Home Office begins introduction of eVisas scheme

The Home Office has started the introduction of eVisas, which will be implemented for nearly all visa holders living in the UK by 2025.

From Wednesday (April 17), the Home Office will begin to send emails to all those with physical immigration documents, called biometric residence permits (BRPs), inviting them to create a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account to access their eVisa, a digital proof of their immigration status.

The Home Office said in a statement: “Millions are being invited to switch from physical immigration documents to an eVisa – a key step in creating a modernised and digital border.”

Invitations will be issued in phases before the process opens to all BRP holders in summer 2024.

The Home Office added: “EVisas are central to making the UK safer by reducing the risk of fraud, loss and abuse of physical documents, strengthening border security, and providing a more secure way to prove immigration status.

“This will pave the way for increased automation to deliver the government’s vision for a contactless border.”

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Tom Pursglove MP, the minister for legal migration and the border, 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 Home Office said that eVisas bring “substantial benefits” to the UK public and to visa customers.

“They are secure, and, unlike a physical document, cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with,” it said.

“They can be accessed anywhere and in real time, putting customers in control of their own data and allowing them to swiftly update the Home Office with new contact or passport details.

“An eVisa is securely linked with the holder’s unique biometric information in the same way as a BRP or BRC, to protect against identity fraud.”

Most physical documents, such as biometric residence permits or cards (BRPs or BRCs), are being gradually phased out, with most BRPs expiring at the end of 2024.

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.

And customers should continue to carry their in-date physical immigration documents with them when they travel internationally, until they expire.

Physical immigration documents will be gradually phased out by 2025, as the UK government transitions to a fully digital border and immigration system for new and existing customers.

The government has already introduced the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme. ETA is a digital permission to travel to the UK for those wanting to visit but who do not need a visa.

Picture by FTiare/Shutterstock

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