As part of the Home Office’s plan to develop a border and immigration system which is ‘digital by default’, current Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) holders are being invited to apply for an eVisa. Below, we explore what this means for existing BRP holders and the role that UK employers and education institutions can play in the transition process.

What is a digital immigration system?

The Home Office’s stated aim is that by 2025, most customers will have a secure and seamless digital journey when they interact with the UK’s immigration system. Physical documents including BRPs, Biometric Residence Cards and travel vignettes in passports are being phased out and replaced with a digital immigration status, known as an eVisa. 

What is an eVisa?

An eVisa is an online record of your UK immigration status and the conditions of your permission to enter or stay in the UK. eVisas have numerous benefits including being more secure and they cannot be tampered with, lost or stolen. They will make it quicker and easier to prove your immigration status at the UK border as well as to third parties such as UK employers, landlords or student sponsors.

Why is there a phased rollout of eVisas?

With an estimated four million BRP holders in the UK, the transition to eVisas is a mammoth task for the Home Office. The Home Office’s Future Border and Immigration System programme is currently inviting BRP holders to apply for eVisas in a phased rollout. An initial cohort of BRP holders, including 30,000 Student Visa holders, began receiving individual-tailored emails in April 2024 from the Home Office, inviting them to apply for an eVisa.

Currently, BRP holders can only apply for an eVisa if they receive a specific email invitation to do so from the Home Office. The Home Office email will be sent to the email address used in a BRP holder’s last UK immigration application.

The Home Office has indicated that from early June 2024, however, all BRP holders with an expiry date of 31 December 2024 will be able to apply for an eVisa. This means that even if a specific invitation email has not been received, a BRP holder can apply for an eVisa without restriction from this summer, and are encouraged to do so as early as possible.

How do I apply for an eVisa?

Applying for an eVisa is free and is essentially a three-stage process. Firstly, you will have to create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account which will include entering details of your current, valid passport. You will then need to confirm your identity using the UK Immigration: ID check app. You will then need to complete questions on a short application form to link your UKVI account to your eVisa. Once you have completed these three steps, you should receive an email within a few days from the Home Office confirming that your digital eVisa is ready to access.

Remember the ability to create a UKVI account is currently by invitation only. So if you have not received a Home Office invitation email or try to apply before the wider rollout to all BRP holders from this summer, it may not be possible to create your UKVI account or view your eVisa.

Those individuals who have already created a UKVI account (and therefore hold an eVisa) do not need to take any action. You will already have a UKVI account if you applied to the EU Settlement Scheme or used the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to prove your identity when applying for a UK visa. You can therefore continue to present employers, student sponsors or landlords with a share code to prove your immigration status. No action is required for British or Irish passport holders.

Do I still have to travel with my BRP?

Until 31 December 2024, Home Office advice is to still travel with your BRP as well as your current passport. However, in the future, you will be able to use your eVisa to travel to the UK and you will only need to travel with your current passport.

Your eVisa will be linked to the passport in your UKVI account so it will be very important to keep your UKVI account updated with any changes to your passport details. Existing eVisa holders should also ensure that they keep their UKVI account updated with changes to their passport details.

The Home Office also intends that carriers (including airlines) will be able to access the immigration status of travellers on their services. As long as your passport is updated in your UKVI account, your UK immigration status can be easily verified by carriers and on entry to the UK.

What can I do as an employer/education institution ahead of 31 December 2024 deadline?

Updating a physical immigration document to an eVisa does not affect an individual’s UK immigration status nor the conditions of their permission to enter or stay in the UK. However, affected employees and students may encounter difficulties with proving their UK immigration status and travelling to the UK if they do not obtain a UKVI account by the end of the year.

To avoid disruption (as well as facilitating future right to study and right to work checks), employers and education institutions should plan a communications strategy to notify affected staff and students that they need to register for a UKVI account and apply for an eVisa before 31 December 2024.


In summary, BRP holders should apply for an eVisa well in advance of 1 January 2025 to ensure that you can continue to evidence your right to live, work or study in the UK and travel in and out of the UK smoothly. For further information or assistance, please contact the Home Office if any of the information is not clear.