How to get your UK biometric card

Anyone who wants to live in the UK for longer than six months will need to get a biometric resident permit (BRP). This document is essential, and yet many are unaware that they need one. Below I briefly explain what the BRP is and why you’ll need a biometric card before you go to the UK.

biometric card

Who needs a BRP card?

Anyone who wants to move to the UK for a significant amount time is likely to need a BRP.

You must apply for a BRP if you want to:

  • Apply to stay in the UK for more than six months
  • Apply to extend a visa or settle in the UK
  • Transfer a valid visa to a new passport
  • Apply for certain Home Office travel documents

What a BRP entitles you to

If your application is successful you will be issued with a decision letter. You will have to show this letter when you land in the UK, at either a designated post office or at your sponsor, to pick up your biometric card. This card is physical proof of your BRP, which itself is proof of your right to stay, work or study in the UK. You’ll need your biometric card when you arrive in the UK to prove your visa is valid.

Your BRP also lets authorities know of any other restrictions placed on your right to stay in the UK. As a BRP holder you are not required to carry your biometric card on you at all times, but you must show it at border posts along with your passport when travelling outside of, and when returning to, the UK.

How to apply for your biometric card

All applicants travelling from overseas are required to attend a biometric appointment at a testing centre of your choice. Here immigration officials will need a copy of your finger prints, a photograph of yourself, along with your signature.

Unfortunately the process is not as straight forward as it may seem. Our Australian office has heard of a number of cases of Aussies being turned away from local biometric testing centres because they have not provided the correct information. This causes delays and may even prove costly if you have left your application a tad late. There are, however, professional visa services that will make sure you go to the testing centre fully prepared so that you can get on with planning your UK adventure.

1st Contact can book your biometric appointment and ensure you’re fully prepared for your test. Call us on +61 1 800 039 300 (Australia) or +27 21 657 2180 (South Africa). Alternatively, email me and we’ll get you sorted.

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