Changes to visa process for applicants travelling to the UK for more than 6 months
As of 31 May 23015 new regulations require non-EEA nationals, seeking permission from overseas to enter the UK for more than six months, to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
Once these regulations come into force, the UK will then be fully compliant with the EC Regulation that requires Member States, when granting leave for more than six months, to issue a standard format residence permit document which is to be the sole evidence of leave.
Introducing this requirement to overseas applicants to Oman/for Omani nationals builds on the first stage of compliance with the EC Regulation which was completed in 2012, where non-EEA nationals were required to apply for a BRP when granted leave to extend their stay in the UK for a period exceeding six months. To date the Home Office has issued around 1.8million BRPs under the in-country application process.
The visa application procedure will remain largely unchanged except that instead of having a visa vignette affixed to the travel document showing the full leave period granted, there will be a short validity “travel” vignette that will allow the applicant to travel to the UK and to collect their BRP. Successful applicants will receive a letter informing them of the decision, which will also include notification that they must collect their BRP from the designated Post Office branch within 10 days of arrival in the UK. The visa fee is not being increased as a result of the introduction of overseas applications for a BRP.
Will this affect me?
The change will only affect non-EEA nationals travelling to the UK for more than six months, such as those applying for a points-based system, or settlement visa. If you are applying to go on holiday or on a short business or study trip, using a visit visa, you will not need a BRP. If you are applying for, or already have a long-term visit visa, valid for 1,2,5 or 10 years, you will not be affected by the change and can continue to use your visa as normal.
How do I apply for a visa from 31 May?
The application process is largely the same. If you want to go to the UK for more than six months, you will be asked for additional information when you complete your online visa application, which will include the postcode of your new address in the UK. Make sure you enter your postcode accurately as the collection point for your BRP will be selected based on this information. The main difference is that when you arrive in the UK, you will need to go to a post office to collect your residence permit.
Will there be an additional cost?
No, there is no additional fee and the visa application fee remains the same.
I’m not sure what date I will travel to the UK, what should I do?
Make sure you know the date you will travel to the UK before you apply. Your temporary visa will only be valid for 30 days once you receive it and you will need to travel within this period. If you receive your temporary visa sticker, and can’t travel during the 30 day window, you will need to apply for a replacement.
What can I use the BRP for?
The purpose of the BRP is to provide evidence your immigration status. You will not need to carry it at all times, but you will need to show it to demonstrate your entitlement to work or to access public services.
What happens if I decide to change my travel date after I receive my 30 day passport sticker?
If the short term visa has expired or will expire before you travel then you will need to apply for a replacement (please note that you do not have to start the visa application process again). The letter you receive with your visa decision will explain how to replace your temporary visa.
How will I know where to collect my BRP?
When you apply for your visa you will be asked for the first part of the postcode of your new address. Make sure you enter your postcode accurately as the collection point for your BRP will be selected based on this information. You will be given the details of the post office when you receive your decision letter.
Why is this change being introduced?
The change is to meet EC Regulations, which require Member States, when granting leave for more than six months, to issue a standard format residence permit document. Full guidance on BRPS is available here