Regulations are being laid in Parliament today which, once approved, will see more foreign nationals being issued with Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) from 29th February 2012.
From the end of February, all foreign nationals who are applying to remain in the UK for a further period of six months or more will be required to register their Biometrics (fingerprints and digital facial image). If successful, the UK Border Agency will then issue a BRP as evidence of immigration status and entitlements in the UK. The BRP is a credit card size document that contains the information previously endorsed within an applicant’s passport in the form of a residence permit such as biographical information along with the conditions and basis of stay in the UK. The biometric data is held on a chip on the back of the card.
Applicants for indefinite leave to remain will also be required to register their Biometrics as part of the application process with effect from 29th February 2012.
European Union regulations require all EU member states to make stand alone biometric residence permits available to foreign nationals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Until now the UK has only partially implemented these regulations and required BRPs to be issued for a limited range of applications. This is the last stage in the process of compliance with the EU regulations.
The UK Border Agency has contracted with Post Office Limited to provide 100 Biometric centres around the UK at which Applicants may attend. However, this additional step in the process will inevitably require considerable forward planning for each individual Applicant as previously they were not required to attend in person.
The increased volume of applications requiring biometric data will inevitably put increased pressure on the availability of premium processing appointments at UKBA centres.