Biometrics Permit Card: After I receive my entry clearance, how quickly must I travel to the UK with it? [23 JUN 2015]
Immigration Rules Change Alert
So, if you have ever applied in the UK to extend your visa, then you are already aware of a Biometrics Residence Permit (BRP) Card.
As for for people coming to the UK with a new visa (i.e. entry clearance/ Leave to Enter) from outside the UK, then up until March 2015 you would simply receive a sticker ('vignette') on a blank page of your passport to ensure you are able to enter the UK for the purpose stated in that entry clearance. Depending on the type of visa you applied for, you could enter for anywhere from 6 months to indefinitely (lucky you!).
(click on this picture of sample BRP card for a link to the UKVI's information sheet on this Overseas Biometrics Residence Permit requirement).
Well, all of this is now going to change.
Anyone applying to come to the UK for longer than 6 months (i.e. other than visitors), you will still need to apply for the visa vignette from your home country in the same way. But once you receive this visa, you will immediately notice the date of your visa will be granted only for 30 days (yes - 30 days, even if you were supposedly granted let's say, 3 years leave as Tier 2 General worker). This is because there is now an extra step a migrant must take once they arrive in the UK, namely, once you arrive, you must arrange to collect this BRP card from a 'participating' post office. Ultimately, any new migrants coming to the UK for a period of longer than 6 months must:
- Apply for entry clearance in the normal way from your home country;
- Once you receive your leave to enter vignette, this will be valid for 30 days (from the date you said you would like to travel to the UK on your application form);
- You MUST TRAVEL to the UK WITHIN THIS 30 DAYS (or your visa will expire);
- Arrive in the UK, and arrange to collect your BPR card as soon as possible - so for workers, collect this BRP Card before you start working for your sponsor and for students, collect this before you start your course at the university/ college.
The thing about this change is that not every country is subjected to it. YET. This new policy is being phrased in at difference stages for different countries. See here for the UKVI's Roll-out schedule of this policy:
This new BRP Card collection regime began being applied to Pakistani national applicants from 18 March 2015.
Then from 15 April 2015, its application extended to 31 other countries listed in the Roll-out policy schedule.
From 31 May 2015, to 33 more countries also listed in the roll-out policy schedule.
Lastly, from 31 July 2015, it is intended to come into force for applicants from the rest of the world. So EVERYBODY will be subject to this rule from this date.
Check your country list and make sure you plan your journey right. So the answer to the frequently asked, 'Once I get my visa, do I need to travel straight away or may I leave it for some time?' is simply - YES, you DO need to travel within the dates printed on your visa (usually 30 days).