What is a Biometric Residence Permit?

The biometric residence permit (BRP) is a safe and secure way of identifying a foreign national and is designed to help combat illegal working and reduce illegal immigration to the UK. Put simply, they provide a convenient and widely accepted way for a person to prove their immigration status.

Biometric residence permits hold a migrant's biographic details (name, date and place of birth) and biometric information (digital photograph and fingerprints), and shows their immigration status and entitlements while they remain in the UK. BRPs serve as proof of the holder's right to stay, work or study in the UK, and the holder must show it at the border, along with their passport, when travelling outside of and when returning to the UK.

What are the benefits of the BRP?

Biometric residence permits will make it easier to:

  • Provide proof of your right to live in the UK
  • Prove your identity safely and quickly where and whenever this is required
  • Quickly enable employers to identify a non-EEA national's identity, employment status and right to work in the UK

In addition, BRPs are easier for migrants to carry around and avoid having to produce other less convenient documents such as passports.

Who has to apply for a biometric residence permit?

Foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area making specific applications to the Home Office have to apply for a biometric residence permit. This applies to both postal applications and applications made in person. Successful applicants receive a biometric residence permit as evidence of their status in the UK. Migrants applying successfully in categories that do not have to enrol biometrics will instead receive a sticker (vignette) in their passport.

How do foreign nationals apply for a biometric residence permit?

When a foreign national makes an immigration application in a category that is covered by the biometric registration regulations, the immigration application form and instructions make it clear they need to apply for a biometric residence permit as part of that process.

Your immigration consultant will discuss the process of applying for a biometric residence permit with you during the course of your application.

How long is a BRP valid for?

A BRP is valid for the duration of the person’s limited leave, or for a maximum of 10 years.

What will I need to do when leaving and re-entering the UK?

If you have a BRP and you leave the UK and want to re-enter you will need to show it at the border (along with with your passport) to confirm your immigration status. Please note the biometric residence permit is not a travel document on its own and therefore will need to be shown alongside a passport at the border. However, the document is acceptable as a standalone document when demonstrating immigration status, identity, right to work and access to public benefits.

What if my personal details change?

Anyone holding a BRP must notify the Home Office of changes to the personal data it holds. The personal details which must be kept up to date include their name, address, nationality and gender.