does your visa expiry
date add up?

Have you been awarded a five year UK visa by the Home Office this month? If so, congratulations are in order.

You have been granted permission to reside in the United Kingdom until 2025…despite the fact your biometric residence permit (BRP) will indicate an expiry date of 31 December 2024!

Unfortunately, the Home Office’s current batch of biometric residence permits do not incorporate the next generation of encryption technology. Therefore, despite the UK’s intention to introduce the new technology in due course, an EU restriction prohibits the biometric cards from being issued beyond 31 December 2024.

Whilst the date restriction affects only cards issued with leave valid past the date of 31 December 2024, it means all five year visas issued since 1 January 2020 are impacted.

For every month this issue remains unsettled, the greater the number of visa holders that will be affected.

Two BRPs for the price of one

Until such time as the Home Office introduces the new technology, its proposed workaround is to issue a second permit approximately six months prior to 31 December 2024.

This means that anyone who has paid a fee in expectation of receiving a period of leave for longer than the 31 December 2024 date will still do so, but it will be spread over two BRPs. 

The Home Office has stated it will replace the card free of charge. It has also stated that the date restriction does not change the entitlements of the rightful holder to work, access services/benefits or travel.

What remains unclear is whether the authorities will make a concerted effort to communicate with all affected visa holders ahead of 31 December 2024 and actively seek to rectify the issue on their behalf. Unfortunately, we suspect they won’t.

Smith Stone Walters therefore strongly recommends that all visa holders shortchanged by this date restriction make the following diary note for July 2024: ‘Home Office owes me a new BRP!’ 

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