If you have been granted indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the past few years, you will probably have been issued with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) with an expiry date of 31 December 2024.
From 1 January 2020, applicants who are granted five years limited leave to remain have also started to receive BRP’s endorsed with an expiry date of 31 December 2024.
If this applies to you, you may be concerned that your permission to remain in the UK is going to expire on 31 December 2024. The good news is that it isn’t! Your leave to remain will remain extant beyond 31 December 2024. The date restriction also does not change your entitlements to work, access services/benefits, or travel. Only your card will expire on 31 December 2024.
Why is the Home Office issuing BRPs that are set to expire on 31 December 2024?
Initially, the reason was related to EU requirements. According to the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association, the Home Office had advised that the EU required Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) to incorporate next-generation encryption technology. Since the BRPs that the Home Office were able to issue did not incorporate the next generation of encryption technology, the EU said that they must have a validity date of no later than 31 December 2024. The result was that some individuals had leave which was valid for longer than the document that they were issued with.
In January 2021 the EU restrictions on format were lifted and we moved to a new UK format BRP. The plan was to resume issuing BRPs with an expiry date in line with the duration of leave, with the exception of those granted indefinite leave to remain, whose BRPs would be issued with a default duration of 10 years for an adult and 5 years for a child.
However, in the interim, the Home Office has also been progressing its plans to digitalise immigration status information, with the aim of making immigration status information available via the online ‘view and prove your immigration status’ service on gov.uk. It is hoped that all individuals will have online access to their immigration status information by the end of 2024.
In line with this ambition, the Home Office has taken the decision to continue short-dating all BRPs to no later than the end of 2024. Therefore, most migrants will continue to receive BRP’s which expire sooner than their leave expires.
How can I prove the correct expiry date of my leave?
You should have received a letter from the Home Office confirming when your leave expires and advising that your BRP may expire earlier. If you do not already have access to your immigration status information online then you may rely on this letter as confirmation of the actual expiry date of your leave.
In due course, you will be given online access to your immigration status information via the view and prove service. You will then be able to use this service to see the correct expiry date of your leave.
It is also worth keeping in mind that as a BRP holder if you need to demonstrate your right to work to an employer or your right to rent to a landlord then you can already access the online right to work and right to rent services. These contain real-time status information which reflects the duration of your leave, rather than the expiry date stated on your BRP card.
What does the future hold for BRPs?
Previously, the Home Office had planned to replace all BRP cards restricted to 31 December 2024 with new BRP cards for the remainder of the leave period initially expected. It was planned for this rollout to take place during the second half of 2024.
Now the plan is that in early 2024, before BRP cards with an expiry date of 31 December 2024 start to expire, all holders of such cards will be given full access to their immigration status information online via the view and prove service. It should be possible to use this service in exactly the same way that you use your BRP card, albeit that details of the expiry date of your leave will be available online rather than on a physical card.