What is BRP/ Biometric Residence Permit?
Very fancy name, much less fancy use. As soon as you get accepted to a school in the UK, you’ll start hearing the term “BRP” being tossed around. It’s definitely confusing at first and the official name doesn’t make it any easier. BRP stands for Biometric Residence Permit. Some of what it is can be taken from the name, but let’s break it down.
A Biometric Residence Permit is a card, much like a drivers license, that allows you to live in the UK if you don’t have a UK passport. At the moment, an EU passport bypasses the need for a BRP but with Brexit coming, who knows.
When applying for a Visa, you’ll get a large sticker put in your passport that takes up an entire page. This is an entry pass which allows you one entry into the UK. That will be when you first arrive. Once you’re in the country, you have to arrange to pick up your BRP within 10 days unless there’s a delay on the government’s end.
You can arrange to have your BRP sent to your University, which is usually easiest. Your University will have it during your check in when you set up the rest of your Uni items, such as your Uni card. The exception to this is if you applied for your Visa close to the beginning of term in which case they might get it a few days late, which happened to me. To have it sent to your Uni, you can tick the option when applying for a visa and give them your Uni address or connect your account, then when filling out forms for Uni, you’ll be prompted to say whether your BRP will be sent to them or not.
You can also arrange to have your BRP sent to a post office, you just have to confirm which one and set up a time to pick it up. This can be a bit confusing during the first week to then figure out where to pick it up, especially since you have to choose the post office in advance.
The BRP will look similar to a driver's license in size and shape. My Uni gave me a card holder, similar to a wallet, where I keep it. It will have your photograph on it, information such as birth date and full name, and then will have a bunch of numbers that are relevant but that you don’t have to worry about.
You do not have to carry your BRP on you at all times. I’d recommend putting it somewhere safe inside your accommodation where no one will be able to steal it. Treat it like a passport, because this is your actual Visa and the thing that allows you to live in the UK.
Officials are allowed to ask to see your BRP in general, but if they did then it would be a process. There’s no need to carry it in your purse.
You can, however, use it to show your birth date if you’re buying alcohol and don’t have a US driver's license and don’t want to take your passport.
If you lose your BRP in the UK, you’ll have to report it to the British government and apply for a replacement visa if you have more than 3 months on your visa. There is a fee, but you can stay within the UK.
Always take your BRP with you when leaving the country. You won’t be allowed back in if you don’t have it and a photocopy won’t suffice.
If you lose your BRP outside of the UK, you should first go to the UK embassy as well as your own country’s embassy. You’ll have to apply for a replacement entry sticker which will allow you to enter the UK once and then once inside, you’ll have to apply for a replacement visa within three months.
My Biometric Residence Permit was incredibly exciting to get because it meant that I was a resident of the UK. A resident of the UK! If you have any questions about BRPs, leave them below and I’ll answer them or make a new article to address them. What have your experiences been with your BRPs?