The UK Border Agency has announced that they are today laying regulations before Parliament which will result in almost all visa applications becoming ‘Biometric’.

If a visa application is ‘Biometric’, the applicant is required to give their fingerprints and have a photo taken as part of the application process. Any dependants (partner and child/ren) will also need to attend a Biometric enrolment centre to give their fingerprints and have a photo taken.

Several visa applications are already ‘Biometric’, such as Tier 1 and Tier 2 applications, Transfer of Conditions applications and Spouse visa applications.

The UK Border Agency wants to extend the ‘Biometric’ requirement to all visa types issued from inside the UK, where the visa will have a validity of 6 months or more.

These changes will likely be introduced from 29th February 2012 and mean that applicants will be required to attend a Biometric enrolment centre to give their Biometric data as part of the visa application process.

The main application that these changes will affect is Indefinite Leave to Remain. Currently, ILR applicants are not required to give their fingerprints or have a photo taken. This means that we can submit applications on behalf of our clients without them attending the appointment at all. At present, we can use one of our pre-booked appointments on a Wednesday or Friday to make an application on our clients’ behalf, and the application is considered and the decision made without the client ever needing to attend in person. This will no longer be possible once ILR has become ‘Biometric’.

Further, our previous experience with applications that have become ‘Biometric’ suggests that once ILR changes in this way, there will be a significant reduction in the number of premium appointments available to applicants.

In addition, once Indefinite Leave to Remain becomes a ‘Biometric’ application, applicants will no longer be issued with a sticker in their passport showing their new ILR status. They will instead receive a separate Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which is a credit card sized ID card. There will no longer be any indication in the person’s passport of their status in the UK. This means that the individual will need to present their passport and their BRP card together whenever they are required to prove they have a valid visa – at the border or to a potential employer, for example. If the applicant loses their BRP card, an application must be made for a replacement, which incurs a further cost.

If you would like to make your Indefinite Leave to Remain application under the current system, with the advantages of:

  • UK WP attending the appointment on your behalf;
  • Appointment availability at short notice; and
  • Receiving a sticker in your passport showing your ILR status,

You will need to apply before the changes are introduced on 29th February 2012.

We have a number of pre-booked appointments on Wednesday and Fridays, which we can use for Indefinite Leave to Remain applications. We usually have an available Premium Same Day appointment within 1 – 2 weeks. If you’d like to find out if you’re eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, please contact us.