6 benefits of using an
Alternative Collection Location
(ACL) to collect your BRP

A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a document issued to foreign nationals who have been granted a visa or immigration permission to live, study or work in the UK. Your BRP is an important document which provides evidence of your immigration status in the UK.

If you applied for your visa from overseas, you will need to collect your BRP once you have arrived in the UK. You will usually need to collect it before the vignette sticker in your travel document expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. BRPs can be collected from either:

  • A Post Office branch
  • An Alternative Collection Location (ACL).

But which option should you choose and how does the process work for each? In this article, we explore both options and explain how choosing the latter could end up saving you time and hassle on this important stage of the immigration timeline.

Collecting your BRP from the Post Office

BRPs can be collected from a named Post Office branch anywhere in the UK which offers this service. During the visa application process you will be able to select which branch you would like to collect your BRP from. To locate your nearest branch, you can use the Post Office branch finder. You will need to bring your passport or travel document with your vignette sticker in when you come to collect your BRP.

If you want to collect your BRP from a different Post Office branch to the one named on your Home Office decision letter, you’ll need to arrange this at the Post Office branch you want to use and pay a redirection fee. You will then need to return seven calendar days later to collect your permit.

You can also nominate someone else to collect your BRP if you have a serious illness or disability that prevents you from collecting it. You may need to provide evidence (such as a doctor’s letter) to show that you cannot collect it in person, and you will need to wait up to five working days to find out if the person you have nominated has been approved.

Collecting your BRP from an ACL

If you do not wish to collect your BRP from a Post Office branch, the alternative option is to use an Alternative Collection Location (ACL). Certain organisations such as legal representatives or large-volume sponsors can request to become an accredited ACL if they meet the Home Office eligibility requirements.

Smith Stone Walters is pleased to offer this service to our clients, with both of our UK office locations accredited as ACLs. By instructing SSW to manage your visa application, you can choose to have your BRP sent to our office address where it will be held securely until you can collect it or we can send it to your address. Your dedicated SSW Account Manager will take receipt of your BRP when it arrives at the SSW office, and notify you when it has arrived.

6 benefits of using an ACL

Smith Stone Walters spoke to a sample of visa applicants who had recently used the Post Office service to collect their BRP, to find out more about their experiences using the service. Following their feedback, we’ve listed below our top six reasons to choose the ACL service over a Post Office collection.

  • Any errors can be flagged immediately – As soon as SSW receives your BRP at our premises, our immigration caseworkers will check it for accuracy and get to work on fixing any errors straight away. On the other hand, if you opt to collect your BRP from the Post Office, you won’t know about any errors until you’ve collected the document.
  • Get your BRP delivered to your door – SSW can send your BRP directly to you by secure mail to save you having to travel. The Post Office does not offer this service, and you must collect your BRP from the named branch in person when choosing this option.
  • No need to queue – Many of the clients we spoke to cited long waits (approximately 20 minutes) at the Post Office branch when arriving to collect their BRP, and some reported an apparent lack of organisation and confusion among Post Office staff about the process.
  • Takes away the guesswork – One of the major downsides of collecting from the Post Office is that you won’t know if the branch has your BRP until you attempt to collect it. In the sample of clients we spoke to, some had to visit the Post Office 2 – 3 times before they were able to successfully collect their document, wasting valuable time for both applicant and employer.
  • Avoid the hassle of requesting changes – Making a request to redirect your BRP to an alternative Post Office branch can be difficult, and can cause further delays to the process. Similarly, if you cannot collect your permit due to illness or disability you will need to wait for the Home Office to approve the person you have nominated to collect it on your behalf. None of these steps are necessary when using an ACL, as we can send your BRP directly to you.
  • Peace of mind – At SSW, we take data security seriously and we have processes in place to ensure your BRP will be stored securely when it arrives at our location. As an accredited ACL, our premises and staff have been vetted and approved by the Home Office so you can relax in the knowledge that your documents are in safe hands.

Speak to an immigration advisor

To find out more about using SSW as an Alternative Collection Location, call us today on 0208 461 6660 or email info@smithstonewalters.com.

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