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What Should I Do When My Biometric Residence Permit Expires?

As regular readers of our articles will know, we are always keen to remind migrants to the UK to ensure they keep their visas current. By taking the appropriate action before your visa expires, you can avoid being classed as an overstayer and retain your right to stay in the UK, whether you are here as a visitor, business person, worker, intra-company worker carer, student, or for any other reason. But what happens when your Biometric Residence Permit expires? In this article, we will explain what you will need to do before your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) expires.

What is a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?

Your BRP is a card that contains details of your identity, immigration status, and your rights to receive public funding and benefits as a migrant to the UK. BRPs look rather like a cross between a driver's licence and a passport and are a mandatory requirement for migrants in the UK. You will receive a BRP if you:

  • apply to come to the UK for longer than six months
  • extend your visa to longer than six months
  • apply to settle in the UK
  • transfer your visa to a new passport
  • apply for certain Home Office travel documents

BRPs contain important information regarding your immigration status, including:

  • your name, date and place of birth
  • your fingerprints and a photo of your face (this is your biometric information)
  • your immigration status and any conditions of your stay
  • whether you can access public funds, for example, benefits and health services
  • your national insurance number (where appropriate)

To get a BRP, you will need to have your fingerprints scanned and a photo taken, either at a visa application centre or by using the Home Office’s mobile phone app (children don’t need to provide fingerprints).

When will my BRP expire?

Your BRP will show a ‘valid to’ date, which represents the date on which it will expire. The start and end date will typically match up with the dates on your visa, hence when your visa expires, so will your BRP. For those with indefinite leave to remain (ILR), BRPs are typically issued for ten years.

Since 2020, some people have been receiving short-dated BRPs with an expiry date of 1st December 2024, even if their visa or leave extends beyond this. According to the Home Office, this was originally to align with new EU encryption requirements. If you have received a BRP with an earlier expiry of 1st December 2024, this does not mean your leave will expire on this date, and you will be able to prove the actual expiry date by using the Home Office’s online ‘view and prove’ service. Furthermore, if you need to prove to a landlord or employer that you have residence of the correct duration, you can also use the online right to work and right to rent services.

What should I do if my BRP is about to expire?

If you have a visa that is about to expire

If you hold a visa to be in the UK, your BRP will typically expire on the visa end date. To extend your BRP, you will need to apply for a visa extension, which will also mean you will receive a new BRP.

If you have ILR and your BRP is about to expire

If you hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK, and your BRP is about to expire, you can use the replacement BRP service. This can be used for a range of scenarios, including if:

  • your BRP or other immigration document is lost, stolen, or damaged
  • your BRP or other immigration document has expired after you have received indefinite leave to remain
  • your UK visa is in a passport that is lost, stolen, damaged or expired
  • you have changed your name, nationality, facial appearance, date of birth, or gender
  • you want to transfer or upgrade your old immigration document to a BRP

To use the replacement BRP service, you will need to:

  • complete the replacement BRP application form
  • have your documents ready
  • pay the application fee
  • have your biometrics taken (fingerprints and a photo)

What if my BRP has expired and I am outside of the UK?

The Home Office advises that it is not possible to apply for a replacement BRP if yours has expired and you are not in the country. The only option, in this case, would be to apply for a ‘BRP replacement visa’, which will give you the permission you need to enter the UK at the border and then apply for a replacement BRP once you are here. The cost of a BRP replacement visa is currently £154. The guidance explains, “You can apply for a replacement BRP when you return to the UK. You must do this within three months of its expiry unless you have a good reason, for example, you were unable to return to the UK in that time”.

I have applied for a replacement BRP card, how will I receive it?

Assuming you have applied to replace your expired BRP, or if you have applied for a new visa and you are waiting for your BRP to be automatically sent to you, it will normally be posted by courier to the address you provided in your application form. The Home Office states, “You’ll usually receive it within 7 to 10 days of getting your ‘decision letter’ from the Home Office saying that you can remain in the UK”.

If you applied for a new visa outside of the UK, you will receive your BRP in the UK – this will typically be ready to collect from a post office or your sponsor (e.g. your employer).

How we can help with your BRP Card replacement

If you have any questions regarding your BRP or you need help to apply for a replacement, our immigration Solicitors will be able to assist you. Thankfully, most matters relating to BRPs are quickly and efficiently resolved, ensuring you have peace of mind that you have the documents you need to remain lawfully in the UK.

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O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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