funds benefits and health services
You National Insurance number may also be printed onto the back of your Biometric Residence Permit, this varies depending on the date that your BRP was issued and your visa status. You will need to apply for a National Insurance number if there is not one on your BRP, you do not already have one or you’re planning to work, claim benefits, apply for a student loan or pay Class 3 voluntary National Insurance contributions.
What can Biometric Residence Permits be used for?
If you have successfully applied for a UK visa you will be granted entry clearance, this is a sticker in your passport that grants leave in the UK, the entry clearance is only valid for 30 days so you must travel to the UK within this time otherwise you will need to apply for a replacement. After arriving in the UK you then have 10 days to collect your Biometric Residence Card. Your BRP can then be used to confirm:
- Your identity
- Your right to live in the UK
- Your right to work or study in the UK
- Your right to access to public services and benefits
When travelling to and from the UK you will be required to show your Biometric Residence Permit alongside your passport at the border.
How do I apply for a Biometric Residence Permit?
You do not need to make a seperate application for a Biometric Residence Permit if you are applying for a UK visa or settlement. During your application you will be asked to make an appointment at either a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point if inside the UK or a visa application centre if outside the UK. At this appointment the information for your Biometric Residence Permit will be collected. You will automatically get a Biometric Residence Permit if your visa application is approved and you can collect it once in the UK.
You can apply for a Biometric Residence Permit if:
- Your passport or travel document has expired or it’s been lost or stolen
- The details on your visa (including your facial appearance) have changed
- Your BRP or other immigration document is lost, stolen, damaged
- Your BRP or other immigration document has expired after you have received indefinite leave to remain
- You want to transfer or upgrade your old immigration document to a BRP
You can apply online using the application form available on the gov.uk website.
How do I have my biometric information collected?
In order to be issued a Biometric Residence Permit, you must have your biometric information collected, this is your fingerprints and photograph. If your application is successful, you will be told where to go to have your biometric data collected.
If you are applying from within the UK, you can go to one of the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service points, or to any Post Office branch. Applicants from outside the UK will be asked to go to a visa application centre. Overseas applicants will be asked whether they can get to a Visa Application Centre in their home country or a neighbouring country when they apply for a UK visa or settlement, if you are unable to have your biometric information taken your application will not be successful.
At your appointment you will have a digital photo taken of your face and you will also need to put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned. The process is very quick, it takes less than 5 minutes and doesn’t involve ank ink. If you wear a head covering for religious or medical reasons you will not be asked to remove it.
How to collect my Biometric Residence Permit?
If you applied from within the UK, your BRP would be sent to you by courier within 7 to 10 days of getting your decision letter from the Home Office. If it does not arrive, you can report your missing BRP online.
If you applied from outside the UK, you must collect your BRP once you enter the country. You must do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires, or within 10 days of your arrival date in the UK. You can collect your BRP from either a Post Office branch or your sponsor, depending on what is written on your decision letter.
You must be over 18 to collect your BRP.
Mistake on a Biometric Residence Permit
Once you have collected your Biometric Residence Permit it’s important that you thoroughly check to make sure that all the information on it is correct. You have 10 days from when you receive your BRP to report any mistakes on it. If you don’t report the mistakes within these 10 days you will need to apply and pay for a replacement of your BRP.
If you applied for your visa from within the UK and there’s a mistake regarding the length or conditions of your visa then you can apply for administrative review.
You can report a problem with your BRP online at the gov.uk website. To report a problem you will need your BRP number, your full name, date of birth and nationality as they appear on your BRP and an email or postal address. If you’d prefer, you can get someone else to report the problem for you, such as an immigration lawyer.
Once you have made your report the Home Office will contact you to let you know what to do next. Due to delays it is currently taking over 30 days for the Home Office to respond. Responses could be further delayed if you do not provide an email address.
Biometric Residence Permits and Indefinite Leave to Remain
Indefinite Leave to Remain is a form of settlement that allows you to live, work and study in the UK permanently. Indefinite Leave to Remain holders can prove their status using their passport, which will have a No Time Limit (NTL) stamp in it.
However, if your passport has expired most employers and other institutes will no longer accept this as proof of your Indefinite Leave to Remain status. Instead, you will need to transfer your Indefinite Leave to Remain to a Biometric Residence Permit.
Biometric Residence Permits and British citizenship
Once an immigrant has successfully naturalised as a British citizen and attended their British citizenship ceremony they must send their Biometric Residence Permit back to the Home Office. Failure to do this could result in a fine.
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
During this untimed Advice Session with our professional immigration lawyers in London, you will receive our comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated immigration lawyer will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your caseworker will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost or stolen, you can apply for a replacement. However, this option is only available from inside the UK.
If you are currently abroad, you can get someone else to report for you, such as your legal representative or your sponsor.
You can report online if your BRP has not arrived if:
- You have applied from inside the UK
- You had received your decision letter from the Home Office more than 10 days ago
If your visa is about to expire, you can get a new BRP once you have applied for an extension.
If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can use the BRP replacement service. However, if you are currently abroad, you will need to apply for a replacement BRP visa, which will let you re-enter the UK once only. It costs £154.
It costs £19.20 to give your biometric information if you are applying from within the UK. If you apply from abroad, the cost will be included in your application fee.
Children do not need to give their signature, nor their fingerprints if they are under 5. All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or an adult who has legal responsibility for them.
If you are not British and you cannot use or get a passport from your country of origin, you can apply for a document to travel outside the UK. To be eligible, you must be living in the UK as a settled person, refugee, or have discretionary leave for a limited time after a failed asylum application.
You may need to transfer or replace your visa if your passport has expired or your name or personal details have changed.
If your passport is expired, you can still use the valid visa when you are travelling to and from the UK. If your personal details have changed, you must replace your visa with a biometric residence permit (only if your authorised stay in the UK is longer than 6 months).
You only need to apply for a National Insurance (NI) number if:
- There is not one already printed on your BRP
- You do not already have one
- You wish to work, claim benefits, apply for a student loan or pay Class 3 voluntary National Insurance contributions.
To collect a child’s BRP, you must be nominated to do so, even if you are the parent or legal guardian. However, you do not need to be appointed if you are also collecting your own BRP, or if you are named on your child’s vignette sticker.
You can get fined up to £1,000 if you fail to collect your BRP. If you are unable to do it, you can nominate someone else. This person must have one of the following:
- A valid passport
- An EU national identity card
- A Biometric Residence Permit
If you have any problems collecting your BPR, you must tell the Home Office as soon as possible.