United Kingdom – Biometric Residence Permits Required Beginning in March 2015

What has changed

Beginning in March 2015, the Entry Clearance Application process is set to change in the United Kingdom.  Any non-EEA (European Economic Area) national applying for a visa to enter the U.K. for more than six (6) months must obtain a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card within ten (10) days of arriving in the U.K.

BRP cards are currently issued for in country processes such as visa extensions, settling, or transferring conditions, but will soon be required for first time applicants as well.

Who is affected?
What to expect

  • Any non-EEA national obtaining an entry visa for business, work, or family related travel that is longer than six (6) months.

The changes are still subject to completion of Parliamentary process, but expect to be rolled out country by country beginning in March 2015 until July 2015, when the changes will take effect for all entry clearance applications.

The change that will be realized the most is that rather than an entry clearance visa being issued for the full length of stay, foreign travelers will be issued a short term entry visa valid for thirty (30) days. They must then travel within those thirty (30) days and present the visa along with the approval letter upon entry to the U.K.  Upon arrival, they will be able to collect their BRP card from a local post office that is determined by the U.K. address details presented in their application form.

What you need to do
Planning ahead

  • Going forward, companies and travelers to the U.K. must be cognitive of these changes because travel dates, and U.K. addresses will need to be determined with more certainty before applying for the visa at the consulate abroad. Failure to travel within thirty (30) days of the intended travel date could result in the foreigner having to re-apply for a replacement visa, which would incur additional costs.
  • Once the short stay entry visa is issued, foreigners can travel to the UK on or after the ‘valid from’ date on the visa and begin working immediately. Employers will still need to conduct the necessary Right to Work checks on foreigner’s first day of work.  If the Right to Work check is completed prior to the foreigner collecting the BRP card, a second check will be required once the card is collected.
  • Failure to collect the BRP card within ten (10) days of arriving in the U.K. could result in the cancellation of their card, which could require the applicant to apply for a new card and incur the cost again.
  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide attorney or representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your clients.

The information above was provided by Emigra Worldwide, our global network partners, and relevant government authorities. The information herein is for general purposes only and not intended as advice for a particular matter. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work.