Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) are issued by the Home office following a successful visa application or grant of indefinite leave to remain.
The BRP is used to confirm an individual’s identity and immigration status in the UK, as well as their eligibility to work.
What does a biometric residence permit look like?
The permit is a card the size of a driving licence. It contains specific information and details about the holder, including their:
- Date and place of birth
- Biometric information (fingerprints and passport-style photo)
- Immigration status
- Conditions of stay in the UK
- Access to benefits or healthcare
In some cases, the BRP will also include the holder’s national insurance number (NIN).
Do you need a BRP?
BRPs are issued in a number of circumstances:
- If you have been granted a UK visa for longer than six months.
- If you have extended your UK visa for longer than six months.
- If you have been granted indefinite leave to remain.
- If you transfer your visa to a new passport.
- If you have applied for certain UK travel documents.
If you used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app when making your Home Office application, you will not be issued a BRP. You will instead be given digital proof of your status.
How do you apply for your biometric residence permit?
You do not have to apply separately for a BRP. The requirement will be processed as part of your Home Office application.
Submitting your biometric information
If you will need a BRP after your visa is granted, you will have to submit the biometric information and your photograph as part of your Home Office application.
This will require you to have your photograph and fingerprints taken while you attend the processing centre for your visa interview. If you are applying from within the UK, this could be in a UKVCAS centre or Post Office branch. If you are applying from outside the UK, this would be in a visa application centre in your home country.
Fingerprints are taken using a glass screen, so there is no ink or mess involved. The process takes only a few minutes.
Children under 5 do not need to provide their fingerprints. Children under 16 must be accompanied by a legal guardian.
There is a charge of £19.20 to submit your biometric information in the UK. Overseas application fees include the cost of submitting your biometric information.
Receiving your BRP
If you apply for your visa from within the UK, your BRP will be sent to you by courier service to the address provided in your application. You will not have to go and collect it.
You can change the address for the BRP to be sent to, but you have to do this before the decision letter is sent.
The permit usually arrives 7-10 days after the Home Office decision letter.
Collecting your BRP
If you apply for your visa from abroad, you will need to collect your BRP once you arrive in the UK.
When your visa is granted, a ‘vignette’ sticker will be placed in your passport. This vignette is valid for 30 days and allows you to enter the UK.
You must arrange to collect your BRP before this sticker expires or within 10 days of your arrival in the UK, whichever is later.
Your decision letter will state how to receive your BRP, and this will depend on arrangements made as part of your visa application.
The first option is to collect your BRP from a branch of the Post Office. If this is the case, your delivery letter will state which branch you should attend and when.
You don’t make an appointment to collect your BRP, you simply go along to the specified location.
You will have to present your passport with the 30 day vignette and your decision letter when you attend. Without these documents, you will not be allowed to collect your BRP.
Where the BRP is for an individual who is under 18 years of age, they may not collect the BRP unless accompanied by a nominated adult who can provide proof of their identity. This is a previously arranged responsible adult such as a parent or legal guardian. Nomination requires prior approval by the Home Office.
In certain situations, a school may set up a special arrangement with the Home Office to receive student BRPs in the post. Alternatively, they may arrange for a member of their staff to collect the BRPs from the Post Office.
Where you can’t collect the BRP from the Post Office yourself due to illness or disability, and you are over 18 years old, you may nominate another individual to collect the BRP on your behalf. This individual must have either a passport, EU identity card or a BRP. This nomination must, however, be approved by the Home Office.
The alternative to collecting your BRP from the Post Office is for it to be sent to your sponsor, such as an employer. If you choose this option, then you must indicate this in your visa application.
If you do not collect your BRP, you may face a fine of up to £1,000.
Once you receive it, check that all the details on your permit are correct. Should any of the information be wrong, report this to the Home Office immediately.
Reporting BRP changes to the Home Office
You have to keep your BRP up to date so that it provides accurate information about you, your contact details and your immigration status.
This means you have to report certain changes to the Home Office, such as a change of address or if you no longer meet the conditions of your visa or immigration category, as your BRP may need to be updated and replaced to reflect the new details.
Replacing your BRP
If your permit is either lost, stolen or damaged, it must be replaced within 3 months or you face a fine of up to £1000.
You will need to report the issue to the Home Office and order a replacement.
Biometric resident permit FAQs
What is a BRP?
BRP stands for Biometric Residence Permit. It is a card issued by the Home Office to non-UK nationals to prove their UK immigration status.
How do I get a BRP Card UK?
If your Home Office application is successful, you will be given instructions in the decision letter on how to collect your BRP. You must collect your permit within ten days of arriving in the UK.
How long is BRP valid for?
The BRP is valid for the duration of your period of UK leave, to a maximum of 10 years.
The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.