What is the Difference Between a Biometric Residence Permit and a Biometric Residence Card?

What Is The Difference Between A Biometric Residence Permit And A Biometric Residence Card?

The intricacies of the UK immigration system often leave individuals perplexed, particularly  when it comes to understanding the roles and differences of the Biometric Residence Permit andthe Biometric Residence Card.

Both serve as crucial identification tools, bearing personal information and biometric data - yet, their purposes diverge significantly.

As we explore these distinctions, weshall uncover the different rights and privileges associated with each card,and the implications for those navigating the UK immigration system.

Understanding Biometric Residence Permits

In order to comprehend the intricacies of the UK immigration system,it is crucial to understand the role of Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs),which are issued to non-EEA foreign nationals as proof of their identity,rights, and immigration status in the UK. These permits are vital documentsthat depict a foreign national's right to live, work, and access public services and fundsin the UK.

BRPs are automatically issued upon visa approval or when replacing an older document, emphasizing their importance in the immigration process. They contain personal details such as name and birth date, along with biometric information like fingerprints and photographs. This combination of information underscores the secure and reliable nature of these permits, as they provide arobust and verifiable proof of identity and immigration status.

However, it is important to distinguish BRPs from Biometric Residence Cards (BRCs). While both serve similar purposes, they are issued todifferent groups of individuals and have distinct application processes. BRCs are typically issued to non-EEA family members of EEA nationals residing in the UK, unlike BRPs which are issued to non-EEA foreign nationals.

Features of The Biometric Residence Card

Diving into the specifics of the Biometric Residence Card (BRC),this document is primarily designated for non-EEA foreign nationals requiring UK residency. The BRC holds pertinent information about its holder, providing evidence of their immigration status and rights in the UK.

1.        Purpose: The BRC was initially designed to be used by non-EEA foreign nationals without family ties to EEA citizens residing in the UK. It served asproof of their rights and status within the UK.

2.        Evolution: The use and application for BRCs have changed over time. Previously available to a broader category of individuals, the BRC is now specifically fornon-EEA nationals related to EEA citizens.

3.        Application: The BRC is no longer available for application. Individuals previously eligible for a BRC are now required to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

4.        Eligibility: To apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, applicants must have been residing in the UK before the end of 2020. The deadline for these applications was June 30, 2021, but exceptions are made for late submissions in certain circumstances.

Application Processfor BRP

While applying for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), one needs toprove their identity and right to stay in the UK through an online process. This application fee entails the submission of biometric information such as fingerprints and a photograph. The specific application process may vary based on visa status and  the date of issue.

Despite the relative simplicity of the online procedure, it iscrucial to carefully review the conditions and restrictions specified on theBRP during the application. Misinterpretations or oversights can lead to complications in the future. For instance, the BRP indicates whether you have access to public funds, and any violations of the conditions specified on itcan result in penalties.

The successful issuance of a BRP not only validates your right tolive and work in the UK, but it also impacts your ability to access certain public services and benefits. Therefore, it is essential to provide accurate and complete information during the application process. It is also advisable to seek professional guidance if you are unsure about any aspect of the application to minimize the risk of errors.

Applyingfor A Biometric Residence Card

Just as the Biometric Residence Permit has a specific application process, so too does the Biometric Residence Card, although there have been recent changes to its issuance. The BRC was traditionally issued to non-EEAfamily members of EEA nationals residing in the UK. However, as of now, it is no longer possible to apply for a new BRC. Instead, individuals who fall under this category are advised to apply through the EU Settlement Scheme.

The visa application and process for a BRC involves several crucial points:

1.        The BRC is now obsolete, and applications should be made through the EU Settlement Scheme.

2.        The deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme was June 30, 2021. There are limited exceptions available forlate applications.

3.        To be eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme, individuals must have been residing in the UK by December31, 2020.

4.        The BRC served as proof of residency and certain rights for non-EEA foreign nationals in the UK, a role now fulfilled by the EU Settlement Scheme.

KeyDifferences Between BRP And BRC

In order to discern the key differences between a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and a Biometric Residence Card (BRC), it is important to understand the specific purposes and the populations they are designed to serve. A BRP is issued to non-European Economic Area (EEA) foreign nationals,providing proof of their right to reside and work in the UK. It displays immigration status and can include access to some public services and funds. Its validity alignswith the individual's permission to stay in the UK, with a maximum of 10 years.

