The UK’s Transition to Digital Immigration with eVisas

29th April 2024

Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) to be replaced with eVisas by 2025

The UK’s border and immigration system is going digital. Physical documents, such as Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and passport vignette stickers, are gradually being replaced by eVisas with the aim of being fully digital by 2025. An eVisa is an online record of your immigration status and the conditions of your permission to enter or stay in the UK.  With eVisas, visa holders will have a secure, digital way of proving their immigration status, either when travelling or if required to do so in the UK, e.g. right to rent or right to work checks.    

Why is the system changing?

The new system is designed to make things easier and more efficient for those navigating UK immigration. Benefits of eVisas include:

  • They are secure and cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with, unlike a physical document
  • You will not need to wait for, or collect, a physical document after your application is decided – you might still need to provide biometric information in person, and the Home Office will tell you if you need to do this 
  • It will be quicker and easier to prove your status at the UK border, and share your status with third parties like employers and landlords
 
What are the next steps?

If you have a BRP

Your BRP will remain valid until its expiry date (31/12/2024 at the latest). If your immigration status was granted for a longer period than the expiry date on your BRP, that status will not be affected by the expiry of your physical document. 

The Home Office has begun contacting eligible candidates inviting them to set up an online UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account, where they can access their eVisa. 

If you have not yet been contacted about creating an account, you’ll be able to create your account and access your eVisa later in 2024.

If you have another physical document

If you have indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain (also known as settlement) and you currently prove your rights through a different type of physical document, such as a wet-ink stamp in your passport or a vignette sticker, then you should make a ‘no time limit’ (NTL) application.

If your NTL application is successful, you’ll get a BRP to prove your rights. You should carry your BRP, along with your passport, when travelling internationally. Once you have a BRP, you’ll be able to create a UKVI account to access your eVisa later this year.

What if you have a biometric residence card?

If you have a biometric residence card (BRC) and you have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, then you already have an eVisa and you do not need to take any action to obtain one. You can find details of how to access and use your eVisa (your digital status) in your grant letter or email. You should continue to carry your BRC with you when you travel internationally.  

How easy is it set up an eVisa?

The process is simple and can be completed within ten minutes. Provided you have access to a smartphone and personal information such as your date of birth and BRP number, you can access your eVisa. Once you have created your account, you will be able to view your eVisa screen which outlines your immigration status and visa expiry date. This page will also give you the option to prove your status via a ‘share code’, which can be passed on to the person you want to share your status information with.

Once contacted, you must create an online UKVI account, if you do not already have one, to view your eVisa and share your immigration status with third parties, e.g. landlords, employers, education providers. If you need help with creating your UKVI account and getting access to your eVisa, you can contact the Home Office here.

The eVisa will mean you no longer need to show your physical immigration document at the border. Your eVisa will be linked to your passport or travel document, so when you travel, carriers and Border Force will be able to check your immigration status automatically. This means it is important to keep your current passport or travel document details updated in your UKVI account.

If you need to make a new application for permission to stay in the UK, you should follow the usual application process. There will be information and guidance provided during your application process if you need to create a UKVI account. 

The eVisa service will open to all in the summer of 2024. We recommend making sure your contact details with the Home Office are up to date. You can register here to be notified when you can create your new digital account.

The service is currently only available to individuals who have been contacted by the Home Office. You can register here to be notified when you can create your new digital account.

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