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eVisas to Replace Physical Immigration Documents

The Home Office is set to join the rest of the world and operate a fully digital immigration system. As part of this process, eVisas are set to replace the following physical immigration documents by 1 January 2025:

  1. Biometric Residence Permits (BRP);
  2. Biometric Residence Cards (BRC);
  3. Passport endorsements, such as indefinite leave to enter wet ink stamps; and
  4. Vignette stickers in passports, such as entry clearance or visa vignettes.

What is an eVisa?

An eVisa is an online record that will show an individual’s UK immigration status and the conditions of their permission to enter or stay in the UK. Individuals will be able to use their eVisa to evidence their right to work and right to rent.

Plans are in place for eVisas to be linked to passports, so that individuals’ immigration status can be easily identified at the UK border. Hopefully, we will soon be able to say goodbye to the long customs lines at the airport!

How to get an eVisa?

An eVisa holder will be able to access an UKVI online account to view and share their immigration status. Currently, individuals are only able to apply for an online account, when invited to do so from the Home Office.

So far, the Home Office has begun contacting a small number of BRP holders by email. There is no clear indication as to how these individuals have been selected.  There is no reason to be concerned if you are yet to be contacted. It is expected that in the coming months all BRP holders will be contacted by the Home Office and the other groups will be notified later this year.

The Home Office provides guidance in the email of how to set up a UKVI online account.

How will this impact travel arrangements?

Throughout 2024, individuals are advised by the Home Office to continue travelling with their physical immigration documents and to carry a physical copy of their online eVisa status and approval email/letter showing their full leave entitlement in the UK.

What should individuals do?

It is important that UK visa nationals ensure that the Home Office has their correct email address and that they regularly check their junk / spam emails, to avoid missing any requests for them to set up their UKVI online account.

There will be complications for UK visa nationals who do not obtain an eVisa in 2024. They will struggle to evidence that they are permitted to work, study, or join their family in the UK.

Therefore, it is advisable for any affected individuals to regularly check their emails and to create their UKVI online account when prompted to do so from the Home Office.

What should employers do?

It is advisable that businesses start planning for these changes, to avoid facing unnecessary disruption down the line. In particular, we recommend that employers consider communicating the new requirements with employees who are impacted and provide assistance where necessary.

For further information and advice about issues relating to the above, please do get in touch with our specialist Immigration team.

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