The UK government is looking to ditch biometric immigration cards and replace them with digital e-visas

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The UK government is looking to move its immigration system closer to the Australian model with the adoption of e-Visas.

The phasing out of Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) and Biometric Residence Cards (BRC) is expected to be fully complete by December 31 2024.

The adoption of e-Visas will remove the need for physical documents to prove immigration status, as the fully digital documents can be accessed and verified securely online.

 The move towards fully digital borders

BRP and BRC cards are typically issued to those residing in the UK from non-EU countries, such as workers, students and immigrants and their dependents. These documents contain a biometric chip that stores fingerprint and photographic data that can be used to verify the identity of the holder and the authenticity of the document.

All existing BRP documents will expire at the end of December regardless of if a person's immigration status extends beyond this date, however their immigration status will not be affected.

The Home Office has stated that it will provide new information on how to prove immigration status “in early 2024” and that no changes or actions need to be taken by those with leave to remain past the end of the year.

The introduction of e-Visas will mean that immigrants traveling into the UK will only need their current UKVI registered passport, as their e-Visa can be accessed by Border Agents digitally. This is particularly beneficial for security as the absence of a physical card means that it cannot be lost or tampered with, and it will make the UK border more efficient.

e-Visas will make application processing more efficient as applicants will not have to send their passport to a consulate as part of the application process, although in some cases they will still need to provide biometric information in person.

Speaking to BleepingComputer, a Home Office spokesperson said, “E-Visas provide secure confirmation of someone's UK immigration status and make it easier for those who need to check status, such as employers and landlords, via online services.

"Replacing physical immigration documents with e-Visas by 2025 is a key part of the transformation and digitisation of the border and immigration system, delivering enhanced security and cost-savings for the UK public and greater convenience for customers and status checkers."

Any BRP cards that expire or are lost before the deadline will still need to be renewed and replaced using the existing process until the end of the year.

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Benedict Collins
Staff Writer (Security)

Benedict Collins is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Pro covering privacy and security. Before settling into journalism he worked as a Livestream Production Manager, covering games in the National Ice Hockey League for 5 years and contributing heavily to the advancement of livestreaming within the league. Benedict is mainly focused on security issues such as phishing, malware, and cyber criminal activity, but he also likes to draw on his knowledge of geopolitics and international relations to understand the motives and consequences of state-sponsored cyber attacks.

He has a MA in Security, Intelligence and Diplomacy, alongside a BA in Politics with Journalism, both from the University of Buckingham. His masters dissertation, titled 'Arms sales as a foreign policy tool,' argues that the export of weapon systems has been an integral part of the diplomatic toolkit used by the US, Russia and China since 1945. Benedict has also written about NATO's role in the era of hybrid warfare, the influence of interest groups on US foreign policy, and how reputational insecurity can contribute to the misuse of intelligence.

Outside of work Ben follows many sports; most notably ice hockey and rugby. When not running or climbing, Ben can most often be found deep in the shrubbery of a pub garden.