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U.K. Begins Rolling Out eVisas to Replace BRP Cards

  1. Immigration Blog
  2. U.K. Begins Rolling Out eVisas to Replace BRP Cards

The United Kingdom began rolling out eVisas to replace the physical residence permit cards for immigrants as part of a plan to introduce a digital immigration system.

The Home Office began sending emails April 17 to all those holding physical immigration documents and invited them to create an online U.K. Visas and Immigration account to access their eVisa, it said in a statement. The invitations will be sent in phases to all those that have the biometric residence permit or BRP cards before the process opens to all holders in the summer of 2024.

The move is part of a plan to introduce a digital immigration system and introduce eVisas for nearly all visa holders in the U.K. by 2025. The biometric residence permit card is evidence of a person’s permission to stay in the U.K. and also shows any attached conditions to the stay. It enables a person to confirm their identity and their rights to study and work in the country as well as to access public services.

eVisas will make the U.K. safer by reducing the risk of fraud, loss and abuse of physical documents, strengthening border security, and providing a more secure way to prove immigration status, according to the statement. This will pave the way for increased automation to deliver the government’s vision for a contactless border.

Creating a UKVI account to access an eVisa is free and will not impact customers’ current immigration status or their rights in the U.K., according to the statement.

"Replacing physical immigration documents with eVisas will ensure firm control over who comes here to live, work or study, strengthening border security and preventing abuse of the immigration system, while delivering cost savings for U.K. taxpayers", Tom Pursglove, Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, said in the statement.

eVisas are secure, and, unlike a physical document, cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with. They can be accessed anywhere and in real time, putting customers in control of their own data and allowing them to swiftly update the Home Office with new contact or passport details.

An eVisa is securely linked with the holder’s unique biometric information in the same way as a BRP or BRC, to protect against identity fraud.

People checking immigration status will be able to conduct one quick and simple check using a secure online service on GOV.UK. Selected public bodies are already able to access immigration status to determine eligibility for public services automatically through system to system checks.

eVisas have already been tested, with millions of customers using them across routes including the EU Settlement Scheme. Most physical documents, such as biometric residence permits or cards, are being gradually phased out and most BRPs will expire at the end of 2024.

Other countries have also replaced, or are planning to replace, their physical immigration documents with digital forms of immigration status.

Customers who already have an eVisa do not need to do anything but should continue to update their UKVI account with any changes to personal information, such as a new passport or contact details. Customers should continue to carry their in-date physical immigration documents with them when they travel internationally, until they expire.

As part of the transformation of the U.K. border and immigration system, the government has already introduced the Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme. ETA is a digital permission to travel to the U.K. for those wanting to visit but who do not need a visa. It gives the government greater ability to screen travellers in advance and prevents those who pose a threat from coming here.

If you have a question or would like our team's assistance with any immigration matters please get in touch through our contact form or by phone. We will be happy to provide the latest information and expert advice relevant to your specific requirements.

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