Conversely, a BRC used to be granted to non-EEA family members of EEA nationals living in the UK. However, it's crucial to note that the BRC has been phased out. It is no longer possible to apply for an EEA BRC; applicants must now apply for the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for these applications was June 30, 2021, with potential exceptions for eligible late submissions. Hence, the main difference between the two lies in the recipient'srelationship with the EEA national and the recent phasing out of the BRC.

Troubleshooting:Lost Or Damaged Cards

Despite the importance of maintaining the condition of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), there may be instances where the card is lost, damaged,or stolen, necessitating immediate action to ensure continued legal status inthe UK. Similar measures apply to a Biometric Residence Card (BRC).

In such circumstances, it is essential to follow a specific set ofsteps.

1.        Report the missing ordamaged card: BRPs should be reported within three months to avoid penalties, including potential deportation.

2.        Apply for a replacement: If you're within the UK, request a replacement for the lost,stolen, or damaged card to maintain your legal status.

3.        Understand the procedures: The ways of handling lost, stolen, or damaged cards differ basedon your location and specific conditions.

4.        Keep a copy: Always have a photocopy of your last BRP card or BRC. This will facilitate the process of applying for a replacement in case the card is lost or damaged.

Lastly, if there are errors on the card, report them within 10 daysto apply for a corrected card. Maintaining the validity and accuracy of thesecards is crucial for your residence status in the UK.

Changes In Circumstances: BRP Vs. BRC

Regularly updating your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) orBiometric Residence Card (BRC) is crucial, as any change in circumstances mustbe promptly reported to the relevant UK immigration authorities. This is because these cards serve as proof of your immigration status and right to live or work in the UK.

For BRP holders, changes in personal circumstances or details should be notified either through the online service or by directly contacting UK Visas and Immigration. Conversely, BRC holders must promptly inform the Home Office of any alterations in their personal details or circumstances. This distinction in procedures is is based on the individual's immigration status and the visa conditions associated with it.

Failure to promptly report these changes may have serious consequences. Not only can it impact the validity of your BRP or BRC, but it may also affect your legal status in the UK. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to keep both BRPs and BRCs up-to-date with accurate information toavoid any potential legal or immigration issues. Keep in mind that the responsibility of maintaining accurate records lies with the holder of the BRP or BRC.

Future Outlook For Biometric Residencies

With the increasing responsibility of maintaining accurate records on biometric residencies, the future promises intriguing developments,particularly in terms of technological advancements and digital integration. This evolution is driven by the need for enhanced security, efficient verification processes, and accurate data management.

1.        Technological advancements: Future biometric residencies will feature more sophisticated security systems, including improved biometric data capturing and encryption methods to safeguard against identity fraud.

2.        Digital integration: Biometric residence permits and cards are anticipated to integrate more with digital systems, allowing for quicker and more efficient verification processes. This will streamline immigration application procedures for both individuals and government agencies.

3.        Increased use of biometricdata: The use of biometric data in residency documents will increase, offering enhanced border control and more effective combat against identity fraud.

4.        Multi-functionalcapabilities: Future developments may focus on creating biometric residence cards and documents with multi-functional capabilities,enabling access to various government services. This will not only benefit theholder but also improve the efficiency of government agencies.

Frequently AskedQuestions

What Is TheDifference Between A BRP And A Brc?

A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is issued to non-EEA foreign nationals livingin the UK, while a Biometric Residence Card (BRC) is given to non-EEA nationalsrelated to EEA citizens residing in the UK.

What Is TheDifference Between BRP And ARC Card?

A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) verifies immigration status for non-EEAnationals in the UK, while an Application Registration Card (ARC) isspecifically for asylum seekers and their dependents, providing a form ofidentification.

Is My BRP A Residence Permit?

Yes, your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is indeed a biometric residence permit valid here. It is a document that proves your immigration status, right to live, work in the UK, and potentially access public funds.

Is Biometric Residence Card Still Valid?

The Biometric Residence Card (BRC) is no longer issued to new UK residents but remains valid for current holders and applicants of the EU Settlement Scheme. BRC holders are advised to transition to the EU Settlement Scheme or apply fora replacement BRP now.


In conclusion, the distinction betweena Biometric Residence Permit and a Biometric Residence Card lies primarily intheir issuance and purpose.

While both provide proof of immigration status, the BRP caters to foreign nationals asserting rights to stay, work, orstudy in the UK, while the BRC is for non-EEA family members of EEA nationalsresiding in the UK.

These differences reflect the complexity of theUK's immigration process and underscore the importance of understanding thesenuances

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