UK eVisa ROLLOUT

Summary by Agnieszka Tomasikiewicz – 19th April 2024

 

UK eVisa ROLLOUT

 

The Home Office announced on April 17th, 2024, that the UK Government aims for a fully digital eVisa immigration and border system by 2025.

Starting on April 17th, visa holders residing in the UK can expect to receive communication from the Home Office. These notifications will prompt them to establish a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account for accessing their eVisas. Millions of individuals are encouraged to transition from conventional physical immigration documents to electronic visas.

Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs), the physical documents currently in use, are set to be gradually phased out. The Home Office has pledged to ensure that the majority of visa holders residing in the UK will transition to eVisas by 2025.

Tom Pursglove, the Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, said, “Replacing physical immigration documents with eVisas will ensure firm control over who comes here to live, work, or study, strengthening border security and preventing abuse of the immigration system, while delivering cost savings for UK taxpayers.”

What is an eVisa?

An eVisa serves as an electronic record of an individual’s immigration status and the terms of their authorization to enter or remain in the UK. It eliminates the necessity for physical documents like the biometric residence permit (BRP), ink stamps, or vignette visa stickers in passports, or the biometric residence card (BRC). Individuals will need to establish their UKVI account, which will allow access to an eVisa and validate immigration status for various purposes, such as employment or renting accommodation.

The necessary steps to be taken depend on the type of physical immigration document currently possessed. The latest guidance from the Home Office outlines the following instructions.

Biometric Residence Permit (BRP):

For individuals with a biometric residence permit (BRP) expiring on December 31, 2024, instructions will be provided on creating a UKVI account and accessing the eVisa before the BRP’s expiry date.

Those who have already received communication, either via email or in a decision letter, regarding account creation can proceed to follow the provided instructions to establish their UKVI account.

Another Physical Document:

Individuals with indefinite leave to enter or remain (also known as settlement) who currently use a different type of physical document to prove their rights, such as a wet-ink stamp in their passport or a vignette sticker, are advised to make a ‘no time limit’ (NTL) application.

Upon successful completion of the NTL application, they will be issued a BRP to verify their rights. It is recommended that they carry both their BRP and passport when traveling internationally. Once in possession of a BRP, they will be able to create a UKVI account to access their eVisa later in the year.

Biometric Residence Card (BRC):

For individuals holding a biometric residence card (BRC) and having obtained status under the EU Settlement Scheme, an eVisa is already in place, eliminating the need for any further action to acquire one. Information on accessing and utilizing the eVisa (digital status) can be found in the grant letter or email. It is advised to maintain carrying the BRC when traveling abroad.

For British or Irish citizens or those with the right of abode:

Individuals who are British or Irish citizens and hold British or Irish passports need not apply for an eVisa or a UKVI account. They should continue to use their passports to demonstrate their status in the UK.

For the latest guidance on the above we recommend checking the government website eVisa Guidance  or for expert immigration advice, please contact our immigration department on 020 3929 9119 or complete our enquiry form: Contact Form.