• The Home Office is encouraging legacy immigration document holders to upgrade to a secure modern document, ensuring they can evidence their immigration status in the UK and access the benefits and services they are entitled to.
• Since 6 April 2022, it has been free for those with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK to make a ‘No Time Limit’ application, which provides them with confirmation of their UK immigration status in the form of a biometric
residence permit (BRP).
• The UK’s immigration system is changing and so is how individuals prove their immigration status in the UK – it is becoming digital by default. Over time, this means we will increasingly replace physical and paper-based products and services with accessible, easy to use online services. Allowing those with indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK to upgrade their legacy immigration document to a biometric residence permit free of charge will help them navigate this transition.
• Key benefits of having a BRP include holders being able to prove their right to work in the UK and right to rent in England using free online services. A BRP will also facilitate straightforward travel in and out of the UK.
• Individuals will need to apply in the UK on GOV.UK.
Frequently asked questions
What is a biometric residence permit?
A biometric residence permit (BRP) is a credit-card sized photocard issued by the Home Office that can be used by an individual:
• for identification purposes
• as evidence of a right to study in the UK
• to allow them to use Home Office online services on GOV.UK to prove their right to rent property in England to a landlord and right to work in the UK to an employer, by generating a share code which gives them time limited access to relevant data
• as evidence of a right to public services or benefits they’re entitled to.
A BRP includes an individual’s:
• name, date and place of birth
• biometrics, including a photograph of their face
• immigration status and any conditions of their stay, including whether they can access public funds, for example benefits.
More information about BRPs is available on GOV.UK.
Who is eligible to make a free No Time Limit application?
Individuals can make a No Time Limit application if they believe they have indefinite leave to enter (ILE) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK and:
• they have a legacy immigration document
• their document, such as their passport, containing their status or endorsement has been lost, stolen or has expired
• they do not have any documentary evidence confirming they have ILE or ILR
• they need to amend details on their evidence of status, for example their name on their immigration document, and want this confirmed on a biometric residence permit. Any changes to personal details must meet the guidance requirements.
To qualify, an applicant must:
• have ILE or ILR in the UK
• must not have been absent from the UK for a continuous period of two years or more since ILE or ILR was granted, in which case their ILE or ILR will have lapsed (expired)
• continue to be entitled to ILE or ILR, for example the ILE or ILR has not been revoked, and no revocation is pending.
More information is available on GOV.UK.
If a person’s ILE or ILR has lapsed while they were overseas, they may be able to apply for a Returning Resident visa.
Can those eligible for a No Time Limit application also apply for their family members?
Applicants can include the following dependants on their application form, provided they also have indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK:
• civil partner
• unmarried partner
• same-sex partner
• children under the age of 18.
Children aged 18 or over cannot be included as dependants and must apply separately.
Why aren’t the Home Office providing refunds for those who made a No Time Limit application before 6 April 2022?
Fees payable prior to 6 April 2022 were those set out in the Fees Regulations and were lawfully charged. This change operates prospectively, and refunds will only be available where an individual withdraws their application prior to enrolling biometrics in accordance with the Home Office’s immigration and nationality refunds policy.
If an individual started their No Time Limit application before it became free to apply (6 April 2022), can they withdraw it and receive a refund?
An applicant may only receive a refund on a withdrawn No Time Limit application where they have not already enrolled their biometrics.
What is meant by ‘legacy immigration document’ and why would someone still have one?
Legacy immigration documents come in a variety of formats which have previously been issued as evidence of UK immigration status. This includes, but is not limited to, status letters, ‘wet stamps’ (ink stamps) endorsed in passports and vignettes affixed in holder’s passports. How the Home Office issues people with evidence of their immigration status has changed over the years, each time making evidence more secure.
A legacy immigration document holder may still hold it as evidence of their immigration status, as they have not needed to update it to a more modern proof of status since it was issued.
How do individuals use the Home Office online checking services?
Biometric residence permit (BRP) holders must use the Home Office online checking services to prove their right to work in the UK to employers or right to rent in England to landlords.
They will need to first generate a share code via GOV.UK for work or rent purposes. Access to these services is by entering their BRP’s unique number. Once they have a share code, they will need to give this to their employer or landlord, alongside their date of birth. The share code is valid for 90 days before it expires.
The employer or landlord will then need to input the tenant’s share code and date of birth to conduct an online right to work or right to rent check.
How do individuals get help in proving their immigration status in the UK?
We recognise that individuals might feel anxious about navigating a digital system. If they need help accessing or using the right to work or right to rent online checking 20 May 2022 services, they can contact the UK Visas and Immigration Resolution Centre for direct telephone and email support.