UK to replace physical biometric immigration cards with e-visas

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By 2025, Britain is group to ditch beingness migration position documents specified arsenic Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Biometric Residence Cards (BRCs) successful a bid to make its borders digital, which is in-line pinch developed countries for illustration Australia.

Understand what the new Home Office development means for existing BRP and BRC holders, and what you request to do.

e-Visas to switch biometric residence cards

Presently, students, workers, immigrants and their dependents from non-EU countries domiciled successful nan UK are yet issued Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs), cards which are impervious of their migration position successful nan country. Much for illustration e-Passports, these integrative cards incorporate a spot that tin beryllium utilized by a Border Force serviceman to cryptographically verify nan authenticity of nan archive itself and a person's personality via biometrics (facial photograph and fingerprints) stored successful that chip.

UK BRP cardA sample UK Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) paper utilized to participate nan country
(UK Visas & Immigration)

Some developed nations such arsenic Australia, overmuch for illustration nan UK, also collect biometrics from immigrants but successful contrast, do not rumor beingness cards aliases in-passport vignettes (physical visa stickers and stamps). Instead, applicants are granted an e-visa that tin beryllium verified online and serves a integer impervious of their migration status.

All UK BRPs issued up until coming are group to expire December 31, 2024—even if your migration position is valid beyond that date, aliases has nary clip limit connected it (i.e. imperishable residents pinch an 'Indefinite Leave to Remain'). The logic for this being, while nan UK was a portion of nan European Union (EU), regulations required nan government to implement next-generation encryption exertion into its migration documents, and arsenic specified nan UK planned connected rolling retired enhanced cards aft nan extremity of this year, while phasing existing ones out.

Since post-Brexit, however, EU requirements nary longer use to nan UK and the Home Office has decided to discontinue BRPs altogether by 2025.

"You will not request a BRP from 1 January 2025. You'll beryllium capable to beryllium your migration position online, without a BRP," sounds a webpage connected nan GOV.UK website.

"[UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI)] will update their accusation connected really to beryllium your migration position successful early 2024. You do not request to do thing and your migration position will not beryllium affected."

Advantages and disadvantages

An eVisa is an physics grounds of a person's immigration position and provides customers pinch nan expertise to position and beryllium their migration position digitally, explains Home Office. It removes nan request for beingness documents specified as, nan Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), ink stamps and visa vignette stickers in a customer's passport aliases nan Biometric Residence Card (BRC).

This besides saves an applicant the inconvenience associated pinch submitting their beingness passport to a consulate for visa issuance, waiting for weeks, and subsequently arranging its collection.

Despite their drawbacks, a cardinal advantage of beingness documents, particularly chip-based ones, is their expertise to beryllium reliably verified offline, fixed nan basics of public-key encryption. When mixed with security features specified arsenic UV holograms and watermarks built into these documents, the dependence connected an always-online strategy is practically eliminated.

In different words, 1 tin moreover usage an NFC-powered smartphone app to securely publication and verify the authenticity of a BRP paper (or an ePassport) without being connected to nan Internet. The paper holder's personal details and photograph—all digitally signed by nan issuing government, are stored successful nan spot itself. Despite this, passengers person faced chaos astatine airports successful nan past when eGates went down. 

What happens should the internet-connected IT systems utilized by nan airlines and border officials face an outage? In specified a case, really tin nan personality of arriving passengers with eVisas, arsenic opposed to physical biometric documents, be reliably verified?

What will nan caller process look like?

Because we are already successful February, those pinch BRP cards expiring complete nan adjacent fewer months whitethorn beryllium wondering what they request to do.

BleepingComputer reached retired to nan Home Office to amended understand nan upcoming changes and what will nan caller process to beryllium and renew migration position look like.

"EVisas supply unafraid confirmation of someone's UK migration position and make it easier for those who request to cheque status, specified arsenic employers and landlords, via online services," a Home Office spokesperson told BleepingComputer.

"Replacing beingness migration documents pinch eVisas by 2025 is simply a cardinal portion of nan translator and digitisation of nan separator and migration system, delivering enhanced information and cost-savings for nan UK nationalist and greater convenience for customers and position checkers."

UKVI accounts to unfastened for all

Our knowing is that nan beingness biometric cards and printed visa stickers will wholly beryllium replaced by e-visas, akin to nan ones issued by Australia, wherever immigrants presently usage the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) strategy to beryllium their position digitally.

Similarly, starting 2025, existing UK BRP holders are expected to register for a UKVI online account to position aliases beryllium migration status.

For a fewer years now, proving your Right to Work to an employer, aliases your Right to Rent to a landlord has already been a integer process, conducted through the GOV.UK website by utilizing specifications from your beingness document:

UK correct to activity online strategy measurement 1UK Right to Work online cheque strategy (BleepingComputer)
A sample Right to Work cheque resultA sample online consequence for a Right to Work check (BleepingComputer)

Furthermore, millions of group pinch an 'EU settled status' aliases those who person utilized nan 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app already clasp a UKVI relationship and usage e-visas to beryllium their correct to participate and unrecorded successful nan UK.

The upcoming changes are expected to extend these conveniences to nationals of each countries.

An eVisa, overmuch for illustration a beingness BRP, will beryllium securely linked to its holder's unsocial biometric accusation to safeguard against personality fraud.

Immigrants who already person an eVisa do not request to do thing while changes are being implemented, but are advised to support their UKVI relationship up to day pinch existent individual particulars, including changed interaction specifications aliases specifications of a new passport.

Starting this summer, nan Home Office plans on providing airlines, train and ferry operators pinch integrated unafraid entree to rider migration accusation to heighten separator information and trim unnecessary rider delays.

With nan move towards e-Visas, nationalist authorities bodies for illustration nan Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and nan NHS successful England and Wales will beryllium capable to automatically and securely entree an individual's status erstwhile they use to entree benefits and nationalist services.

It is important to note, until nan caller strategy gets a greenish light, nan process to renew an existing BRP aliases switch a mislaid one remains nan aforesaid until nan extremity of this year.

Home Office customers including existing BRP and beingness archive holders should monitor over nan adjacent fewer months for upcoming information connected what they request to do and when.

While the UK authorities is connected way to present a integer separator and migration system, including plans to proceedings contactless introduction utilizing conscionable facial recognition, location are no plans astatine nan infinitesimal to switch physical passports pinch integer equivalents, specified arsenic those piloted by Finland, BleepingComputer understands.