Biometric Residence Permits & Proof of ILR

brp ilr


If you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK, you can use your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) as a document to confirm both your identity and your immigration status.

If you have obtained indefinite leave to remain but do not have a BRP, a No Time Limit (NTL) application can be made to transfer ILR to a BRP.


What is a biometric residence permit?

The BRP is similar in size and form to an identity card or a photo driving licence and displays the following information:

  • your name
  • date and place of birth
  • biometric information (fingerprints and passport-style photo)
  • immigration status
  • conditions of your stay in the UK
  • whether you may apply for public funds, such as benefits and healthcare


Your BRP can be used to confirm your identity.

Where you are eligible to access public funds, you may confirm this by showing your BRP.

It is a legal requirement that your BRP should show accurate information so you must ensure that it is kept up to date, reporting any changes such as your address to the Home Office.

If your BRP is lost, stolen or damaged, you must again report this to the Home Office and apply for a replacement. If you do not apply for a replacement within 3 months, you may face a fine of up to £1,000.


Do you need a BRP if you have ILR?

ILR holders are not obligated to have a BRP, but it can be beneficial for a number of reasons. It offers a widely-recognised form of identification and proof of UK rights, and can be used to travel in and out of the UK. In addition, the enhanced security features of the BRP far surpass that of the visa vignette, making it more difficult to be used fraudulently. You cannot, however, use a BRP as proof of right to work in the UK.

You can prove that you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK by presenting your passport or your biometric residence permit.

It is not possible to get a BRP if you made your application to stay in the UK using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app to prove your identity.

If you do not yet have a BRP to prove your ILR status, you can make an NTL application. There is no time limit imposed on making this application, provided you have ILR status. Typically, the NTL application is made when:

  • The ILR holder’s passport containing their ILR or NTL endorsement has been lost, stolen or has expired.
  • The ILR holder does not have official documentary evidence of their immigration status.
  • The ILR holder has legally changed their identity since the grant of ILR.
  • The ILR holder is settled in the UK but without documentary proof of their status.
  • The ILR holder wishes to replace their passport vignette with a BRP to use as proof status.


To be eligible for an NTL BRP,  you must hold valid ILR (or indefinite leave to enter (ILE)), in the UK. You cannot have lost your ILR status, for example through extended absence from the UK, and you must continue to be entitled to ILR.

NTL applications are not available to EU citizens with UK permanent residence, pre settled or full settled status.


Applying to transfer ILR to a BRP

Applications for NTL must be made online and in the UK using the NTL application form. There is no fee for an NTL application.

To apply, you will need to submit a document proving your identity, such as a passport, driving licence or national identity card, along with evidence that you hold valid ILR, such as your passport with ILR endorsement.

You will also need to submit your biometric information – fingerprints and photograph. This detail will be stored on the actual card.

There is no right of appeal against the Home Office’s decision on your application, since an NTL application is not considered an immigration decision.


New BRPs expiring 2024

New BRPs are now only being issued with a validity period until 31 December 2024, regardless of whether the individual’s status or permission continues after this date. This is because, under UK government plans for the new eVisa system, immigration permission is to be evidenced through online status only with effect from 1 January 2025.


Need assistance?

If you have any questions about any aspect of ILR – eligibility, making an application, reapplying following a refusal, loss of status – DavidsonMorris can help.

We are specialists in UK immigration, settlement and nationality. Contact us for specialist advice.

Last updated: 16 January 2024


Founder and Managing Director Anne Morris is a fully qualified solicitor and trusted adviser to large corporates through to SMEs, providing strategic immigration and global mobility advice to support employers with UK operations to meet their workforce needs through corporate immigration.

She is a recognised by Legal 500and Chambers as a legal expert and delivers Board-level advice on business migration and compliance risk management as well as overseeing the firm’s development of new client propositions and delivery of cost and time efficient processing of applications.

Anne is an active public speaker, immigration commentator, and immigration policy contributor and regularly hosts training sessions for employers and HR professionals

About DavidsonMorris

As employer solutions lawyers, DavidsonMorris offers a complete and cost-effective capability to meet employers’ needs across UK immigration and employment law, HR and global mobility.

Led by Anne Morris, one of the UK’s preeminent immigration lawyers, and with rankings in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners, we’re a multi-disciplinary team helping organisations to meet their people objectives, while reducing legal risk and nurturing workforce relations.

Legal Disclaimer

The matters contained in this article are intended to be for general information purposes only. This article does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a complete or authoritative statement of the law, and should not be treated as such. Whilst every effort is made to ensure that the information is correct at the time of writing, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and no liability is accepted for any error or omission. Before acting on any of the information contained herein, expert legal advice should be sought.

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