Understanding the Biometric Residence Permit
The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a key identity document for non-UK residents, containing personal and immigration information such as name, date of birth, place of birth, biometric information (fingerprints and photos), immigration status, and any stay limitations. It may also disclose whether the holder has access to public funding in the United Kingdom.
Table of Contents
Because of the function of a Biometric Residence Permit, it contains a variety of information, including the following:
- Information about the individual, such as their name, date of birth, and place of birth
- Information that can be used to identify a person, such as fingerprints and a photograph
- Immigration status, as well as any rules or limits that apply to staying in the country
Please note it has not been allowed to use a Biometric Residence Permit as proof of a right to rent or work in the UK after April 6, 2022.
Lost or Stolen Biometric Residence Permit
It’s of utmost importance to keep your card secure due to the sensitive information it holds. If a card is lost or stolen, reporting this immediately is critical. Failure to do so might lead to a financial penalty of up to £1,000. To help in such cases, keeping a copy or photo of your card once received can provide easy access to the relevant information.
Reporting Your BRP Lost or Stolen
The reporting and replacement process varies depending on whether you’re in the UK or outside. You should note that your card will be cancelled from the moment you report it, so you won’t be able to use it even if it is found after you make a report to the Home Office stating it is lost or stolen.
Within the UK
If you’re within the UK and your Biometric Residence Permit is valid for more than 3 months and is lost or stolen, it’s crucial to report and apply for a replacement within three months. Failure to do this can result in penalties, including being asked to leave the UK or a fine of up to £1,000.
If the validity of your card was less than three months, you are required to either file a report stating that it was lost or stolen, apply for a replacement if you want to leave and re-enter the UK within three months of the expiration date or file an application to extend your visa if you wish to remain in the UK. If your card has been lost of stolen contact our immigration solicitors for immediate assistance.
Outside the UK
If you are located outside of the UK, you will not be able to submit an application for a replacement biometric residence card. You should instead submit an application for a “replacement BRP visa” (explained in more detail below), which will let you re-enter the United Kingdom. You have three months from the time you get back to the UK to submit an application for a replacement.
How to Apply for a Replacement Biometric Residence Card (BRP) In the UK?
If you are currently located in the United Kingdom and need to replace your biometric residence permit, you can do so online through the Home Office website. To submit your application, you will need to:
- Fill out the application that can be found online, pay the required fee and upload any documents that may be necessary to UKVI (a list of these documents can be seen down below).
- Have your biometrics, such as your fingerprints and a photo, taken at a UKVI service centre. You will be given instructions on how to arrange an appointment and will be directed to the service centre that is most convenient for you.
- Pay the application fee (subject to change but is currently £56)
Information / Documents Required to Support Your Application
In order to replace a biometric residency card, certain information and documents are required. You may be asked to give some or all of the following information and documents when applying for a replacement BRP:
- Name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number
- Amount of time you have lived life in the UK at your current address
- Gender Marital status
- Place and date of your birth
- National Insurance number
- Your current visa type
- The total amount of time you have resided in the UK
- Any period of time spent outside of the UK lasting more than six months.
- Home office reference numbers (if you have any documents from the Home Office that have ‘Our Ref’ or ‘Case ID’ on them)
- Your actual BRP number
- When your card was either taken or misplaced
- Details of the passport, including the place where it was issued, the date it was issued, and the date it will expire
- Report from the police department (possibly translated) confirming that someone else took your card.
You will be informed as to which papers or evidence to provide. In addition, if any of the information on your passport has changed, you could be required to also show the updated versions.
How to Apply for a Replacement BRP Visa Outside the UK?
If you are currently located outside of the UK, the following procedures will need to be carried out by you:
- You should inform the Home Office if your BRP has been lost or stolen.
- Also, report this to a local police station and get a copy of the report to support your case.
- Fill out this online form that is located on the home office website in order to report your BRP as missing or stolen outside of the UK.
- Make an application for a “Replacement BRP Visa” – a visa that will allow you back in the UK (currently costs £154)
- Get back to the UK and start the application outlined in the section above to fully replace your biometric residence card.
