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UK eVisa Rollout Has Begun
Monday, June 17, 2024

As part of the UK government’s plan to modernise the UK border and create a digitised immigration system, many individuals will by now have received an invitation to switch from their physical immigration documents to an electronic visa, called an “eVisa.” The government intends to implement eVisas for nearly all visa holders living in the United Kingdom by 2025.

Quick Hits

  • On 17 April 2024, the UK government began sending invitations to eligible visa holders to set up online UK Visas and Immigration accounts to access their eVisas.
  • An eVisa is an online record of a visa holder’s immigration status and includes the conditions of their permission to enter or stay in the United Kingdom.
  • The government intends by 2025 to no longer issue physical immigration documents (in most cases) and instead intends that nearly all UK visa holders can show their status with an eVisa.

On 17 April 2024, the government began sending invitations in phases for eligible visa holders to set up online UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) accounts to access their eVisas. The process should be available to all Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Biometric Residence Card (BRC) holders by the summer of 2024 and will enable them to prove their immigration status digitally.

By 2025, the UK government hopes to no longer issue physical immigration documents (in most cases). It intends that nearly all UK visa holders will be able to show their status with an eVisa. In an April 2024 press release, the Home Office stated that eVisas are integral 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.” The use of eVisas is part of the government’s effort to create contactless border crossings.

What Is an eVisa?

An eVisa is an online record of a visa holder’s immigration status and includes the conditions of their permission to enter or stay in the United Kingdom. It is securely linked with the holder’s biometric information in the same way as a physical BRP or BRC and is designed to protect against identity fraud.

The benefits of having an eVisa are that it is more secure, and, unlike a physical document, it cannot be lost, stolen, or tampered with. It can be accessed anywhere and at any time, allowing a quick and simple way to update the Home Office with new contact or passport details. It also provides a quick and easy way for holders to prove their immigration status to others, such as landlords or employers.

Current UK visa holders’ immigration status will not be affected, and the conditions for their permission to enter or stay in the United Kingdom will remain the same.

Process to Update to Digital Status

UK visa holders will need to create a UKVI account to access their eVisa. The action required to update to digital status will depend on the type of physical immigration document currently held. The latest guidance from the Home Office is as follows:

Current BRP Holders

For individuals whose BRPs expire on 31 December 2024, the Home Office will send instructions on how to set up a UKVI account, as well as instructions for accessing their eVisas before the expiration date.

Individuals who have already been contacted by the Home Office by email or received instructions in a decision letter should now be able to set up a UKVI account.

Individuals who have not yet been contacted about creating a UKVI account should be contacted later in 2024. The Home Office eVisa guidance page allows individuals to register and receive emails about any updates to the page.

Holders of Other Physical Documents

Individuals who have indefinite leave to enter the United Kingdom, or indefinite leave to remain, may prove their rights through a different type of physical document (e.g., a wet-ink stamp in their passports or a vignette sticker). These individuals will need to make a “no time limit” (NTL) application, which will replace their current visa with a BRP. Once in receipt of a BRP, these individuals will be able to create a UKVI account to access their eVisa later in 2024.

Current BRC Holders

Individuals who hold a BRC and have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) should already have an eVisa and will not need to take any further action.

New Applications for Permission to Stay in the United Kingdom

For individuals making a new application for permission to stay in the United Kingdom, the usual application process should be followed. The required guidance concerning the creation of a UKVI account will be provided during the application process.

Next Steps

Individuals can register to be notified of any updates on the UK government’s website and request help with creating UKVI accounts and accessing their eVisas.

UK visa holders may want to ensure that their contact details are current so that they can receive the relevant instructions and help ensure that the rollout process is as efficient as possible.

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