The issue of a valid UK visa in an expired passport has caused problems for numerous people over the past year.
The consultants at Breytenbachs Immigration have had to deal with a number of cases where airlines refused persons to board in such situations. We also received a number of queries from distressed employees whose UK employers did not accept the valid visa in the expired passport as proof of their right to work in the UK.
Expired Passport – UK Home Office Guidance
The official guideline from the Home Office regarding the matter states that a person can still use the valid visa in the expired passport. He/she will, however, have to show the expired passport together with the new passport when travelling.
UK employers can also check a person’s right to work with the UK Employer Checking Service.
Solution for the Expired Passport, Valid Visa Situation
Probably the safest solution is to replace your visa with a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This transfer can be done if you are in the UK.
If you are outside the UK and have an expired passport with a valid visa, it is possible to apply to transfer the UK visa to your new passport.
It is not mandatory for a person to apply for a Biometric Residence Permit where the passport has expired. There are however some benefits of doing so that are listed by the Home Office:
- Enhanced security features of the BRP.
- It proves that a person has the right to work and access certain benefits.
- It will facilitate travel to and from the UK.
Biometric Residence Permits
Fortunately, for newer UK Visa applicants the Biometric Residence Permit is now issued to all applicants.
All successful UK visa applicants, excluding those who apply for visitor visas and EEA Family permits, receive a 30-day vignette in their passports.
The applicant then has 30 days to leave their home country. Once in the UK, they are required to collect the Biometric Residence card or BRP. This card will then, in essence, be the UK visa, settlement, Ancestry, Tier 2 work permit, etc. Once a person applies for Indefinite Leave to Remain, a new Biometric Residence Permit is issued, stating this new status.
In the light of the doubts about the situation that sometimes arise at airports, and with UK employers, Breytenbachs Immigration Consultants highly recommend that persons with expired passports rather apply for a Biometric Residence Permit. This should remove all doubts and ensure peace of mind for the visa holder!
For more information, visit Breytenbachs’ website at www.bic-immigration.com
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