A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is an 86mm x 54mm polycarbonate card containing a chip to make it more secure against forgery and abuse. A Biometric Residence Permit is proof of a right to reside, work or study in the UK. A Biometric Residence Permit can also be used as a form of identity, for example to open a UK bank account.
Information held on a Biometric Residence Permit
A Biometric Residence Permit includes various items of information, such as:
- Personal details including name, date of birth and place of birth
- Biometric information including fingerprints and photograph
- Immigration status and any conditions/restrictions of stay
A Biometric Residence Permit may also include other details such as whether the holder has access to public funds in the UK. In some circumstances a BRP will state the holder’s National Insurance (NI) number.
How to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit
You will be issued with a Biometric Residence Permit automatically if your visa or immigration application is approved or you are applying to replace an older document. You are not required to apply for a BRP separately once you submit your visa or immigration application and there is no extra charge for a BRP.
You will be issued with a BRP if you successfully:
- Apply to enter the UK for more than 6 months
- Extend your visa for more than 6 months
- Transfer your visa to a new passport
- Apply for specific Home Office travel documents
The difference between a Biometric Residence Permit and a Biometric Residence Card
Biometric Residence Permits are issued to non-EEA nationals who satisfy the requirements of the Immigration Rules for leave to enter or remain and are titled ‘Residence Permit’ or ‘Short Stay Permit’. Biometric Residence Cards are titled ‘Residence Card’, ‘Permanent Residence Card’ or ‘Derivative Residence Card’ and are issued to non-EEA nationals who derive a right of residence from EU law.
How long does it take to get a Biometric Residence Permit?
If your immigration application was made from inside the UK, your Biometric Residence Permit should be received within 7 to 10 days from the receipt of your decision letter. Your BRP will be sent to the address provided as part of your application. If your application is approved and your BRP does not arrive, you can report this online.
If your visa application was made from outside the UK, you will be required to collect your Biometric Residence Permit once you have entered the UK. You must do this before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. Details of where to collect your BRP will be provided in your decision letter. Failure to collect your BRP may result in a fine of up to £1000.
Mistakes on a Biometric Residence Permit
Once you have received your Biometric Residence Permit, you must check your BRP carefully to ensure all details are correct. You will have 10 days from the day your BRP arrives to report any mistakes on your BRP, or you will need to apply for a replacement BRP.
If you submitted an in-country application and your Biometric Residence Permit contains a mistake in the length or conditions of your stay then you can apply for Administrative Review. Any other problems with your BRP should be reported using this form. The Home Office will email you within 5 working days to tell you what to do next.
What if a BRP is lost, stolen or damaged?
If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost, damaged or stolen, you must report this as soon as possible to the Home Office Card Management Service. The Home Office will contact you within 1 working day of reporting it. Failing to report a lost, stolen or damaged BRP may result in a financial penalty of up to £1000.
If you are inside the UK and your BRP is lost, damaged or stolen, you should report it and order a replacement BRP if your BRP was valid for more than 3 months. If your BRP was valid for less than 3 months then you do not need to order a replacement, but should you still report it being lost, stolen or damaged.
If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost, stolen or damaged whilst outside the UK, you should report it. You will not be able to order a replacement BRP. You should instead apply for a replacement BRP visa which is a single entry visa which you can use to return to the UK. Once you return to the UK you will then be able to apply for a replacement BRP. This application must be made within 1 month of your return to the UK.
We recommend that you keep a photocopy of both the front and back of your Biometric Residence Permit in case it is lost, stolen or damaged.
Biometric Residence Permits and change of circumstances
If any of the details on your Biometric Residence Permit change, you must report the change of circumstances to the Home Office.
If you have a valid BRP and have changed your address, you can report this without having to apply for a new Biometric Residence Permit using this form. This form can also be used to inform the Home Office of other changes of circumstance such as criminal convictions, separation from a partner or if a child stops living with you permanently.
If you have changed your name (including after marriage), nationality, facial appearance, date of birth or gender then you must report the change and apply for a new Biometric Residence Permit straight away.
If you have temporary permission to stay in the UK, you can apply for a replacement BRP online. The Home Office application fee is currently £161. You will receive a decision within 8 weeks if you apply via the standard service or by the end of the next working day if you pay an extra £800 for the super priority service.
If you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you can also apply for a replacement BRP online. The Home Office application fee is currently £229. You will receive a decision within 6 months if you apply via the standard service or by the end of the next working day if you pay an extra £800 for the super priority service.
Advice from an immigration lawyer will ensure that your application for a replacement BRP is professionally presented and technically correct.
Can I travel without a Biometric Residence Permit?
You are required to have your BRP with you at all times. You will need to travel with your BRP as this must be shown at the UK border alongside your passport or travel document when travelling outside of the UK or returning to the UK.
What is the future of Biometric Residence Permits?
A UK Government White Paper published in December 2018 indicated that if the UK introduces a new skills-based immigration system, migrants will be provided with an ‘individual immigration status’ when they submit an application for permission to travel to the UK. Paper stamps in passports will be replaced by digital stamps as migrants cross the border. It seems that Biometric Residence Permits may be on the road to digitalisation in the years to come.