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How to obtain a biometric residency permit in the UK

Securing a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a crucial step for anyone planning to live or work in the UK. This essential document serves as your identity card and immigration status proof. Our concise guide breaks down the BRP application process, its importance, and how to handle issues like replacements. Get all the insights you need to smoothly navigate the BRP system.

How to obtain a biometric residence permit (BRP) in the UK


The BRP serves as proof of authorized immigration status and entitlements during a migrant’s stay in the UK. It’s a residence card and is usually needed to either come to the UK for longer than 6 months or to settle permanently. It contains a migrant’s biographical details (name, date of birth and so on), biometric information (facial images and fingerprints), and how long the permit is valid for. It sometimes states your National Insurance Number (NIN) on the back of the card too. If it’s not there and you’re planning to seek employment, you will have to apply for it yourself.

From 1 January 2025, you won't need a BRP anymore. Instead, you’ll be able to prove your immigration status online.

What will I need a BRP for?

A biometric residence card will be requested if you wish to open a bank account, access the NHS services, or perform other day to day procedures. This is because the BRP serves as proof of your:

  • • Identity
  • • Immigration status
  • • Conditions of your stay
  • • Entitlement to public services and social benefits

As from 6 April 2022, the BRP will no longer allow you to confirm your right to work or rent. You’ll need to prove your right to work or rent online.


If you’re from a country outside the European Economic Area, you’ll obtain a BRP when you apply for a visa to stay in the UK. As a non-EU citizen, you'll usually get it on:

  • • Application to be resident in the UK for more than 6 months
  • • Extension of a visa to longer than 6 months
  • • Application to be a permanently resident in the UK
  • • Transfer of a visa to a new passport
  • • Application for specific Home Office travel documents

If you are coming to the UK as a family member of someone from the EU, you will obtain a biometric residence card (BRC) instead.

How to apply

As mentioned above, you usually apply for a BRP as part of your visa application process. Whether you can apply from within the UK or not, depends on your country of origin. In any case, you’ll have to make an appointment to show the documentation required for your visa and allow them to take your picture and fingerprints. This is known as biometric information.

If you can apply from within the UK, you’ll be required to book an appointment with UKVCA (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services) and their partner Sopra Steria. Whereas, if you can only apply from outside the UK, you’ll be directed to the company that oversees the visa application process in your country of origin or place of residence.

Documentation needed

On the day of the appointment, you must bring your passport and the documentation requested for your visa. The documents you must provide depend on your personal circumstance. You know which ones they are as they were stated in the online application form you filled in when you applied for your visa.

What happens one you attend your appointment depends on what service you paid for. If you chose to get your documents scanned for you, they will take your originals, scan them, and upload them to the online platform for you. You also have the possibility to have your documents checked to make sure you have everything you need. If you haven't paid for any extras, you would have already scanned and submitted copies of your originals online and by yourself.


The answer depends on whether you were able to apply within or from outside the UK. If you can apply for a visa within the UK, your BRP card will be sent to your home address by post. However, for applicants outside the UK, the process is slightly different. Once your visa application is successful, you will be issued a vignette that is placed on your passport and allows you to enter the country. On arrival to the UK, your BRP card should be collected either in a post office that offers issuance of BRP, or through an Alternative Collection Location (ACL). This is a decision you make as part of your visa application.

Remember to bring your passport and decision letter granting your visa with you. If you do not wish to apply at an issuing Post Office, certain organizations can request to become Accredited Collection Locations upon satisfaction of the Home Office eligibility requirement.


How much does the BRP cost? The cost of the application in the United Kingdom is £19.20. If you applied outside the UK, the price will be attached to your application fee. Once you apply, your BRP takes seven working days to reach you after a decision has been made on your application. The validity of your BRP depends on the visa permit you were granted.

Now you know

A biometric residence permit allows you to stay, work or study in the UK. It contains key information such as your biographical details, biometric information, and rights in the UK. You will have to apply for it online as part of your visa application process. Where you apply will depend on whether you are allowed to apply within the UK or from your own country of origin. For more information, we suggest you visit the website.

How to live in the UK