Mistakes on biometric residence permits (BRPs) are becoming a regular occurrence. The BRP is the main proof of a non-European Economic Area national's right to live in the United Kingdom. It details the conditions under which it is granted (eg, to study, work or accompany a spouse) and may be used as a form of identification. It is therefore important that the details endorsed on it are correct. Migrants are required by law to have a BRP that accurately records their personal details and the type of permission they have to be present in the United Kingdom. Consequently, mistakes must be corrected.

Two types of common error are seen on BRPs:

  • errors in the duration or the conditions under which the permission to reside in the United Kingdom has been granted; and
  • errors in the personal information of a migrant, such as name or date of birth.

The process for rectifying such errors is time consuming and can be a cause of disruption to an applicant – particularly when he or she wishes to travel, start a course of study or rent a property in the United Kingdom (all of which require proof of permission to reside in the United Kingdom).

Further, there is a delay in the production of BRPs, which is apparently due to an upgrade of Home Office IT systems and the introduction of a requirement that National Insurance numbers be endorsed onto the back of BRPs. The Home Office service standards for the production of BRPs is 10 working days from the date of an application decision, and it will not answer queries about whether a BRP has been issued until this period has passed. This means that in the event of an error on the card, it may take several weeks from the date of an application before the applicant actually receives a new and corrected BRP.

Rectifying errors involving the personal information of a migrant is a relatively straightforward process. A migrant may contact the Home Office using an online tool to report a problem with the BRP. The Home Office will usually respond within a few days advising as to the next steps. This normally requires the old BRP to be returned before a new card with the correct information is posted to the applicant.

It is much more complicated and time consuming if the error relates to the duration or the conditions under which the permission to reside in the United Kingdom has been granted. Home Office policy is unclear as to which department within the Home Office should be contacted and what steps should be followed. For example, the current policy appears to be that applicants should contact the administrative review team to report errors in respect of the length and condition on the BRP. The administrative review team then refer the applicant to the casework (decision making) team, and recommend that the matter is resolved through it. However, the Home Office has advised that the applicant should make contact with it only online or through the administrative review team. As a result, it has refused to accept correction requests at its premium service centres, and even correction requests made to the casework (decision making) team may be declined if the applicant contacts the team before using the online and administrative review team options.

For further information on this topic please contact Mahmood Ahmad at Magrath LLP by telephone (+44 20 7495 3003) or email ([email protected]). The Magrath LLP website can be accessed at www.magrath.co.uk.