The A – Z of UK Biometric Resi

The A – Z of UK Biometric Residence Permits

A Biometric Residence Permit contains a person’s name, date, place of birth, fingerprints and a photo of his/her face. All of this is known as Biometric Data.

The A – Z of UK Biometric Resi

There often seems to be some doubt about the exact purpose, process of issuing, and eligibility of the UK Biometric Residence Permits. The consultants at Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants Ltd (BIC) have compiled some short guidance on all you need to know about these cards.

Who gets UK Biometric Residence Permits?

The UK Government issues Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) to all South Africans and other non-EEA nationals who are staying in the UK for longer than six months. Eg. Persons who have successfully applied to settle in the UK, foreign students going to study in the UK and persons on the long-stay UK work visas.

Persons on short-term visas (shorter than six months), such as the UK Tourist Visa, are NOT issued with Biometric Residence Permits.

What is the Purpose of the Biometric Residence Card?

The Biometric Residence Card provides proof of a person’s immigration status in the UK. It includes evidence of the entitlement to work, study and the level of access to public services in the UK.

What is the Process of Obtaining the Biometric Residence Card?

When a UK Visa Applicant is successful in their UK Visa application, they receive a 30-day sticker in their passport. This entry clearance sticker indicates the person’s grant of leave in the UK.

This entry clearance visa or sticker in the passport is only valid for 30 days once received by the applicant, and the applicant needs to travel to the UK within this 30-day period. In cases where an applicant is not able to travel within the 30-day period, they will need to apply for a replacement. It is, therefore, crucial that UK Visa Applicants make sure of the date they intend to travel to the UK when they apply for their UK Visa.

Once a person is successful in their UK Visa Application, the UK Home Office will provide them with a letter with all the details on the collection of their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Applicants have to collect their BRP card from the designated Post Office in the UK, within ten days of their arrival in the UK. It the card is not collected within the ten days or arrival, the person may face a fine or other penalties.

Feedback from our clients shows, that even though the requirements for the collection of the BRP cards show that a person is allowed to collect the cards for all dependents on the application, some UK Post Offices require all dependants (and even minor children) to be present when collecting the BRP cards.

All applications made for the extension of stay/leave to remain in the UK will automatically receive a biometrics card upon approval.

When is the Biometric Residence Card no longer needed?

Once a person has successfully applied for his/her British Citizenship and has attended their naturalisation ceremony, they need to send their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) back to the UK Home Office.  Failure to do so may result in a financial penalty.

If you have any further queries on the UK Biometric Residence Card, please feel free to speak to your BIC consultant for more information. or


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