The Home Office will shortly roll out Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) (otherwise known as BID) for all visa applicants applying to enter the UK from overseas. The BRP is a plastic card with details on the applicant’s visa type and visa validity dates. There will be a phased introduction once Parliament has approved the legislation and an upgraded visa application system has been introduced. Pakistan has been proposed as the first country to receive the new permits.
There are no confirmed dates, but the Home Office has indicated that the first roll-out should occur in March, followed by a second roll-out in India, China, and 32 other countries in April, and a roll-out in the United States at the end of May. All remaining countries will implement the new process at the end of July.
Detailed guidance on the new process is expected imminently. The following is an overview:
- All applicants applying overseas for a visa of more than six months’ duration will receive a notification letter with details on where to obtain the BRP once they arrive in the UK.
- To enter the UK, applicants will be issued a 30-day short-term travel visa vignette in their passport, which will be valid from their intended date of travel to the UK. If the applicant’s intended travel date is delayed after he or she has submitted a visa application, the applicant may need to apply for a further 30-day travel visa at a cost of £109. This may take up to 15 days to be issued.
- Within 10 days after arriving in the UK, applicants must go to their nearest designated post offices with their passports to collect their BRPs. The post office selected will be based on the UK address that the applicant has included on the visa application (this can be a work address).
People applying for visas from within the UK will already be familiar with the process, although for these applicants the BRPs are mailed to the applicant or his or her nominated legal representative. With the roll-out of the new process for those applying from overseas, there are no plans for legal representatives to be able to collect the BRP from the post office on behalf of the applicant or be sent the BRP by mail. However, a nominated third party, approved by the Home Office, may collect the BRP on behalf of the applicant in exceptional circumstances; e.g., medical incapacity, visiting VIPs, and refugee support. The Home Office will arrange the third party collection with the relevant post office branch and provide a letter of authorization for the post office official to conduct an identity check.
Sponsors and migrants should be made aware of these changes and the implications if travel to the UK is delayed for any reason. It will be important for migrants to ensure that they collect their BRP within 10 days of arrival to avoid incurring a penalty charge of £125.