Expiring Biometric Residence Permit (BRP): Things You Must Know
As a foreign citizen, your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) opens the doors to legally reside and pursue your career aspirations in the United Kingdom. Alas, its validity is subject to a predetermined timeline. Therefore, when its expiration is imminent, it is essential to take the necessary actions to prolong its validity. In this article, we will reveal the steps you should take when your BRP nears expiration.
What Exactly Is a Biometric Residence Permit?
The BRP stands for Biometric Residence Permit. It is an obligatory certificate for non-EU national migrants residing in the UK, as it includes core details regarding their immigration status, identity, and conditions on their permission to remain. The document is a card resembling a driver’s license, and migrants must acquire it when they:
- intend to remain in the UK for a period exceeding six months;
- extend their stay to more than six months;
- seek settlement in the UK;
- transfer their old-style visa which is currently in a passport.
Your BRP holds the key to important information regarding your immigration status. Along with your biometric identifications, like fingerprints and a snapshot of your face, it also reveals the terms and conditions of your stay, including whether you’re eligible to work or use public funds. Your national insurance number will sometimes also be included in your BRP.
In order to obtain a BRP, a person must undergo digital photography and fingerprinting procedures at either a visa application centre or through the Home Office’s mobile application. Minors under 5 years are exempt from the fingerprinting requirement.
When is a Biometric Residence Permit Considered Expired?
The BRP has an expiry date. Usually, this date mirrors that of your visa, meaning when your visa is no longer valid, neither is your permit. However, for those who obtain ILR (Indefinite Leave to Remain), the BRP’s lifespan may be extended to ten years.
From 2020, some individuals receive Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) with a shortened validity period, set to expire on 31st December 2024, despite their visa or ILR being valid beyond that date. The Home Office has attributed this to the need to adhere to new European Union (EU) encryption standards.
The new EU encryption requirement, which came into effect in 2020, mandates that biometric information on the BRP must be encrypted using the latest technology. This is meant to enhance the security of the information and protect against fraud or unauthorized access. However, the new encryption process takes longer and is more costly, which has forced the Home Office to issue BRPs with shorter validity periods, even if the visa or leave remains valid beyond the expiry date.
This has caused some confusion and frustration among individuals who have received BRPs with shorter validity periods, as it has created uncertainty about their ability to continue living and working in the UK beyond the expiry date.
The Home Office has advised affected individuals that they will no longer need a BRP from 1 January 2025. Instead, they will be able to prove their status online.
Don’t worry if your Biometric Residence Permit shows an expiry date of 31st December 2024 – this doesn’t necessarily mean your permission will expire then.
If you are an EU national or their family member, theHome Office’s “view and prove” service is an online tool which can help you confirm the actual expiry date and prove your immigration status.
If you are not an EU national or their family member and your employer or landlord asks you to prove your right to reside in the UK for a certain period, you can also use the corresponding online instruments from the UK Home Office (prove your right to rent and prove your right to work).
By utilizing these services, you can endeavour to ensure that your residency status in the UK is confirmed to your landlord or employer with precise information regarding how long you have permission to reside in the UK. This can be extremely beneficial in situations where proof of residency is required for legal or employment purposes.
Expiring Biometric Residence Permit: What to Expect?
For a foreigner living in the United Kingdom with a BRP that is about to expire before 31st December 2024, it is crucial not to let the BRP expire without taking any action. The process of renewing your BRP may differ based on your status.
If you currently possess a UK visa that is on the brink of expiration, your BRP (Biometric Residence Permit) will normally also expire on the exact same date as your visa. To obtain a new BRP, it is necessary to apply for a visa renewal or extension. The prerequisites and procedures for renewing or extending your visa will vary depending on the specific type of visa you currently possess. It may be wise to enlist the assistance of experienced immigration lawyers, such as the ones at Sterling Law, to guide you through the entire process of renewing your visa.
If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the United Kingdom, and your BRP is near expiration, you can utilize the online replacement BRP service offered by the Home Office for a variety of situations. These include:
- loss, damage, or theft of the BRP or other immigration documents;
- loss, theft, damage, or expiration of your passport containing your UK visa;
- expiration of your BRP or other immigration documents after obtaining ILR;
- changes to your name, gender, date of birth, nationality, or facial appearance;
- the desire to transfer or upgrade your previous immigration document to a BRP.
This service requires you to complete an application form, pay the service fee, and have your biometric information taken by the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS). You will also need to submit proof of your identity, continuous residence in the UK, current BRP, and any evidence of your change in details (if applicable).
