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Biometric re-use update - February 2021 - IMPORTANT 2021 UPCOMING CHANGES

16 February 2021 – Just useful and interesting UK & EEA Immigration Law news and updates from the Legal Centre – Open 7 days a week - www.legalcentre.org - +44(0)3300010342, +44(0)7791145923 (WhatsApp/Viber)

>>> Biometric re-use update - February 2021 - IMPORTANT 2021 UPCOMING CHANGES

From the Home Office:

"We are planning to reduce the need for foreign nationals who apply to come or extend their stay in the UK from having to attend a biometric enrolment event each time they make an immigration application.

Our current biometric regulations require fingerprints to be destroyed no later than 10 years after they were enrolled, unless other criteria apply, such as the person has indefinite leave, or they are considered to be a high risk category.

The implications are that every time a foreign national applies for a visa or immigration product, they need to attend a VAC to enrol a fresh set of fingerprints.

We will be making new biometric regulations in Spring 2021 to enable us to reuse fingerprints every time a migrant makes a new application.

Fingerprints will continue to be retained until 10 years after the last application.

In addition to making new biometric regulations to enable us to reuse fingerprints every time a migrant makes a new application, we are considering extending the standard fingerprint retention period from 10 to 15 years, which will bring us in line with Canada.

We could bring this in as early as July 2021.

Our strategic aim is to expand biometric reuse to other occasions where migrants engage with the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS), such as on arrival and departure from the UK in addition to when making an application.

This will further reduce the need to for migrants to reenrol their fingerprints.

Our strategic aim is to enrol fingerprints once and reuse them thereafter.

We would like to be able to enrol the biometrics as part of the application and retain them for as long as the person is in the UK.

We will start the clock for deletion whenever a migrant leaves the UK.

If the migrant returns to the UK we will restart the process and store the fingerprints while the person remains in the UK.

Fingerprints will only be deleted if the person does not return or make an application to return to the UK after 10/15 years.

We are developing our end to end border and immigration system to be “digital by default” for all migrants, including evidence of immigration status.

For biometrics, this means allowing foreign nationals to upload a new facial image whether they make a new application which will be biometrically checked against the image we already hold on our records.

Migrants’ digital status will be linked to their facial image, which they will use to prove their status in the UK.

We aim to reduce the occasions migrants need to attend a Visa Application Centre, not just for enrolling biometrics but also for producing documentation.

We see a world where more applicants are able to apply for our immigration and citizenship services from the comfort of their home or place of work."

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NB: Physical BRC/BRP are expected to be phased out from 2025.
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