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What do I need to do if my Biometric Residence Permit (‘BRP’) is lost or stolen?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

Have you lost your Biometric Residence Permit Card and are unsure of what to do?

There are several steps you should take urgently.

Step 1: Try to locate your BRP

If you have lost your BRP it’s going to take time, effort and money to replace, so check very carefully to see if you can locate it before you take any further action. If you can't find it, check if it's been handed in anywhere you have recently visited. Check all of the places you believe it might have gone missing, such as your school, your department, your accommodation, stores and cafés, public transportation, or anywhere else you might have had it with you.

Step 2: Contacting the Police

Check with the local police department to see if it has been handed in.

If your BRP was stolen, or you believe it was stolen, report this to the police and request a criminal reference number from them. You may be able to make a report online and get an automatic copy of this.

If you believe you have lost your BRP, ask the police to make a note of it.

If you are not in the UK, report the theft or loss to the local police station in the country you are located in, and again make sure you have a record of reporting it – either a reference number or letter issued by the police.

Step 3: Informing the Home Office

If you are absolutely sure you have lost your BRP, you will need to report this to the Home Office.

When you do this the Home Office will instantly revoke your BRP, so you won't be able to use it if you discover it after reporting it.

How do you get a replacement BRP?

This will depend on where you were when it was lost or stolen, and how much time was remaining on it.

What should you do if your BRP was Lost or Stolen in the UK?

If your BRP was valid for at least another three months when it went missing, you will need to report to the Home Office and apply for a replacement BRP within three months.

If you do not apply for a replacement within three months of losing your BRP, you will face a potential fine of up to £1,000 and could potentially be required to leave the UK.

What do I need to do if my Biometric Residence Permit (‘BRP’) is lost or stolen? If your BRP was only valid for three months or less, the next steps will depend on whether you plan to remain in the UK:

  • If you don't plan to stay in the UK when it expires, you only need to report it as lost or stolen.
  • If you want to leave and return to the UK within 3 months of your visa expiring, you should apply for a replacement BRP.
  • If you want to stay in the UK after your visa expires, apply for a visa extension - if your visa is approved, you will receive a new BRP immediately.

What should you do if your BRP was Lost or Stolen outside the UK?

If your BRP is lost or stolen outside of the UK, you must report it.

You will not be able to get a replacement BRP if you're not in the UK. In order to re-enter the UK you will need to apply for a 'replacement BRP visa'. This will allow you to re-enter the UK only once.

When you return to the UK, you can then apply for a replacement BRP.

Unless you have a reasonable reason, such as being unable to travel to the UK in that period, you must do this within 3 months after reporting it lost or stolen.

If you’ve been abroad for more than two years and have misplaced your papers showing your eligibility to live in the UK, you can apply for a Returning Resident visa.

How long will it take to get a replacement BRP card?

It will standardly take 8 weeks for an application for a replacement BRP to be processed in the UK, though the Home Office do not guarantee to process in this time. You should also allow for another 1-2 weeks for your new BRP to be delivered to you.

An application outside the UK for a ‘replacement BRP visa’ to allow you to return the UK should be processed in 3 weeks.

Priority services may be available to speed up processing times in certain countries, but cannot be guaranteed.

Can I travel outside the UK without a BRP card?

It is inadvisable to travel outside the UK without your BRP as it is proof of your immigration permission and you are normally required to show this in order to travel to, and re-enter, the UK.

If you do travel outside the UK you should apply for a ‘replacement BRP visa’ whilst overseas, as outlined above, to allow you to return to the UK.

UK Border Officers have the discretion to allow entry to the UK on the basis of a passport and a scan or photograph of a missing BRP, but this is not official policy and cannot be guaranteed. If you take the risk of returning to the UK without a replacement BRP visa, you may be refused entry and sent back to the country you travelled from or your country of nationality. Visa nationals without evidence of a visa to enter the UK may not be allowed to board their flight to the UK.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson has extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any queries relating to the blogs published, or are interested in talking to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2021

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