UK immigration introduces new rules regarding biometrics

March 27, 2015 - 

The UK government announced its new rules for managing fingerprints, facial images and biometric information, which will be enforced beginning April 6, according to a report by Expat Forum.

It will now be mandatory for all individuals who are registering or naturalising as a British Citizen to submit their biometric information as part of their application.

This includes non-European Economic Area nationals applying for a residence card, derivative residence card or permanent residence card.

According to UK immigration officials, the new rules are intended to help align existing legislation and reinforce checks for those applying to stay in the UK.

Additionally, it will make it easier to verify people’s identities, for individuals to prove their status in the UK and for the Home Office to identify those individuals who are residing in the UK illegally.

All applicants who are already in the UK will have to visit a Post Office where their biometrics can be taken, which will be detailed in their enrolment letter.

Additionally, those individuals applying from overseas will need to enrol their biometrics at a biometric enrolment centre, such as a Visa Application Centre, or travel to the UK and enrol their biometrics at a UK Post Office.

Those applicants who are successfully approved for citizenship status will receive a biometric residence card (RC). Similar in design to the biometric residence permit (BRP), the RC is the size of a credit card and contains the individual’s name, date of birth and nationality, status in the UK and a photograph.

“The RC is different to a BRP, which are issued to certain non-EEA nationals who are subject to immigration control,” said a spokesperson. “RCs are issued to non-EEA nationals who have a right of residence in the UK under European Union law.”

Fingerprint data will be kept on file for up to 10 years. However, in cases where an individual is considered to pose a threat to the UK or for those who are permanently settled in the UK, information will be stored for immigration or nationality purposes.

Once an individual attains British citizenship, their biometric data will be deleted, while their photographs will be retained until they receive their first British passport.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.