Replacing a Biometric Residence Permit
What is a BRP?
A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a document provided to people who hold the right to be in the UK. It can be used to confirm a person’s identity, the immigration status they have been given, whether they have a right to study, and whether they have any rights to receive any benefits or public services.
It is important to know what is required if you lose your BRP. Not only will it be more difficult to prove your status, but you could also be liable for a significant fine if you have not replaced it. The requirements for a lost or stolen BRP vary depending on whether you are currently inside or outside of the UK.
Reporting a lost/stolen BRP
In all situations, you must first report your lost or stolen BRP to the Home Office by filling in an online form.
The Home Office also advises that the loss or theft is reported to the police, and a request is made for a police report or crime reference number.
Loss or theft within the UK
Where you hold indefinite leave to remain (ILR, or settlement)
You can apply for a replacement by making a ‘No Time Limit’ application. This is an online application and has no fee.
It also applies to people who have older-style legacy immigration documents, and who wish to upgrade their documents to a new-style BRP.
Where your BRP is valid for 3 months or more
If your BRP is valid for 3 or more months, an application for a replacement must be made within 3 months of it being lost or stolen.
This is an online application, incurring a fee of £75.20 for the standard service and an estimated 8 weeks to receive your new BRP. A priority service is available for a faster replacement, but this does incur higher fees.
If you fail to apply for a replacement within 3 months of the loss or theft of a BRP, you may be fined up to £1,000 and made to leave the UK.
Where your BRP is valid for less than 3 months
If your BRP is valid for less than 3 months, and you plan any travel outside the UK before the expiry of your leave, you must apply for a replacement BRP.
If you are planning to extend your leave in the UK beyond the expiry date, you can simply make your application and wait for a decision. If you are granted an extension or further leave, you will automatically receive a new BRP.
If you do not intend to extend your leave in the UK, or you do not plan to make any trips outside the UK before your leave expires, you do not need to apply for a replacement.
Active application for leave to remain in the UK
If you have lost your BRP whilst you are awaiting a decision on an application to extend or vary your current leave, you will not have to replace your BRP.
Loss or theft outside the UK
You must still report your lost or stolen BRP using the online form, but you can only apply for a replacement in the UK.
You will need to apply for a replacement BRP visa which will allow you to travel back to the UK. This is an online application that incurs a fee of £154, and an estimated 15 days to receive a decision.
You must then apply for a replacement BRP when you have arrived back in the UK. This must be within 3 months of the date it was lost or stolen, unless you have a good reason.
Lost documents if you have previously held ILR
If you have been outside the UK for more than 2 continuous years and you previously held Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), you may have lost your status. You will have to apply for a returning resident visa, which allows you to return and permanently live in the UK. It requires an online application which incurs a fee of £531.
Other ways to prove your immigration status
Your BRP does not provide your right to work or rent, this can be accessed online without the need for your BRP.
If you require benefits or use the NHS, you can tell the relevant body that your BRP has been lost or stolen, and they can contact the Home Office to confirm your status.
If you have never had a BRP
You may not have received a BRP at all, which depends on what kind of visa you have been given. If you have applied to stay in the UK using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’, you will not have received a BRP, and you cannot apply for one in the future.
If you reported the loss or theft of your BRP, but then find it
You will not be able to use the old BRP and must return this to the Home Office. The above situations then apply, depending on what you should do next.
How we can help
Our expert solicitors are specially trained in all aspects of Immigration law. We will be able to advise you on what is required if you have lost your BRP and what this might entail. Our assistance can range from initial advice to the completion of any relevant applications to the Home Office on your behalf. We will aim to ensure that you receive a replacement BRP as soon as possible.