EU Settlement Scheme Biometric Residence Card Update & Replacement
If you are an EU or EEA national with a biometric residence card (BRC) in the UK and you have Pre-Settled or Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), under certain circumstances, you may need to apply to the Home Office to update, replace, or transfer your card. The Home Office provides a dedicated online service for this exact purpose. In this article, we will explain how to update, replace, or transfer your Biometric Residence Card (BRC) if you are an EU or EEA national who has been granted Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).
What Is A Biometric Residence Card (BRC)?
A biometric residence card (BRC) proves the right of the holder to live in the UK and contains several pieces of information:
- Biographic details (name, date, and place of birth)
- Biometric information (facial image and fingerprints)
- Immigration status
- Entitlements while in the UK
As the Home Office website explains, “BRPs [biometric residence permits] and BRCs are evidence of the holder’s right to stay in the United Kingdom and show the conditions of a customer’s stay. It enables him/her to confirm his/her identity as part of the process for opening a bank account in the UK and rights to study and/or work here and to access public services. For some immigration categories, the National Insurance Number will appear in the remarks on the reverse of the document”.
BRCs differ from BRPs in that the latter are issued to those who meet the Immigration Rules for leave to enter or remain, whereas the former was available to non-EEA citizens whose rights to live in the UK derived from those of an EU/EEA family member.
In most cases, those with EU Settled Status will not require a BRC as their residence rights are stored digitally online. In fact, applicants who receive Settled Status do not receive a physical document to prove their right to live in the UK, as this is proven by providing a share code to employers, landlords, local authorities, or other people who need to check immigration status.
Family members of EU/EEA nationals living in the UK often apply for a BRC in order to make it easier to prove their residence rights (e.g. when entering the UK at the border).
As of the end of June 2021, when applications under the EU Settlement Scheme closed, the EEA Biometric Residence Card became no longer valid. It is also no longer possible to apply for a new BRC. However, there is a newer Biometric Residence Card scheme which existing BRC holders can transfer to, or replace or update their existing card. These newer BRCs remain valid after 30th June 2021.
Can I Transfer, Replace, Or Update An Existing BRC?
Yes, existing BRC holders can apply if they wish to transfer their existing EEA BRC or update or replace an existing lost or damaged BRC. The Home Office guidance states that BRC holders can apply for a new BRC if:
- their BRC is lost, stolen, or damaged
- they have changed their name, nationality, facial appearance, date of birth, or gender
- they want to upgrade their BRC issued under the EEA regulations to a BRC issued under the EU Settlement Scheme
- they want to change from a pre-settled status BRC to a settled status BRC issued under the EU Settlement Scheme (this is only possible for those who have been granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme)
How Do I Apply To Update, Transfer, Or Replace My Existing BRP?
The application process to update, transfer, or replace your existing BRP is completed online on the Home Office website – here. The guidance provided by the Home Office states,
“To apply for a replacement BRP or BRC, you need to:
- fill in the application form
- have your documents ready
- pay the application fee
- have your biometrics taken (fingerprints and a photo)
You will need to complete a new application for each dependant applying for a BRP or BRC.
You will be able to save your application and come back to it another time if you need to”.
On the application form, you will need to provide your unique ID document reference used when applying for Settled Status, your EUSS application reference, and proof of your continuous EU residence. Applicants will also need to arrange an appointment with UKVCAS to have their fingerprints scanned and other biometrics processed. In some cases, applicants may be able to use the mobile app to enrol their biometrics rather than attending in person.
The application process outlined above cannot be used, however, for those with an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit vignette (visa sticker inside your passport) and if:
- your passport is lost or stolen, and you want to remain in the UK.
- your vignette has expired, and you want to remain in the UK
Is It Possible To Replace My BRC If It Was Lost Or Stolen Outside Of The UK?
Unfortunately, if your BRC was lost or stolen outside of the UK and you are still not in the UK, you will not be able to use the above process to get a replacement. The Home Office advises that those in this situation should instead apply for a new EU Settlement Scheme family permit.
While a BRC is not needed for all EU Settled Status holders, if you currently hold one, it can speed up the process of proving your residence rights, especially if you have derivative rights. If you hold an existing old EEA Biometric Residence Card, it is also recommended to apply to transfer to a newer BRC, again to make it easier to prove your residence status, e.g. when arriving at the UK border. If you have any questions regarding your BRC replacement, speak to an Immigration Solicitor who will be able to advise you of the best steps to take.