UK to replace physical biometric immigration cards with e-visas by 2025

The United Kingdom will replace physical biometric immigration cards with e-visas. By 2025, the UK will transition away from physical immigration status documents, including Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Biometric Residence Cards (BRCs), as part of a digital border initiative.

Currently, individuals from non-EU countries residing in the UK, including students, workers, immigrants, and their dependents, are issued BRPs as proof of their immigration status. These cards contain a chip that Border Force officers can use to cryptographically verify the document’s authenticity and a person’s identity through biometrics, including a facial photograph and fingerprints.

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The new Home Office development signals a shift towards a digital approach, similar to the system in Australia, where biometrics are collected but physical cards or in-passport vignettes are not issued. Instead, applicants receive an e-visa that can be verified online, serving as digital proof of their immigration status.

All BRPs issued until now are set to expire on December 31, 2024, irrespective of the validity or time limit on immigration status. The decision to phase out existing BRPs stems from the UK’s post-Brexit status, as EU requirements no longer apply. The Home Office plans to discontinue BRPs entirely by 2025.

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“You will not need a BRP from 1 January 2025. You’ll be able to prove your immigration status online, without a BRP,” reads a webpage on the GOV.UK website.

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UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) will update their information on how to prove your immigration status in early 2024. Individuals whose immigration status is valid beyond December 31, or has no time limit on it (i.e. permanent residents with an ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’), do not need to take any action, and their immigration status will remain unaffected. “You do not need to do anything and your immigration status will not be affected,” the statement added.

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