UK to Replace Biometric Residence Permits with Digital Visas by December 2024

The UK government has announced that it will phase out Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) by the end of 2024, transitioning to a fully digital visa system known as eVisas. This significant change aims to modernize and streamline the process of proving immigration status for foreign nationals in the UK.

What are eVisas?

eVisas are digital records of a person’s immigration status, accessible online. They provide information on the validity and conditions of an individual’s permission to enter or stay in the UK. This move to digital documentation is part of a broader effort to enhance convenience and security, eliminating the need for physical documents which can be lost, stolen, or tampered with​ (Cranbrook Legal)​​ (DavidsonMorris)​.

Transition Timeline and Process

From January 1, 2025, the UK will no longer issue BRPs. Instead, all new and existing visa holders will be required to use the eVisa system. Current BRP holders will not need to take any immediate action; their immigration status remains unchanged despite the physical card’s expiry date of December 31, 2024. The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department will provide further instructions throughout 2024 on how to register for and access the new digital system​ (Cranbrook Legal)​​ (University of Bath)

Impact on Current Visa Holders

For those holding BRPs that expire on December 31, 2024, the transition to eVisas will not affect their legal right to stay in the UK. The change only pertains to the physical card, not the individual’s immigration status. This also applies to students and other visa categories; their rights to work, travel, and access services will remain intact despite the card’s expiry​ (University of Bath)​​ (Richmond Chambers)​.

Advantages of the Digital System

The introduction of eVisas promises several benefits:Enhanced security: Digital records reduce the risk of loss, theft, or fraud.Ease of access: Visa holders can quickly and conveniently access their immigration status online, and share it with employers or landlords as needed.Streamlined border control: The eVisa system simplifies the process for border officials, allowing them to verify immigration status more efficiently​ (Cranbrook Legal)​​ (University of Bath)​.

As the UK moves towards this digital future, the government assures all current visa holders that their transition to the eVisa system will be smooth and that their immigration rights will be fully preserved during and after the switch​ (DavidsonMorris)​​ (Richmond Chambers)​.

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