A foreign citizen who applies for a residence permit in the United Kingdom has to provide some biometric information such as fingertips and biometric photographs. Biometric photos are used in personal documents all over the world. You can find them in passports, visas, ID cards, driving licences and many other documents.
However, they have to meet the international requirements for biometric suitability which includes various categories such: as format, background and facial expression. These are checked by office authorities or AI systems. If your photo does not meet the requirements, your application for a document can be rejected. To be able to get the right biometric photo you should read this article! You will find out more about biometric pictures as well as what the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is, who needs to apply for it, and more.
- What is the UK biometric residence permit?
- Who has to apply for a biometric residence permit?
- How to apply for a biometric residence permit for the UK
- What if you can’t provide biometric information?
- Extending your biometric residence permit for the UK
- Losing a UK Biometric Residence Permit
- Losing a UK biometric residence permit
- Finding someone else’s UK biometric residence permit
What is the UK biometric residence permit?
The biometric residence permit is a biometric document that is provided to all the foreigners who apply, and are accepted for, a visa, and those who wish to extend their current visa, as well as to their dependents. It can be used as a form of identification as well as evidence of their immigrant status that allows for the holder to stay, work or study in the UK.
Who has to apply for a biometric residence permit?
Almost every foreign national outside the European Economic Area, who enters the United Kingdom under long-term authorisation, has to obtain a biometric residence permit within ten days of arrival in the UK. Proof of having a BRP will be stated in their visa.
To apply for a biometric residence permit the applicant must have:
- moved their visa to a new passport;
- applied for a visa to stay more than 6 (six) months;
- applied to extend their existing visa for more than 6 (six) months;
- applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) (Settlement Permission);
- applied to get certain travel documents from the Home Office.
Regarding a child’s BRP, minors under 6 (six) years old will only have their facial image taken. Older children, over 6 (six) years old, must provide their fingerprints, as well as the adults that are required to, while applying for a biometric residence permit. One thing that must be taken into account is the legal requirement for children under the age of 16 (sixteen) to have an adult, such as a parent or guardian, to accompany them.
How to apply for a biometric residence permit for the UK
When applying for a visa, the applicant will have information taken for their BRP, such as fingerprints and a digital photo. It is possible to have the photo taken at some Home Office Centres, however, you can try taking it by yourself using an online UK visa photo tool.
The information you have to provide:
- your name and surname
- your date of birth and birthplace
- fingerprints and photograph
- information on your current visa and related conditions of stay
- information regarding the possibility to access public funds, e.g. health services
- national Insurance number (not applicable to everyone, depends on your circumstances).
A BRP holder can use this document to confirm:
- information about your identity
- the category of rights for employment or studying
- your level of access to public services
- your immigrant status
This document is given automatically when the candidate’s visa application is approved. As soon as you receive the BRP, check it for any mistakes. If you find that some of the information is incorrect, inform the Home Office as soon as possible, so that they can correct it and issue you another one with the correct details.
What if you can’t provide biometric information?
If you are physically unable to give your biometric information, such as fingertips because of physical disability (you have no fingers or hands), you will be recorded in the database as a person who is physically unable to provide fingerprints. Your facial image, however, will be recorded in the database. Your biometric information will be stored on a central government database in the United Kingdom and handled in line with the UK’s strict data protection laws.
Nonetheless, if a foreign resident in the UK refuses to give their biometric information, their application to the Home Office will be rejected and it might lead to his or her deportation to their home country.
Extending your biometric residence permit for the UK
Because your biometric residence permit expires at the same time as your UK visa, regardless of when your visa ends, its renewal is also tied to it. So if you do wish to stay in the UK for a longer period of time you will need to apply for a visa extension, which extends your BRP as well. Without these approvals your immigrant status will change and you will no longer be permitted to stay in the UK.
Losing a UK Biometric Residence Permit
If you lose your BRP you must report the loss as soon as possible using the service at BRP Lost.If you lose the BRP while in the UK, you must apply for another within 3 months. If outside the UK, you must apply for a Replacement BRP visa to reenter the United Kingdom.
Losing a UK biometric residence permit
If you lose your BRP you must report the loss as soon as possible using the service at BRP Lost. If you lose your BRP while in the UK, you must apply for another within 3 (three) months. If outside the UK, you must apply for a Replacement BRP visa, in order to reenter the United Kingdom, which allows you a one-time entry at the cost of £154, you will then need to apply for a full replacement once back in the UK.
Finding someone else’s UK biometric residence permit
If, by any chance, you find a biometric residence permit that belongs to someone you don’t know, then you should send it as soon as possible by post to this address: BRP Returns, P.O. Box 195, Bristol, BS20 1AB. The postage is free, which means you will not have to pay anything for sending someone else’s BRP card to this address.
Passport Photo Online
It was mentioned above that one of the required documents while applying for the biometric residence permit is a biometric photograph. If you need a photo for any of the visas to enter the UK, you can use our photo tool which will resize, edit and check if the photo meets the official British requirements.
The photo generator is available on the Passport Photo Online website, or in the mobile app store, so all you have to do is download our mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, depending on if you use a smartphone with an Android or iOS system. Afterwards, take a photo with a phone, camera or tablet. Use a tripod or ask a friend to take a photo of you. Then, upload your picture to our online photo editor, choose the type of document you are applying for (e.g. UK residence permit) and let our photo creator do the rest!
You can take as many photos as you like for free, as you will only pay for the photo you will choose to use for your document.
Biometric residence permit: summary
The biometric residence permit is very important as it is both your identity document and proof of your immigrant status, and you need one when in the UK on a visa as a foreign national.
Your biometric residence permit renewal will occur at the same time as you renew your visa, so nothing will need to be done within regards to the BRP.
Biometric residence permit: FAQ
What documents do I need in order to renew my biometric residence permit?
Your BRP will be renewed automatically at the same time as you renew your visa, so you won’t need to provide any documents specifically to renew the BRP.
How do I renew my biometric residence permit?
You don’t need to renew it yourself, as it will be renewed when you apply for a visa extension.
Do I need to renew my biometric residence permit?
No you do not, you will need to renew your visa, which will also renew your BRP.
What is the biometric residence permit renewal cost?
There is no fee to be paid when your BRP is renewed, as it it included with the cost of the visa renewal.
Do I need a biometric residence permit if I have indefinite leave to remain?
You do not need to have one, but it is recommended that you do, as it is highly beneficial to have.
Is a biometric residence permit indefinite leave to remain?
No, they are not the same. A biometric residence permit is an identity document and proof of your right to stay in the UK for a specific period of time, depending on your status, whilst indefinite leave to remain is a status granted to you that gives you the right to stay in the UK indefinitely.
How long does a biometric residence permit last?
The BRP will last for as long as your visa status lasts, and will expire at the same time as your visa.
When should I renew my biometric residence permit?
You don’t need to worry about when to renew this, as it automatically renews upon the granting of an extension of your visa.
Justyna graduated from journalism and social communications at the University of Lower Silesia. She is an avid journalist with passion for travels and sport, being also a professional athlete for the past 8 years. Justyna is the author of articles concerning biometric photography.