News & Insights

eVisas replacing BRPs

As anticipated, the Home Office is phasing out Biometric Residence Permits in favour of digital eVisas.

The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) was introduced in 2008, to act as proof of an individual’s immigration status and Right to Work in the UK. Traditionally, an individual who applied for a visa would receive a vignette visa stamp in their passport and would then need to collect their BRP on arrival in the UK.

More recently, visa applicants who have used the Home Office’s UK Immigration: ID Check app to register their biometric information, as opposed to providing their biometrics at a face-to-face appointment, have instead been granted electronic visas (eVisas).

Along with this change, BRPs issued over the last year or so have an expiry date of 31 December 2024, even where the migrant’s permission to stay in the UK is for a longer period. As explained in our article from early last year, this is part of the Home Office’s plan to phase out BRPs. The Home Office’s intention is that all BRPs will be replaced with eVisas by January 2025.

To effect this change, the Home Office has started to email migrants who hold BRPs, inviting them to create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account. Some migrants will already have an account, created in the process of a past visa application. Once migrants have a UKVI account, they will be able to access their eVisa and prove their Right to Work status digitally.

Migrants

If you already have an eVisa and a UKVI account, then there is no need to worry about these changes. We would still recommend keeping your account updated with changes in your contact and passport details. You can do this here.

If you have a UKVI account, but were granted a BRP rather than an eVisa, then you should login to your UKVI account to ensure that you can access your eVisa.

If you do not have a UKVI account, then the Home Office will contact you using the email address used in your visa application. You should ensure that you are regularly checking this email address, including spam/junk. You will need to create a UKVI account as part of the process of moving to an eVisa – the Home Office email will explain how to do this.

For those who do not receive an email from the Home Office, it is expected that an option to create a UKVI account will become publicly available in summer 2024. You can sign up to receive updates about this here.

Once you have access to your eVisa, you should return your BRP to the Home Office as soon as possible, to avoid incurring a fine.

If you have indefinite leave to remain (or settled status), and currently prove this using a different kind of physical document (such as a wet-ink stamp or vignette sticker in your passport), then you should make a “no time limit” application for a BRP. You will then be able to use this BRP to create a UKVI account and access your eVisa.

Employers

If you are an employer who sponsors or otherwise employs migrant workers, we would recommend that you encourage those workers to action any emails from the Home Office as soon as possible.

If you carried out your Right to Work checks using the migrant’s physical BRP, then you will need to repeat your checks once the migrant has obtained their eVisa. To do this, the migrant will need to generate a share code, which you can then use to verify their Right to Work status.

If you have any questions about your responsibilities regarding the transition to eVisas or Right to Work checks, please get in touch at [email protected]