You should also be aware that if you have been living outside of the UK for more than two years, you will be required to apply for a Returning Resident visa. If you are an individual who holds Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), absence from the UK for a 2-year period could lead to ILR Expiry, and you will also need to apply under the Returning Resident Visa route.
What is the Processing Time?
Time required to process a replacement request for a biometric residency card (how long does it take to replace a BRP)
The processing time from within the UK can take anything from three to eight weeks.
What is the Price for a Replacement BRP card?
The current charge for replacing a BRP issued by the Home Office is £56. This is the charge for replacing it within the United Kingdom. For outside, the price for the replacement visa is currently £154.
What If I Find My Old BRP Card While I Am Waiting for My New One?
The Home Office recommends that you try to find your card while you are waiting for a replacement for security purposes. But it is crucial to keep in mind that you will no longer be able to use your old BRP even if you find it. If you are currently located outside of the United Kingdom, this indicates that you will not be able to return to the United Kingdom until the replacement BRP visa has been issued to you. If you have located your card after reporting it, the following procedures should be carried out:
- You must destroy the card by cutting through your personal information, the royal coat of arms, and the gold biometric chip on your old card in order to get the components you need.
- Send the card that you have destroyed to the Home Office at the following address: Returns Unit PO Box 195 Bristol BS20 1BT.
Maintaining the security of your Biometric Residence Permit is of utmost importance. However, should it become lost or stolen, knowing the correct steps to take can ensure your continued legal status in the UK and protect you from potential penalties.
Need More Help?
If you need additional information or assistance regarding a BRP, it’s always a good idea to contact a professional. You can reach out to our immigration barristers and lawyers for more information or assistance. We can help guide you through the process of reporting a lost or stolen BRP, applying for a replacement, or dealing with UK visa applications.
Please remember this information is up-to-date as of the time of writing, and you should always consult a legal expert to ensure you have the latest information.
FAQ's About Lost or Stolen BRP's
Even if you discover your lost BRP after reporting it, you can’t use the found permit. After you receive your new permit, cut the old one into pieces and send it back to the Home Office.
If you find someone else’s lost or stolen BRP while in the UK, send it back to the Home Office. If you’re abroad, hand it to local police or the nearest British embassy or consulate.
The processing time for a replacement BRP visa is approximately three weeks as of right now. Be sure to account for this when making your plans.Can I go on this trip without my BRP?It is not wise to travel outside of the UK without your BRP unless you are willing to apply for a replacement vignette in order to come back.
Travelling outside the UK without your BRP is not advisable unless you are prepared to apply for a replacement vignette to return.
Please note, while this extended guide provides a comprehensive overview, it’s always advisable to consult with legal representatives or experts for specific circumstances and updated regulations.
If you happen to be travelling and lose your BRP, try not to freak out just yet because there are still things you can do. It is recommended that you do not leave the United Kingdom without your biometric residence permit (BRP), as this document is required at the United Kingdom border in addition to your passport or other travel document. If you still decide to travel and lose your BRP, you need to apply for a replacement BRP visa, which will grant you a one-time re-entry into the UK. Once you’re back in the UK, you should then apply for a replacement BRP.
After you report your BRP as lost or stolen, you should be contacted within one working day. You can report the loss yourself, or, if unable to do so, you can ask a charity, employer, university, or legal representative to report it for you.
If your dependents also have BRPs that were lost or stolen, each dependent must complete their own application for a replacement. It’s essential to ensure that everyone’s immigration status remains secure.
In addition to serving as an identification document and confirming your immigration status, a BRP card also provides proof of your right to study or access public services and benefits in the UK.
Not at this present point in time. BRP cards currently only exist in physical form.
If you plan to stay in the UK beyond the expiration of your BRP, you should apply to extend or modify your visa as necessary. If your application is successful, you’ll be issued a replacement BRP.
Generally, you must collect your BRP yourself. However, in some circumstances, another person may collect it for you. This person must be named on your BRP collection letter, over 18, and have permission to be in the UK.
Remember, this is general advice and the specifics could change over time or be different depending on individual circumstances. Always consult with an immigration expert or legal representative to get advice tailored to your specific situation.
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.