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What is an e-Visa?

What is an eVisa?

e-Visas are a crucial part of the UK’s plan to create a fully digital border and immigration system by 2025. This transition is already in progress, with millions of UK residents having obtained an e-Visa through the EU Settlement Scheme or the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app. e-Visas offer significant benefits, including enhanced security, efficiency, and convenience for migrants.

An e-Visa is a digital record of a person’s immigration status, accessible through the ‘View and prove your immigration status’ service using a UKVI account. Typically linked to a passport, it simplifies international travel and eliminates the need for physical documents like biometric residence permits (BRPs) or visa stickers.

The Home Office is implementing e-Visas in phases. Initially, BRP holders are invited via email to create a UKVI account linked to their e-Visa (BB to link this article What Employers need to know about Biometric Residence Permits – Clarkslegal LLP), with the service expanding to all BRP holders by summer 2024. Those who receive an invitation should follow the provided instructions, while others need not take action until the full rollout.

The process of creating a UKVI account to access your e-Visa is free and straightforward, ensuring that existing immigration status and rights remain unchanged. Users can securely share their e-Visa information with third parties, enhancing both convenience and security in their interactions with the UK immigration system.

Benefits of e-Visas

e-Visas aim to offer significant benefits, including:

  • They cannot be lost, stolen, or damaged
  • Users can instantly, accurately, and securely prove their rights to work and/or rent in the UK, sharing only necessary information
  • e-Visas reduce the need to leave passports with the Home Office, and eliminate the need to collect or wait for documents like BRPs
  • Through a UKVI account, users can easily update their details or documentation, such as changes to name, nationality, passport, email, phone, or address

e-Visas also simplify access to UK government services and benefits, as departments like the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS can securely check immigration status automatically.

Additionally, employers and landlords can easily verify immigration status online, avoiding the complexities and risks associated with physical documents. More customers with UKVI accounts mean quicker and simpler checks using the secure online service.

Monica Mastropasqua

Paralegal

View profile

+44 20 7539 8021

e-Visas also simplify access to UK government services and benefits, as departments like the Department for Work and Pensions and the NHS can securely check immigration status automatically.

e-Visas timeline

By the end of 2024, all migrants using physical immigration documents will be asked to create a UKVI account to access their e-Visa, the digital proof of immigration status. This shift, already in place for millions, including those under the EU Settlement Scheme, aims to streamline the process and improve security.

Since April 2024, BRP holders began receiving phased email invitations with instructions to create a UKVI account. This rollout will extend to all BRP holders by summer 2024. If you haven’t received an email yet, there’s no need to contact the Home Office, as the process will soon be available to everyone at www.gov.uk/evisa.

Those with other physical immigration documents, like passports with visa stickers or biometric residence cards, can already begin transitioning to eVisas by following instructions at www.gov.uk/evisa. This ensures a smoother, more secure way to prove immigration status and access services without relying on physical documents.

International travels

For international travels, visa holders are advised to still carry their valid physical immigration documents when traveling internationally. Those with e-Visas should update their UK Visas and Immigration account with their intended travel document through the ‘Update your UK Visas and Immigration account details’ service on www.gov.uk/update-uk-visas-immigration-account-details. 

The Home Office is working to enable carriers, such as airlines and international train operators, to automatically access passengers’ immigration status when presenting their linked travel document. This streamlines checks and enhances border security, providing a smoother customer journey.

Although the UK government is advancing towards a digital border and immigration system, there are no immediate plans to replace physical passports with digital versions. However, carriers operating across air, rail, and sea will soon have secure access to passenger immigration information, with further details to follow.

Regarding children, parents or guardians are expected to manage their UKVI account and online services until the child reaches maturity. They can create a UKVI account for their child simultaneously with their own and later transfer ownership and access rights.

These measures aim to improve border security, streamline travel processes, and provide convenience for passengers while ensuring children’s immigration status is effectively managed by their parents or guardians.

As we navigate the complexities of ongoing immigration changes, it’s clear that the road ahead is filled with twists and turns. This article merely scratches the surface of a topic undergoing continuous developments. In the next months leading to 2025, we expect significant shifts that will shape the landscape of UK immigration. Keep a close eye on our page for invaluable insights and up-to-date information.

FAQs
  • The expiry of a physical document (e.g., BRP) does not affect ones immigration status
  • From 2025, proof of status will shift to online services requiring a UKVI account.
  • BRP holders need to create a UKVI account for their eVisa unless their leave expires before 31 December 2024
  • If the BRP expires before 31 December 2024, you should renew your visa if your leave expires at that time.

You should apply for a replacement BRP; this will also expire on 31 December 2024, if your leave extends beyond 2024. However, a replacement BRP will enable you to create a UKVI account.

  • From 2025, status proof will be digital. BRP holders should create a UKVI account before their BRP expires.
  • Mechanisms will be in place to prove rights while transitioning to eVisas.
  • Holders of indefinite leave evidenced by stamps or stickers should apply for ‘No Time Limit’ status
  • Successful applicants will receive a BRP, transitioning to eVisas by end of 2024

About this article

Monica Mastropasqua

Paralegal

View profile

+44 20 7539 8021

About this article

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