UK visa applicants from outside of the European Union are being reminded of changes to the system if they intend to spend more than six months in Britain.
As of May 31, the new Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) have become mandatory as proof of immigration status. They will also show that someone has the right to work in the UK and allow them to access UK public services during their stay in Britain.
They will mostly affect non-EU nationals seeking employment visas, people who want to join family members in the UK and those applying for Tier 4 student visas. The application process and the cost of applying for a six-month visa will be very similar to before the introduction of the new measures.
People who are applying for short term UK visitor visas of less than six months will not be affected by the changes.
However, those who are affected by the changes will have to provide the postcode of the UK address where they intend to stay as part of their visa application. If the application is approved, the applicant will be given the address of a UK Post Office where they will have 10 days to collect their BRP after arriving in Britain.
They will also receive a sticker in their passport which will be valid for 30 days until they collect their BRP.
Under the new rules, once a temporary visa is granted the applicant has 30 days to travel to the UK. If they cannot travel within that time period, they will have to apply for a new visa and if travel plans change after the 30-day sticker has been issued, they must then apply for a short-term vignette.