The UK immigration legislation continuously evolves, and so do the requirements for BRP replacement. As such, you may be asked to submit some additional documents beyond those mentioned above when you fill in the application form.
It is important to note that if you have temporary permission to be in the UK and your BRP is soon to expire, it is normally because your permission to remain is expiring at the same time. If this is the case, it is very important that you apply for an extension of your permission to remain in the UK before your current permission expires. This application process is completely different from a BRP Replacement application. This process will include an application for a new BRP card, so that no separate application will be required for a new BRP in these circumstances.
Expired or Lost BRP when Abroad: What are Your Options?
Based on our extensive experience, it is not uncommon for foreigners to encounter unsettling circumstances due to an out-of-date Biometric Residence Permit while abroad. Unfortunately, the Home Office states that individuals who are not currently residing in the UK are unable to apply for a replacement BRP. This can lead to significant difficulties and setbacks for those affected by an expired permit.
However, there is a workaround available to such individuals. The alternative is to request a “BRP replacement visa”, granting the holder the required authorization to enter the United Kingdom. After arriving, the individual can then proceed to apply for a replacement BRP.
Replacement BRP vs. BRP Replacement Visa: What is the Difference?
A replacement BRP is issued to replace a BRP that has expired or been damaged, lost, or stolen. The Home Office has provided guidelines outlining that individuals can only apply for a new Biometric Residence Permit from within the United Kingdom. It is recommended that individuals apply for a replacement BRP within three months of the original permit’s expiry date, unless there are valid reasons for not doing so.
When an individual loses their BRP while traveling outside of the United Kingdom or if it becomes invalid, they can obtain a BRP replacement visa. This temporary visa permits re-entry into the UK and is valid for duration of 30 days. It can only be used once and allows the individual to return to the UK before applying for a replacement BRP. Within ten working days after returning to the United Kingdom, the individual must apply for a new BRP.
Obtaining a replacement BRP can ensure that an individual’s lawful stay in the UK can be proven and can help them avoid legal challenges.
What are the BRP Renewal Fees?
Individuals seeking to update their Biometric Residence Permit will encounter a £19 fee. This fee is exclusively for those non-nationals who are currently living in the UK with temporary permission and require an extension on their BRP.
However, if you are outside the UK and your BRP has been misplaced or is no longer valid, you must apply for a replacement BRP visa. The cost of obtaining such a visa is £154. This fee covers the handling of your visa application but not the separate BRP replacement application you must make once you are in the UK.
What Happens After Submitting Your BRP Card Replacement Application?
Once you have successfully submitted your BRP Replacement application form and paid the necessary fee, the Home Office will send you an email to confirm submission of your application. After this, you will be required to use the UKVCAS online booking system to upload your supporting documents and book an appointment where your biometric data, including your fingerprints and photograph, will be taken. This appointment may typically be scheduled at a UK visa application centre near you. Upon completion of your appointment, the normal processing time for deciding your application is 3 weeks. If you have indefinite leave to remain, the processing time may be up to 6 months.
How to Return a BRP Card in the UK?
If your Biometric Residence Permit has become outdated and you have received a new one, you must return your old BRP card to the Home Office. You can do this by mailing it to the address stated in the granting letter of your new BRP or permission. Be sure to include a note explaining why you are returning the card and include your full name and case reference number.
The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a crucial document that non-EU citizens must obtain in order to reside in the United Kingdom for more than six months. This biometric card stores an individual’s personal information, immigration status, and biometric credentials, including fingerprints and photograph, and serves as evidence of a non-EU national’s right to reside and work in the UK. The BRP also makes it easy for employers, landlords, and government agencies to verify the immigration status of non-nationals.
Individuals’ Biometric Residence Permits are typically valid for their entire stay in the UK, and individuals need to renew their permission before it expires to obtain a new BRP and continue residing and working in the country. The process for renewing or extending your stay depends on the type of permission you have.
In relatively rare cases, the BRP will expire before the individual’s permission expires. In these circumstances, if the expiry date is before 31 December 2024, a Replacement BRP will be needed. The replacement fee for a BRP depends on whether the application is made from within or outside the country.
To avoid legal consequences such as the inability to work or rent a property, it is critical to track the expiry date of both your permission to stay in the UK and your BRP, and to take the required action within good time before it expires. To complete the relevant process, one must pay an application fee, provide supporting documents and attend a biometrics appointment.
If someone is outside the UK and their BRP is lost or no longer valid, but they still have permission to stay in the UK, they need to apply for a BRP replacement visa to re-enter the country.
Lastly, after receiving a new BRP card, it is vital to return the old one to the Home Office.