The Transition from BRP to eVisas: Everything You Need to Know

9 Minutes

As an international doctor living and working in the UK, you must go through a couple of crucial processes to get through borders and prove your immigration status. Up until now, that has involved having a physical BRP card, which you can show to employers and landlords that you have the right to live and work in the UK.

That’s all changing. 

You may have noticed that your BRP card expires on 31st December 2024, even if your leave to remain is after this date. Don’t worry – this isn’t a glitch in the system and does not mean your right to leave has changed! It’s all because of the UK’s plan to move from BRPs to eVisas by 2025. In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about this change, including what it means for you.  

What is a BRP card?

BRP stands for biometric residence permits. It’s a physical document introduced in 2008 as a way for immigrants to the UK to prove their identity and right to live and work in a simple and secure manner. The document itself has information like the name and age of the individual, as well as biometric information. In the case of the BRP card, this means an image of the face and fingerprints. The use of biometric information is to deter things like identity fraud and immigration abuse.

BRP are given to those who have been granted a visa for 6 months or more, Once you have received your visa, you will be given instructions on where to collect your BRP from. The card is often collected from a UK postal address. As an international doctor working in the UK, you will have done this when you first arrived as part of your relocation process and have been able to use your BRP card since to prove your immigration status.

What is an eVisa?

An eVisa is much like the BRP card, only all the information is online. It’s a digital document that holds all the essential information regarding your visa status and is linked to the individual’s passport. The information includes name, date of birth, and biometric details.

Why does my BRP card expire in December 2024?

Many people will notice that their BRP card expires on 31st December 2024, even though their leave to remain goes beyond this date. It isn’t because your right to live or work in the UK ends in December 2024 – instead, it’s because the UK is phasing out physical cards with a plan to replace them with digital eVisas. They plan to have this completed by the end of 2025. Tom Pursglove, the Minister for Legal Migration and the Border, has said:

“We’ve already taken really significant steps to digitally transform the border and immigration system, and this wider rollout of eVisas is a key part of that process.

Replacing physical immigration documents with eVisas will ensure firm control over who comes here to live, work or study, strengthening border security and preventing abuse of the immigration system, while delivering cost savings for UK taxpayers.”

The driving force behind this change is that the Home Office is working towards a digital system, which creates a more sophisticated and secure visa system overall. This plan has been a few years in the making – it started when the EU asked for all EU members to get on board with the next-generation encryption technology by 2025. After Brexit happened, the Home Office decided to create a fully digital border for the UK.

Does this Impact My Visa Duration?

No, the transition from BRP cards to eVisas does not affect anyone’s visa duration, so you don’t have to worry about that. Once you complete the switch, your eVisa should hold the same information as your old BRP card.

Does this Include Dependant Visas?

The plan is for all visas in the UK to be fully digital, which means that, yes, the change includes dependant visas. If you have family members with you, they’ll need to go through the same process as you to switch from their BRP card to the eVisas. We’ll go over exactly what that entails a little further down (don’t worry – it’s not complicated).

What if Mine Expires Before December 2024?

If your BRP expires before 31st December 2024, you’ll need to apply to a new BRP as you usually would. It will be the exact same process you’ve used before.

You should also consider that you may be eligible for British citizenship. British citizenship is open to people over the age of 18 who have lived in the UK for at least five years (or three years for those who are married to a British citizen). This process differs from getting a BRP card; for example, you’ll need to take a Life in the UK test.

How do I get an eVisa?

You will receive an email from the address “” The title of the email will be “Important information about your BRP and changes to the UK immigration system.” This is a very important email – the one that shows you exactly how to transition from the BRP card to the eVisa.

Within the email, there will be clear information on how to create a UKVI account. You’ll need to follow these instructions and then link your passport to your eVisa for smooth travel in and out of the UK.

When Will I Receive My Email?

The emails will be sent out in waves during the upcoming months. You will likely receive an email during the summer of 2024, and you can then follow the instructions to create a UKVI account and begin using your eVisa to prove your immigration status.

Some patience is required here – there are a lot of visa holders to get through, so you might have to wait a little while before receiving yours. Don’t worry; you don’t need to do anything before then, and you will certainly receive the email before December 2024 (assuming your email details are up to date). If you are worried that your email hasn’t arrived yet, you can check your junk mail, as it may have ended up there.

