StaRs: Time to prioritise, but not to panic
The Home Office will shortly be rolling out Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) (otherwise known as BID) for all visa applicants applying to enter the UK from overseas. This BRP is a plastic card which will have details on it of the applicant’s visa type and visa validity dates. There will be a phased introduction once the legislation has been approved by Parliament and an upgraded visa application system has been introduced, with Pakistan being proposed as the first country to go live with the new process.
There are no confirmed dates, however, the Home Office has indicated that the first roll out should occur in March this year, followed a month later by a second roll-out in India, China and 32 other countries in April and a roll out in the United States a month later, at the end of May. All remaining countries will implement the new process two months later at the end of July.
Whilst detailed guidance on the new process is expected imminently, we have been able to obtain the following overview of the new process:-
Those applicants applying for visas from within the UK will already be familiar with the process although for these applicants the BRPs are sent through the post to the applicant or their nominated legal representative. With the roll out of the new process for applicants applying from overseas, there are no plans for legal representatives to be able to collect the BRP from the post office on behalf of the applicant nor be sent the BRP by post. However, a procedure will be put in place so that a nominated third party, approved by the Home Office, may collect the BRP on behalf of the applicant in exceptional circumstances, eg medical incapacity, visiting VIPs and refugee support. The Home Office will arrange the third party collection with the relevant post office branch and provide a letter of authorisation for the post office official to be able to conduct an identity check.
Sponsors and migrants will need to be aware of these changes and the implications if travel to the UK is delayed for any reason. It will be important for migrants to ensure they collect their BRP within 10 days of arrival to avoid incurring a penalty charge of £125.
Please see our more recent blog, Updates released on the roll-out of the Biometric Residence Permits for overseas applicants, for further updates on the changes.
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