Date updated: Friday 26th April 2024

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are due to replace physical documents to prove immigration and right to work status with a fully digital eVisa system by 31 December 2024.

The way visas are issued has changed over time, meaning there are currently different ways that a non-British person living in the UK may prove their immigration status. They may have a visa and hold a biometric residence permit (BRP) or a biometric residence card (BRC), or they may have a physical ink-stamp/sticker/vignette in their passport showing they are settled in the UK. All these people must take active steps to obtain a UKVI account and eVisa by 31 December 2024, or they will be unable to travel or prove their right to work or rent in the UK.

We highlighted this issue in our January article on the Home Office’s digitisation strategy, and it is now possible to watch an online immigration status help video, as so many are unaware that UKVI registration is an essential part of the eVisa transition and requires action from individuals. Employers should ensure this message reaches as many of their people as possible to avoid travel chaos around Christmas and New Year 2024/2025.

An “eVisa” is an online, digital record of an individual’s immigration status and the conditions of their right to live and work in the UK. EVisas are secure, can be issued quickly, and allow streamlined status checks for employers and landlords (whereas physical documents can be lost, stolen or tampered with, take more time and money to produce, and can be confusing).

However, individuals need to have a UKVI account to be able to show their immigration status using an eVisa. They will face issues at the UK border after 31 December 2024 if they do not take active steps to set up a UKVI account ahead of this deadline. They will also still continue to need to travel with their physical passport(s) in addition to the eVisa.

Step 1: Once instructed by the UKVI this year, you must create a UKVI account and input your passport ID and contact details – the account is free but the individual must take action to set it up and keep it updated, it will not be created automatically. You will be unable to travel after 31 December 2024 if this UKVI account has not been set up by that deadline. The Home Office should contact you with instructions on how to create the UKVI account – sign up for updates to keep track of when registration opens.

Step 2: Your eVisa will be linked to your UKVI account – your eVisa sets out information about your immigration status including type of permission, when it expires, and your conditions of stay in the UK. It can be checked here via the view and prove service.

Step 3: Generate a share code to prove your right to work to your employer or right to rent to your landlord, as required on the view and prove service, whenever you need to, for example when starting a new job, or moving house.  

You should be contacted, either by email or in your visa decision letter, by the UKVI before 31 December 2024 with instructions on how to create a UKVI account. If you have been contacted, do not delay in setting up the UKVI account ahead of the deadline. If you have not yet been contacted, sign up for updates to keep track of when registration opens.

If you have indefinite leave to enter or remain, i.e. are settled in the UK, depending on how long ago this status was granted, you may have a wet-ink stamp or a sticker/vignette in your passport. In order to transition to an eVisa and travel after 31 December 2024, you should make a ‘no time limit’ (NTL) application to generate a BRP, and then use the BRP to create a UKVI account to link to an eVisa. Despite the number of people living in the UK who settled prior to BRPs being rolled out, the UKVI has still not contacted them to notify them of this registration requirement and active steps they need to take.

If you are registered under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), you will already have a UKVI account and an eVisa. There is nothing further you need to do ahead of the eVisa transition date of 31 December 2024.

Biometric residence cards are no longer valid now the UK has left the EU, and holders must be granted status under the EUSS or another visa category, or obtain a British passport. 

In short, nothing. British and Irish citizens do not need to set up a UKVI account or obtain an eVisa – they should continue to use your passport to prove their status in the UK.

If you are a dual national, i.e. a British citizen and a national of another country (other than Ireland), or you have the right of abode in the UK, you may need to register for a UKVI account – sign up for updates to keep track of when registration opens.