Immigration system to change for all UK visa holders

The Home Office is phasing out all physical immigration documents by 2025

Border control at Gatwick Airport, south of London. The UK Is phasing out physical immigration status documents. Getty Images
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People living in the UK who have physical immigration documents called Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) are now required to create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account to access their eVisa, a digital proof of their immigration status.

As part of Home Office plans to modernise the border and introduce a digital immigration system, all people with BRP will be invited to change over their paperwork in summer 2024, with eVisas being required for nearly all visa holders living in the UK by 2025.

Most physical documents, such as biometric residence permits and cards (BRPs/BRCs) are being gradually phased out, with BRPs expiring at the end of 2024 and physical immigration documents will be gradually halted by 2025.

The UK government says the process straightforward for people who hold physical and paper documents to create a UKVI account to access their eVisa.

Creating a UKVI account will not change, impact or remove people's current immigration status or their rights in the UK, the Home Office says.

UK officials say the introduction of eVisas are central to making the UK safer by reducing the risk of fraud, loss and abuse of physical documents, strengthening border security, and providing a more secure way to prove immigration status. It will also meet government plans to create a contactless border.

“We’ve already taken really significant steps to digitally transform the border and immigration system, and this wider roll-out of eVisas is a key part of that process,” Tom Pursglove, Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, said on Wednesday.

“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.”

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People who already have an eVisa don’t need to do anything as the Home Office will automatically make the change but they should continue to update their UKVI account with any changes to personal information such as new passport or contact details.

The process is free, something which will come as a relief for UK visa holders who have seen costs rise rapidly in recent years amid a changing system of rules that requires applicants to prove higher earnings.

Last week, the minimum income threshold for a UK resident to be able to bring their spouse to the country is set to rise from £18,600 to £29,000, and will increase to £38,700 next spring.

People are also being advised to continue to carry their in-date physical immigration documents with them when they travel internationally, until they expire.

To avoid delays when travelling, people who already have an eVisa should tell the Home Office about any passport on which they intend to travel using the online ‘Update your UK Visas and Immigration account details’ service on, if this is not already linked to their account.

An eVisa is securely linked with the holder’s unique biometric information in the same way as a BRP/BRC, to protect against identity fraud. Also, unlike a physical document, they cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with.

They can be accessed anywhere and in real time, putting people in control of their own data and allowing them to swiftly update the Home Office with new contact or passport details.

The eVisa also allows government departments to check a person's immigration status to determine their eligibility for access to public services.

Updated: April 17, 2024, 7:52 AM