Is it Possible to Already Hold an eVisa?

Yes, many people already have and are using an eVisa. They have been rolled out by the Home Office for a couple of years, and you will know if you already have one. If you don’t, you can expect the email showing you how to get yours to come through within the next couple of months.

How do I Use my eVisa?

It’s incredibly straightforward to use your eVisa once you have one! All you need to do is sign into your UKVI account, and your digital proof of immigration and right-to-work status will be there. Once you have it, you can use it to prove your immigration status to landlords, employers, and border force officers.

It should be noted that the home office says you must keep your BRP card until it expires to use when travelling.

There’s No Need to Panic

Any new change in the immigration and visa system can cause panic. In the case of switching from BRP to eVisas, there’s no reason to be worried, as the transition will not affect your right to live or work in the UK. The process is refreshingly simple, too, and will even make proving your immigration status much easier going forward.

As mentioned, you don’t even need to do anything until you receive the email to create your UKVI account. Until then, you can relax and use your BRP card as you usually would. Once you receive the email, the process for switching to an eVisa will be simple, and you’ll find proving your immigration status to be just as easy (if not easier).

The Benefits of an eVisa

It’s the decision of the Home Office to implement the change from physical documents to eVisas. These benefits may help you understand why it’s going forward, not just in the UK but in multiple countries around the world:

It Saves Time

An electronic visa saves tons of time. The application process is much quicker, as people don’t need to wait or travel to a post office to collect their physical documents; instead, it’s all available online. It also makes travelling faster as there won’t be as much queuing when passing through airport systems.

It’s Easily Accessible

Digital visas are far more convenient than any physical document. You can access it any time you have access to the internet. Whenever you need to prove your immigration status, all you’ll need to do is sign into your UKVI account.

It Won’t be Lost or Stolen

One of the more significant benefits of a digital visa is that it cannot be physically lost or stolen – which unfortunately happens often with BRP cards! With the visa being completely online, there’s no chance you will lose it, as you will be able to access it from anywhere with internet access. Overall, this makes it far more secure.

As you can see, the switch benefits both the Home Office and the holders of visas.

What Happens if I Don’t Apply for an eVisa?

Everyone should apply for an eVisa before 31st December 2024, and you will receive an email before then detailing exactly how to do so. If you don’t do this, you won’t have evidence of your right to work or live in the UK, so you won’t be able to prove it to your employer or landlord. While there will be a transitional period, it’s really important that you follow the guidelines in the email you receive.

What do I do with an Old BRP Card?

If you have an expired BRP card, you should return it to the UK Visas and Immigration. To do this, you’ll need to cut the card in half, place it in an envelope, and send it to the appropriate address.

Do You Need Support for Your BRP Card?

Right now, you still need to use your BRP card, assuming you haven’t already switched to an eVisa. If your BRP card expires before December 2024, you may need to apply for a new one. So, what happens if there’s a problem with your new BRP card? Are there still services that allow you to report it?

Yes. It’s easy to report a problem with your BRP card; you just need to report it online within ten days of receiving the card. If you don’t report the problem within those ten days, you’ll likely have to reapply and pay for a new card. Find out how to report a problem here.  

What about if your BRP card is lost or stolen? In this case, you’ll need to report it as such from within the UK. From there, the Home Office will contact you with the steps to replace your BRP card. You can go here to learn more about how to do this. In the meantime, you can prove your immigration status in other ways if you need to.

BRP Cards to eVisas: In Summary

The Home Office has been transitioning from BRP cards to eVisas for quite some time now, and 2024 is the year everyone with visas will make the change. As a BRP card holder with an expiration date of December 2024, you will receive an email during 2024 with all the information you need about switching from the BRP card to the eVisa. It will be a simple process that involves signing up for UKVI, and you’ll need to complete it before December 2024 to prove you can still live and work in the UK.

At BDI Resourcing, we assist doctors moving to the UK with all the crucial steps and processes, from visa applications to recruitment. We believe it doesn’t have to be complicated. If you’re a BRP card holder and want some assistance understanding the switch from BRP to eVisas, we are here to help. Get in touch with our friendly team with any questions you have!