What is a BRP card?

by | Dec 20, 2021 | UK Immigration

A biometric residence permit (also known as a BRP card) is a physical card, similar in size to a credit card or a UK driving license which is used as the holder’s proof of visa status. It will mention details such as identity, proof of right to study or work in the UK and proof of entitlement to any public services and/or benefits.

The permit has a unique document number, and is made from polycarbonate and contains a biometric chip to make it more secure against forgery and abuse.

The BRP holds the individual’s biographic details (name, date and place of birth) and biometric information (facial image and fingerprints), and shows their immigration status and entitlements while they remain in the UK.

What is the purpose of a BRP Card?

The BRP Card is designed to help make the UK immigration system more efficient and reduce illegal immigration to the UK. Foreign nationals making certain applications to the Home Office have to apply for a biometric residence permit as proof of their UK immigration status. 

Who needs a BRP Card?

You will be issued with a BRP if you are an overseas national (including EEA, EU and Swiss Nationals) and you have:

  • Applied to come to the UK for longer than 6 months;
  • Extended your visa to longer than 6 months;
  • Been granted pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme;
  • Applied to settle in the UK otherwise known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR);
  • Transferred your visa to a new passport;
  • Applied for certain Home Office travel documents.

Why do I need a BRP card?

You will need a BRP to confirm your right to stay, study or work in the UK, in addition to your right to any public services or social benefits you may be entitled to. 

Your biometric residence permit will be checked by prospective employers, and for some immigration categories, it may have a National Insurance number (NINo) printed on the reverse. 

It can also be used as a form of identification, for example, if you wish to open a UK bank account.

You must show your BRP at the UK border, along with your passport, when travelling outside of, and when returning to the UK.

Which details are reported on my BRP?

Your Biometric Residence Permit contains details about yourself and your immigration status, including the following:

  • Your name, date and place of birth;
  • Your biometric information (your fingerprints and a photo of your face);
  • Your immigration status with any conditions of your stay;
  • Additional information, such as whether you can access public funds benefits and health services;
  • Your National Insurance number may also be printed on the back of your BRP, this will depend on the date that your BRP was issued and your visa status.

Apply for a biometric residence permit

Unless you are updating an old ILR visa vignette on your passport with a new BRP card, you do not need to make a separate application for a BRP. You will get one automatically if your visa or immigration application is approved.

You will need to enrol your biometric information for the BRP Card. This will involve providing a scan of your fingerprints, a digital photograph of your face and a signature. This process usually takes between 5-10 minutes and does not involve any ink or mess. You will also not need to take off your head covering if you wear one for either religious or medical reasons.

The location at which you will need to attend to give your biometric information will depend on how you are making your visa or immigration application. You will be told where to go after you have applied. If you’re applying from within the UK, you’ll go to a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS) service point, service and support centre or a post office branch. There will be a fee of just £19.20 payable at the appointment time.

If you are outside the UK, you will be asked to go to a visa application centre and the cost will already be included in your application fee.

You can apply for a Biometric Residence Permit if:

  • Your passport or travel document has expired or it’s been lost or stolen
  • The details on your visa (including your facial appearance) have changed
  • Your BRP or other immigration document is lost, stolen, damaged
  • Your BRP or other immigration document has expired after you have received indefinite leave to remain
  • You want to transfer or upgrade your old immigration document to a BRP

You can apply online using the application form available on the gov.uk website.

Do children need to provide biometric information?

Under 16’s will be required to provide a scan of their fingerprints and a photograph of their face, but they will not need to give a signature. If the child is under the age of 6 they will not need to give their fingerprints either.

For those aged 16 and over, they will need to provide the same biometric information as an adult, namely a scan of their fingerprints, a digital photograph of their face and a signature. 

How long does it take to process a BRP card?

If you applied from inside the UK, your permit would be sent to you by courier to the address you gave in your application within 10 days of getting your Home Office decision letter.

If you applied from outside the UK, you would need to collect your BRP once you are in 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. You would be told in your decision letter where to collect the permit from, either a named post office branch or your sponsor, if you chose this option when you applied. You may be liable to a fine if you fail to collect your permit within the permitted timeframe. You must be aged 18 or over to collect a biometric residence permit. You must also be nominated to collect a child’s permit, even if you’re the child’s parent.

