UK eVisa rollout: Millions
invited to switch to a
digital immigration

Millions of people in the UK with physical immigration documents are being invited to switch to an eVisa as the Home Office pushes forward with its plans to digitalise the immigration and border system.

From 17 April 2024, the Home Office will begin contacting eligible customers inviting them to set up an online UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account to access their eVisa, a digital proof of their immigration status. Invitations will be issued in phases before the process opens to all BRP holders in summer 2024.

This major change forms an integral part of the government’s plan to modernise the UK border and implement a fully digital end-to-end immigration system for those applying to come to or stay in the UK.

By 2025, most physical immigration documents will no longer be issued and nearly all visa holders living in the UK will be able to evidence their status with an eVisa.

What is an eVisa?

An eVisa is an online record of your immigration status and the conditions of your permission to enter or stay in the UK. Updating your physical document to an eVisa will not affect your immigration status or the conditions of your permission to enter or stay in the UK.

The Home Office promotes digital statuses as having many benefits over physical documents, including greater security, shorter waiting times for applicants and quicker, easier information sharing with third parties.

To access your eVisa and prove your immigration status to others, such as an employer or landlord, you will need to create a UKVI account.

What you need to do

The action you need to take depends on the type of physical immigration document you currently have. The latest guidance from the Home Office is as follows.

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP):

If you have a BRP that expires on 31 December 2024, the Home Office will contact you with instructions on setting up your UKVI account and accessing your eVisa before the expiry date of your BRP.

If you have already been contacted by the Home Office either by email or in a decision letter, you can now follow the instructions provided to set up your UKVI account.

If you have not yet been contacted about creating a UKVI account, you will be able to create your account and access your visa later in 2024. You can sign up for updates on the Home Office eVisa guidance page to keep up to date on when you will be able to access your eVisa.

If you have another physical document:

If you have indefinite leave to enter or indefinite leave to remain you currently prove your rights through a different type of physical document, such as a wet-ink stamp in your passport or a vignette sticker, then you should make a ‘no time limit’ (NTL) application.

If your NTL application is successful, you will get a BRP to prove your rights. You should carry your BRP, along with your passport, when travelling internationally. Once you have a BRP, you’ll be able to create a UKVI account to access your eVisa later in 2024.

If you have a Biometric Residence Card (BRC):

If you have a Biometric Residence Card (BRC) and you have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), then you already have an eVisa and you do not need to take any further action. However, you should continue to carry your BRC with you when you travel internationally.

If you have a BRC and you have not been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, obtained another form of immigration leave, or become a British citizen, then your BRC is no longer valid, even if it appears to still be in date. This is because the UK has left the EU, and the EU free movement law no longer applies. To continue living in the UK, you will need to apply for immigration permission as soon as possible. You should not travel internationally until you have obtained proof of your immigration status.

If you have a British or Irish passport, or you have the right of abode:

If you are a British or Irish citizen with a British or Irish passport, you do not need an eVisa and therefore no action is required.  You should continue to use your passport to prove your status in the UK.

If you are a British citizen and are also a national of another country (other than Ireland), or you have the right of abode in the UK and you do not have a British passport, then you may need to take action in future. The Home Office eVisa guidance page will be updated to tell you what you need to do.

If you have the right of abode in the UK and you still have your BRP, more information can be found here on what you need to do with your BRP after being granted citizenship.

If you need to make a new application:

If you need to make a new application for permission to stay in the UK, you should follow the usual application process. Information and guidance about creating a UKVI account, if required, will be provided during your application.

If you already have an eVisa:

Millions of migrants in the UK already hold an eVisa, for example through the EU Settlement Scheme, the British National (Overseas) visa scheme or the Graduate visa scheme.

Customers who already have an eVisa do not need to do anything but should continue to update their UKVI account with any changes to personal information, such as a new passport or contact details.

Next steps

The eVisa rollout process is a significant undertaking, and the Home Office has millions of customers to contact. For this reason, you may not receive an email straight away but you should ensure your contact details held by the Home Office are up to date so you do not miss any important communications.

The latest information on eVisas is available on the GOV.UK website here, where you can register to be notified as to when you can create your new digital account.

If you need help with creating your UKVI account and getting access to your eVisa, you can contact the Home Office here.

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