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Biometric Residence Permit UK

An UK biometric residence permit (BRP) is a card which confirms the holder’s identity, immigration status and their entitlements in the UK.

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What is a biometric residence permit? 

A biometric residence permit, also known as a BRP, is a physical card which contains information about the holder’s biographical details, biometric information, and their immigration status in the UK.

A BRP can be used to confirm the following:

  1. Your identity;

  2. Your right to study;

  3. Your right to any public services or benefits you’re entitled to.

What does BRP stand for?

BRP stands for biometric residence permit (BRP).


What information is contained on a BRP?

A biometric residence permit (BRP) contains a range of information about the holder such as:

  • Their name;

  • Date of birth;

  • Place of birth;

  • Their biometric information (facial image and fingerprints);

  • Their immigration status along with any conditions of their stay;

  • Their entitlement to any public funds (i.e. benefits or health services).

Some BRPs will have a National Insurance (NI) number printed on the back of them, however, this is not a feature of all BRPs. The inclusion of the National Insurance number depends on various factors, such as when the BRP was issued and the holder’s immigration status.


Who requires a biometric residence permit?

You will usually require a biometric residence permit if you have:

  • Applied to come to the UK for longer than 6 months;

  • Extended your visa to longer than 6 months;

  • Applied to settle in the UK;

  • Transferred your visa to a new passport; or

  • Applied for certain Home Office travel documents.


What is a BRP card used for?

A biometric residence card is used as a means of identification and proof of your right to stay, study, or work in the UK.


How do I submit biometric information?

When applying for a BRP, you will need to submit your biometric information (a facial image and fingerprints). To submit your biometric information, you will be firstly required to provide your biometric information (a facial image and fingerprints). To do this, you will need to:

  • Have a photo taken of your face.

  • Put your fingers on a glass screen to be scanned.

You will not be required to remove your head covering when having your photo taken, and if you don’t have fingers, you will only need to have your photo taken.

If you're applying from outside the UK, you'll need to visit a visa application centre to provide your biometric information. If you're applying from within the UK, you can visit a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) service point or Service and Support Center (SSC) to complete this step.


How long does it take to get a biometric residence permit?

How long it takes to get your biometric residence permit will depend on where you submitted your immigration or visa application.

If you applied from within the UK, it should take around 10 working days to get your biometric residence permit once you have received your Home Office decision letter which confirms your right to stay in the UK. Your BRP will be sent to your address.

If you applied outside of the UK, you'll need to collect your BRP in-person once you arrive in the UK. This must be done before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires, or within 10 days of arriving in the UK (whichever is later). Your decision letter will specify whether you need to collect your BRP at a designated Post Office branch or from your sponsor, and you must be at least 18 years old to do so.


What can I do if my BRP has not arrived?

If your BRP has not arrived then you can contact the delivery company (TNT) if the following applies:

  • Your BRP has not arrived within 10 working days of you getting your decision letter; and

  • You missed the delivery of your BRP.

When you contact TNT, you will need to following information to hand:

  • The postcode of the address which you provided in your application; and

  • Your consignment number (the permanent reference number for the shipment).

Speak to an immigration lawyer

If you have any questions about biometrics residence permits (BRPs) then get in touch with us today to speak to an experienced immigration lawyer who will be able to provide you with further information and advice.

Make an enquiry

How long is a BRP valid for?

Your BRP will display an expiry date of December 31 2024, but this date doesn't necessarily indicate the end of your right to stay in the UK. Your actual permission to remain in the country will be specified in your Home Office grant letter, which will also include your expiry date.


Why does my BRP expire on 31 December 2024?

BRPs which have been issued in the last few years will display an expiry date of December 31 2024 as part of the Home Office’s plans to digitalise all immigration status information by that time. After 1 January 2025, BRPs will no longer be needed and you will be able to prove your immigration status online without one.

This means that your BRP may have an earlier expiry date than your leave. However, don’t worry: the Home Office will provide updated information on how to prove your immigration status online and you won’t need to take any action. Your immigration status won’t be affected in any way.


Can I renew my BRP before it expires?

The Home Office guidance, the process for replacing an expired BRP depends on whether you are currently in the UK and what type of leave you have.

It's important to note that replacing your expired BRP won't extend the amount of time you're allowed to stay in the UK if your leave is expiring. To continue living and working in the UK, you'll need to apply to extend your leave.

If your BRP has less than 3 months validity you may want to replace it now if you need to prove your right to work or rent or you are travelling outside the UK.


If you are outside the UK

If your BRP expires while you are outside the UK, you cannot apply for a replacement. Instead, you will need to apply for a 'replacement BRP visa', which allows you to re-enter the UK once only. A replacement BRP visa costs £154.

You can apply for a replacement BRP when you return to the UK. You must do this within 3 months of its expiry unless you have a good reason, for example you were unable to return to the UK in that time.

You can use the following link to renew or replace your BRP.


Biometric Residence Permits and proof of indefinite leave to remain

If you have been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK, your BRP will serve as both your identification and proof of immigration status. In the event that you do not possess a BRP despite having obtained indefinite leave to remain, you will be required to apply for a No Time Limit (NTL) application to transfer your ILR to a BRP.


Can I use my BRP after citizenship?

You cannot use your BRP after receiving citizenship.

Once you have received your certificate of British citizenship you are required to send your biometric residence permit back to the Home Office within 5 working days.

You will need to cut your BRP into 4 pieces and place it in a windowless envelope.

Please include a note stating that you are returning your biometric residence permit because you have become a British citizen. It would be useful if you could include your name, date of birth and the document number (found on the front of the card) in the note.

If you are returning your BRP from inside the UK, you will need to send it to the BRP return address below: 

Naturalisation BRP Returns

PO Box 195


BS20 1BT

You will be fined up to £1,000 if you do not return your permit within 5 working days.



Do I need to return my old BRP?

You will need to return your old BRP if it has expired or you have since received a replacement BRP because it will no longer be valid.


Where do I return my old BRP?

You must use the following BRP returns address to send back your old BRP card from inside the UK:

BRP Returns

P.O. Box 195


BS20 1BT


To return your old BRP from outside the UK, you must return it to the following address:

BRP Returns 

Home Office

Conference House

Conference Avenue

Portishead Office Park 



BS20 7LZ

United Kingdom

When returning your old BRP it is important that you cut your BRP in half and send it to the appropriate address in a plain, windowless envelope.


What happens if I forget to return my old BRP card?

If you forget to return your old BRP card then you may be subject to a fine of up to £1,000.


What is the difference between a BRP and BRC?

Previously, foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area who could live and work in the UK based on EU law rights could obtain a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), also referred to as an EEA biometric residence card. BRCs are no longer available, and possessing a UK Residence Card is no longer considered valid proof of your right to reside or work in the country. To continue living in the UK, you must now apply for alternative forms of stay permission, such as settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.


How Paragon Law can help?

Our team of immigration lawyers is well-equipped to assist you with any queries you may have about your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Whether you're uncertain about the application process, need guidance on renewals, or have concerns about your immigration status, our experts are here to provide you with accurate and up-to-date information. 

Make an enquiry

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