The New UK eVisa - Immigration Status Goes Digital

Introducing The New UK eVisa

Many migrants in the UK carry ‘Biometric Residence Permits’ (BRPs) which enable them to re-enter the UK when they have travelled abroad. Some use the permit to prove their legal immigration status in the UK. Since 2020, all BRPs have an expiry date of 31st December 2024. This does not mean the permit holder’s legal status expires on that date, it is the date when the immigration status system goes digital. Residence permits will no longer be a valid way of proving immigration status or re-entering the UK.

Over recent years, the Home Office has increasingly used digital methods to process applications and keep records of a person’s immigration status. Digitalisation particularly accelerated with the EU Settlement Scheme after Brexit.

People in airport heading to departure gate | UK eVisa | Immigration Legal Services UK

Which Documents Are No Longer Valid After December 2024?

After December 2024, all migrants will have a new 'e-visa' which will replace all physical documents as a record of their immigration status. It will replace:

  • Biometric Residence Permits
  • Biometric Residence Cards
  • Stamps/endorsements in passports (for example stamps confirming Indefinite Leave to Remain)  
  • ‘Vignettes’ contained in passports giving a person the right to enter the UK

The Benefits Of The New UK eVisa

In theory, it should be quicker and easier to pass through border control with a UK eVisa, although this depends on the Home Office computer systems being reliable and kept up to date. Migrants will no longer need to carry a physical document to prove their right to enter the UK. Their passport will be linked digitally to their immigration status.

  • It will be simpler to prove immigration status using the online account
  • There will be no risk of losing a physical document or having it stolen

However, experience tells us that there are many people who struggle with digital systems or who are unable to access online accounts and we foresee problems here.

Accessing The New UK eVisa

For some time, migrants have been able to access their information and prove their right to work and rent by using an online immigration account which can be found here:

Not everyone has this access yet, however they should have by the end of the year. This is the new UK eVisa.

You can register for the online account using the link above and get a ‘share code’ which allows your employer or landlord to check your immigration status. It is very important to keep your details up to date in this account, for example contact and passport details.

What Do I Need To Do Before 31st December 2024?

  1. Continue to carry your BRP when you travel abroad until 31st December 2024.
  2. You should receive notification from the UK government that you need to take action. Our clients have already started to receive emails. It is important to follow the steps in the email. Here is the email address of the notification so you can be sure it is genuine:
  3. Set up your online account if you do not have one already. You will be able to do this after 31st December, but it is best not to wait. If you have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme you will already have an account.
  4. Don’t forget children and other dependants.

People Without Biometric Residence Permits

These are people who don’t hold a permit but have a stamp or sticker in their passport confirming their Indefinite Leave  to Remain status. They must take an extra step and apply for a ‘no time limit’ application which will confirm they still hold Indefinite Leave to Remain. They will then receive a BRP and they will then be able to set up an online account.

We would urge anyone relying on a stamp or sticker in a passport to prove their immigration status to act immediately and apply for a ‘no time limit’ confirmation.

Problems Ahead With The New UK eVisa

Anyone making applications for permission to stay in the UK will be advised on eVisas as they make their applications. Digital systems may be more streamline and convenient for those who are digitally competent. However, for some who are disabled or have no access to digital platforms or who do not have the English language skills to understand, there are likely to be problems and possibly injustices if they are then unable to prove they are in the UK legally. There have been calls to provide extra support for these people. We do not want to see another Windrush-type scandal.

If you require assistance or guidance with the new UK eVisa, please contact us.

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