How to renew or replace a BRP card?

Once you have collected your Biometric Residence Permit, it’s important that you thoroughly check to make sure that all the information on it is correct. You have 10 days from when you receive your BRP to report any mistakes. If you don’t report the mistakes within these 10 days you will need to apply and pay for a replacement of your BRP.

If there is a mistake in the length or conditions of your visa as stated on your BRP and you made your application from within the UK, you can ask for an administrative review. 

You can report a problem with your BRP online at the gov.uk website. To report a problem, you will need your BRP number, full name, date of birth and nationality as they appear on your BRP and an email or postal address. Once you have made your report, the Home Office will contact you to let you know what to do next. It may take 30 days for the Home Office to respond. Responses could be further delayed if you do not provide an email address.

If your biometric residence permit is lost or stolen and it was valid for 3 or more months, you are again legally obligated to report this and to apply for a replacement from within the UK. You can face a financial penalty and be made to leave the UK if you do not apply for a replacement within a period of 3 months.

If your permit was valid for 3 months or less, you must still report it as lost or stolen, even if you do not intend to remain in the UK after its expiry date. Alternatively, if you plan to leave and re-enter the UK within 3 months of its expiry date you can apply for a replacement, or apply to extend your visa if you want to stay in the UK after its expiry date. If granted, you will automatically be provided with a new permit.

If your BRP is lost while you are outside the UK, you must still report this, but you must apply for a “replacement BRP visa”.

Biometric Residence Permits and British citizenship

Once an immigrant has successfully naturalised as a British citizen and attended their British citizenship ceremony they must send their Biometric Residence Permit back to the Home Office. Failure to do this could result in a fine.

How can Whytecroft Ford help with your BRP Card?

We pride ourselves in being friendly and professional, contact our team for assistance with your BRP card today.

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Biometric residence permit FAQs

What is a biometric residence permit?

The biometric residence permit is a card issued to migrants in the UK as proof of their identity, immigration status and any rights to work, study or access public funds.

How long is a biometric residence permit valid for?

A BRP is valid for the duration of the individual’s leave to remain in the UK, or for a maximum of 10 years.

How much does it cost to replace a biometric card?

A replacement BRP card should be ordered on the .gov website and costs £56, plus £19.20 to re-enrol the biometric information if required.

How do I report a lost or stolen BRP?

If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost or stolen, you can apply for a replacement. However, this option is only available from inside the UK. If you are currently abroad, you can get someone else to report for you, such as your legal representative or your sponsor.

My BRP has not arrived. What should I do?

You can report online if your BRP has not arrived if – you have applied from inside the UK or you had received your decision letter from the Home Office more than 10 days ago.

How do I replace an expired Biometric Residence Permit?

If your visa is about to expire, you can get a new BRP once you have applied for an extension.
If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain, you can use the BRP replacement service. However, if you are currently abroad, you will need to apply for a replacement BRP visa, which will let you re-enter the UK once only. It costs £154.

How much does it cost to have one’s biometric information collected?

It costs £19.20 to give your biometric information if you are applying from within the UK. If you apply from abroad, the cost will be included in your application fee.

Do children need to have their biometric information collected?

Children do not need to give their signature, or their fingerprints if they are under 5. All children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or an adult who has legal responsibility for them.

How do I transfer my visa to a new passport?

If your passport is expired, you can still use the valid visa when you are travelling to and from the UK. If your personal details have changed, you must replace your visa with a biometric residence permit (only if your authorised stay in the UK is longer than 6 months).

Can I collect my children’s BRP?

To collect a child’s BRP, you must be nominated to do so, even if you are the parent or legal guardian. However, you do not need to be appointed if you are also collecting your own BRP, or if you are named on your child’s vignette sticker.

What happens if I cannot collect my BRP?

You can get fined up to £1,000 if you fail to collect your BRP. If you are unable to do it, you can nominate someone else.
If you have any problems collecting your BPR, you must tell the Home Office as soon as possible.

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