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.
Renewing or replacing a biometric residence permit
If your visa is about to expire, you can get a new BRP automatically once you have applied for an extension.
If you have ILR status you can use the BRP replacement service if you are living in the UK. If you are living aboard you will need to apply for a replacement BRP visa – which will allow you to return to the UK once and costs £154.
The difference between a Biometric Residence Permit and a Biometric Residence Card
There is a crucial difference between a Biometric Residence Permit and a Biometric Residence Card and how they are regarded under UK immigration rules.
A Biometric Residence Permit is given to people who have met the requirements for leave to enter or remain in the UK. These permits are issued with the wording of Short Stay Permit or Residence Permit.
In contrast, Biometric Residence Cards will display the wording of Residence Card or Permanent Residence. These cards were issued to people from non-EEA countries who qualified for permit residence under European Union. Since leaving the EU, UK immigration no longer accept applications for Biometric Residence Cards and existing ones can not be renewed past their expiry date.
Biometric Residence Permits and change of circumstances
If you have a BRP then you are required to report any changes in your circumstances. How you report it depends on what has changed and whether you need to apply for a new BRP.
A change of address can be reported online or by filling in a form available on Gov.uk website.
However, you must apply for a new BRP if you have changed your name, gender, facial appearance or nationality. You will have to pay a fee for a new BRP and you must apply within three months of the change otherwise you could risk a fine or be removed from the UK.
In addition, you must report any other changes including receiving a criminal conviction, separation from your partner or any of your children stop living with you.
Last modified on June 17th, 2022 at 12:38 pm
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If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost, damaged or stolen, you can apply for a replacement online – you must do this within 3 months of the BRP being lost, stolen or damaged. 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.
You should receive your BRP within 10 working days of getting your ‘decision letter’ telling you can stay in the UK.
It may take slightly longer than 10 days if your BRP is being delivered to the:
- Isle of Man
- Isles of Scilly
- Scottish Highlands or islands
You’ll be sent an email or text from a courier telling you when your BRP will arrive.
Someone aged 18 or over must be at the delivery address to receive your BRP and they will need proof of their identity before being able to take delivery of the BRP.
You can contact the delivery company to change the date of delivery if there will be no one available to accept the BRP.
You are advised not to travel outside the UK without your BRP. The BRP is proof of your immigration permission and you are normally required to show this in order to travel to, and re-enter the UK and without it you could face additional delays and possible refusal.
A Biometric Residence Permit is usually valid for a period of 10 years,
If you have been granted indefinite ILR in the past few years, you may have been issued with BRP with an expiry date of 31 December 2024. However, your permission to remain in the UK is not going to expire on 31 December 2024. It is hoped that the UK will switch from physical BRPs to being able to prove immigration status online by the end of 2024 – therefore the Home Office are not issuing BRPs valid beyond this date.
If you are coming to the UK to work, you are advised by the Home Office to collect your BRP before you start working. All employers are legally required to check each foreign national employee’s right to work to in the UK.
If you need to start your job before you are able to collect your BRP then it is possible to use the vignette in your passport to allow your employer to conduct a right to work check – this sticker is only valid for 10 days and you will need your BRP beyond this time scale.
Anyone who needs to confirm their immigration status is required to have a biometric residence permit. You need the permit to be able to prove your right to live study or work in the country. Having a BRP also means you can access public services and use it as a form of ID to open a bank account etc.
Yes – a UK visa can be refused after giving biometrics. Giving your biometric information is just part of the process of applying for a UK visa and does not mean your visa will be approved.
You do need to legally have biometric card if you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. However, it can be used to confirm your status as well as making travel into and out of the UK easier.
In addition, a BRP can be used as a proof of ID and is harder to copy or damage than a passport visa.
A BRP is not a travel document on its own and it must be used alongside a passport. You will not be allowed to travel with just a BRP.
You do not need to carry your BRP all the time. However, it must be used to show your entitlement to study, work or to access public services in the UK. Therefore you are advised to take steps to ensure it is not lost, stolen or damaged.
EU nationals are not required to have a biometric residence permit. Instead, they are able to provide information on their immigration status via an online system.
Eligible EU nationals will be provided with a UK Visas and Immigration account that allows them to share their status with others – such as an employer or educational institution. The online account also allows them to check what rights they have while staying in the UK.