If you are a doctor or a health care worker from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) who wants to live, work or study in the UK for more than six months, you will need to apply for a UK biometric residence permit (BRP). A BRP is a physical card that proves your identity, immigration status and entitlements in the UK. It also shows your right to access public services or benefits that you may be eligible for. In this guide, we will explain what a BRP is, what are the benefits of having one, how to apply for one, and how to collect it once you arrive in the UK.
What is a BRP?
A BRP is a standard credit card size (86mm x 54mm) document that contains your biographic details (name, date and place of birth) and biometric information (facial image and fingerprints). It also has a chip that stores your biometric data electronically. A BRP has the following information on it:
- Your name, date and place of birth
- Your nationality and immigration status
- The date your BRP expires
- The type of visa or leave you have and any conditions of your stay
- Whether you can access public funds, such as benefits or health services
- Whether you can work or study in the UK
- Your National Insurance (NI) number, if you have one
A BRP is different from a biometric residence card (BRC), which is issued to non-EEA family members of EEA nationals who have the right to live and work in the UK based on EU law. A BRC has ‘residence card’, ‘permanent residence card’ or ‘derivative residence card’ printed on it.
What are the benefits of having a BRP?
A BRP is a secure and convenient way to prove your identity and immigration status in the UK. It can help you to:
- Open a bank account in the UK
- Register with a GP or access NHS services
- Apply for a driving licence or a student loan
- Travel in and out of the UK without needing a visa sticker in your passport
- Prove your right to work or rent online
How to apply for a BRP?
You do not have to apply separately for a BRP. You will automatically get one if you:
- Apply to come to the UK for longer than six months
- Extend your visa to longer than six months
- Apply to settle in the UK
- Transfer your visa to a new passport
- Apply for certain Home Office travel documents
You will need to give your fingerprints and photo (biometrics) as part of your application. You can do this at a visa application centre in your country of origin or at a UK post office if you are applying from inside the UK.
You will also need to pay an application fee and an immigration health surcharge, which covers your access to NHS services in the UK. The amount you pay depends on the type of visa or leave you are applying for.
How to collect your BRP once you arrive in the UK?
If you applied for your visa from outside the UK, you will need to collect your BRP within 10 days of arriving in the UK. You will receive a letter from the Home Office telling you where and when to collect it. You will usually collect it from a post office near where you live or study.
You will need to bring your passport and the letter from the Home Office when you collect your BRP. You may also need to show evidence of where you live, such as a tenancy agreement or utility bill.
If you applied for your visa from inside the UK, you will receive your BRP by courier within 7 working days of getting your decision letter from the Home Office. You do not need to collect it from anywhere.
What to do if you lose or damage your BRP?
If your BRP is lost, stolen, damaged or expired, you will need to report it to the Home Office and apply for a replacement as soon as possible. You may face a fine or lose your permission to stay in the UK if you do not do this.
You can report and replace your BRP online using this link: https://www.gov.uk/biometric-residence-permits/lost-stolen-damaged
You will need to pay £75.20 for a replacement BRP and give your biometrics again.
A BRP is an important document that confirms your identity, immigration status and entitlements in the UK. It can help you access various services and benefits that you may be eligible for as a doctor or a health care worker. You should apply for a BRP as part of your visa or leave application and collect it within 10 days of arriving in the UK. You should also keep it safe and report and replace it if it is lost, stolen, damaged or expired.