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Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Guidance

In this post we look at Biometric Residence Permits or BRPs.  We look at what a Biometric Residence Permit is, who has to enrol biometric information, when a BRP is issued, travelling without a BRP and how to collect a BRP.

What is a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)?

Biometric residence permits are a form of identification and can act as proof of an individual’s right to work, study or stay in the UK. They demonstrate an individual’s biographic details, biometric information, immigration status and entitlements in the UK. 

The term ‘biometrics’ refers to an individual’s physical characteristics, namely fingerprints and photographs of an individual’s face.

Physically, BRP cards are the size of a standard credit card. They are plastic and contain a chip for heightened security.

For further information as to the design features and uses of a biometric residence permit, see this guidance.

For an overview on what a biometric residence permit is and the information it holds, refer to this post.

Who Must Enrol Biometrics?

In most circumstances, unless an exception applies, individuals applying for the following must enrol their biometric information as part of the immigration application process:

  • British citizenship
  • Visas and entry clearance
  • Biometric Immigration Document
  • Biometric Residence Card

This is not applicable to individuals who use the UK Immigration: ID Check app. This is also not the case if the Home Office decides to reuse your biometric information.

When Do You Get a Biometric Residence Permit?

If a visa application is made from overseas and granted for more than six months, you will collect your biometric residence permit (BRP) in the UK. If made from within the UK, the permit will be posted to the address provided in the application form.

It is not required that you have your permit on your person at all times. However, it must be shown upon entry to the UK at the border, if required, alongside your passport when travelling outside of and returning to the UK. 

Biometric residence permits are currently being phased out. Therefore, newly issued permits expire no later than 31 December 2024, which is explained further in this post.

Travelling Without a Biometric Residence Permit

If you are granted leave to enter, a vignette, also known as a short-term biometric entry clearance visa, will be issued in your passport. The vignette is valid usually for 90 days, depending on the type of leave. 

This will start from the date submitted on your application form that you would like to enter the UK.

Upon entering the UK, an individuals’ biometric residence permit, eVisa, biometric residence card and short-term biometric entry clearance visa are all evidence of permission to enter the UK. Therefore, one of these must be shown alongside a travel document, such as a passport.

Some nationalities may use eGates to enter the UK which is set out in further detail here. In some circumstances, you must get your passport stamped by a Border Force official. Further detail as to when this applies is set out on the government website here.

If you do not travel in this period, you need to apply for a replacement online and there is typically a fee and you may be asked to re-submit biometrics at a further appointment.

Collecting a BRP From a Post Office

If, whilst applying, you opted to collect your biometric residence permit from a Post Office, your decision letter will set out which Post Office branch you have been allocated. This is allocated based on the postcode submitted in your visa application. Please consult the Post Office website for information on the branches offering this service, as well as opening times.

You must attend the Post Office to collect your BRP before the expiry of your entry vignette or within 10 days of arrival to the UK, whichever  is later. 

Your decision letter will also detail the date from which your biometric residence permit is expected to be available. 

When attending the appropriate Post Office branch, you are required to bring your passport. If possible, you should also bring your decision letter for ease of reference.

No appointment is necessary for collection of your biometric residence permit.

Possible consequences of not collecting your BRP include a financial penalty or cancellation of leave. 

If you wish to collect your biometric residence permit from an alternative Post Office branch, you must contact the Post Office and pay a fee to do so.

Third Party BRP Collection From a Post Office

It is assumed and expected that an individual will collect their own biometric residence permit. 

Collection of a BRP by a third party can be requested if an exception applies, including for:

  • Individuals under the age of 18 who are unable to collect their permit at the same time that their parent or legal guardian does
  • Individuals who are medically incapable of attending a Post Office

Unaccompanied Minors BRP Collection From a Post Office

For individuals under the age of 18 collecting their BRP from a Post Office not at the same time as a parent or legal guardian, they must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

This as an adult who, for the time being, takes responsibility for the child.  This could be someone whose job involves an element of pastoral care towards the child in question.

Alternatives to Customer BRP Collection From a Post Office:

Alternative Collection Location refers to a request by an organisation for biometric residence permits to be sent directly to a specified location.

This is an available service for:

  • Students
  • Skilled Worker Premium Sponsors, their representatives and agents
  • A small group of other very large volume PBS sponsors
  • Legal representatives

Sites will be allocated an ACL code, issued within three working days of application.

Resettlement Refugees

Refugees through the resettlement process will be given a visa valid for up to six months. This shows leave outside of the Immigration Rules. The relevant resettlement support provider will organise the delivery of your biometric residence permit. 

Loss or Renewal of a Biometric Residence Permit

If your Biometric Residence Permit gets lost or stolen, this post sets out how you are able to report it. It is very important that a lost BRP is reported as soon as is reasonably practicable. 

Contact Our Immigration Barristers 

For further information regarding a Biometric Residence Permit or assistance with a UK visa application, contact our immigration barristers and lawyers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our enquiry form below.


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