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Lost Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) Cards & Passports

It is important to keeping your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card safe together with your passport when traveling abroad and in the UK.

Remember your BRP card is your Tier 4 visa: if you lose it you have no way to show you are legally here in the UK and you cannot re-enter the UK without it.

The standard processing time is eight weeks. You can choose the Super Priority service if you need your application to be processed more quickly. This costs £685.20 (including biometrics) and you usually receive a decision on your application the day after your appointment, with your BRP following in the post.

If you need the Student Support team to check your online application, please book an appointment to see the international student advisor via student support moodle or email student-support@rca.ac.uk.

How to Avoid Losing your BRP Card

  • Store your passport and BRP (as well as other valuables) in the safest place. This is your judgement. You may choose to leave your documents in the safe in your hotel room or the safety of your home. Or you may prefer to carry your passport and BRP with you (not recommended). If you do, make sure they are hidden away (for example inside zipped pockets in jackets or bags) and avoid taking them out. 
  • You can apply for alternative Proof of Age ID with Totum (NUS). This is an officially recognised UK proof of age ID card that you can use in the UK while you keep your passport and BRP card safe at home.
  • Scan your passport and BRP and upload copies in different devices or store them online before you travel.  So even in the worst case scenario that some of your belongings are stolen/lost, you would still be able to access the copies somewhere else.

What to Do if You Lose Your Passport and BRP Card in the UK/Abroad 

Losing your passport/BRP card in the UK

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must do the following:

 1.    Inform the police

  • You can do this by visiting your local police station or making a report online. You will need to fill in a form explaining what happened and you will be issued with a crime reference number. Make sure you keep these details somewhere safe, as you will need them to get a new passport. If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost or stolen, you must also report the loss or theft to the UK Visas & Immigration as soon as possible.  Report and replace your lost or stolen BRP card.

2.    Contact your embassy

  • Contact your embassy in London to apply for a replacement passport. You may need to supply your crime reference number. Please contact your embassy or go on their website. You may be required to complete an application and take it to the embassy to submit in person

3.    Notify the College and the Police Nationalities Unit (if applicable)

  • Please let the College's registry team know of any changes in your passport by going to the Registry and inform them so that they can update your student record. If applicable, you must also update UK Visas & Immigration with your new passport details by filling in a Migrant Change of Circumstances form.
  • You must apply online for another permit. This has to be done within three months of reporting the theft or lossIf you fail to do this, you could face a financial penalty of up to £1,000 or the UK Visas & Immigration may cancel your stay. A new BRP card costs £75.20 (including plus £19.20 for your biometrics). You will need to book an appointment at a UKVCAS centre to give your biometric information and have your passport checked. When you book your appointment, you will also be able to scan and upload your other supporting documents (consent declaration which you download as part of the initial online application form and proof of address). 
  • If your visa condition required you to register with the police. Once you have received your new BRP card you must update your police certificate at your local police station. 

Losing your passport/BRP Card Outside of the UK

If your passport or BRP card is lost or stolen, you must do the following:

1.    Inform the police

  • Contact the local police in the area and they will provide you with a crime reference number or a police report. Make sure you keep these details somewhere safe as you will need them to get a new passport.  If your Biometric Residence Permit is lost or stolen, you must also report the loss or theft to the UK Visas & Immigration immediately.  Report your lost or stolen BRP card.

2.    Contact your embassy

  • Apply for a replacement passport by contacting your embassy in that country. The websites embassy worldwide or embassy.goabroad.com will help you find details of the nearest embassy. Explain to your embassy about what has happened. You may need to supply the police report or crime reference number. They will provide you with guidance on how to get a replacement travel document. Do not travel with a photocopy of your passport.

3.    Apply for a temporary visa to allow you to return to the UK (lost BRP card)

  • You must apply for a single entry visa to return to the UK after you have reported your BRP as lost/stolen. You will need to apply to the local visa application centre in the country which you are in. The cost is £154.

On the online application, you should choose the following options: 

  • Reason for visit – other
  • Visa type – other
  • Visa sub type – Replacement Biometric Residence Permit.

Note: You must not try to travel with a photocopy of your BRP. The border force officers may not permit you entry to the UK without an original visa. This is very risky. Immigration at the border can be subjective and you cannot predict what will happen. 

We are aware of some students (particularly non-visa nationals) who were able to re-enter the UK on Tier 4 by explaining to the Border Force Officer that the BRP was lost while travelling. We know of cases where a Border Force Officer has chosen to stamp the passport and add a note stating that the student is re-entering on Tier 4 without the BRP. However, it is at the discretion of the Border Force Officer and you cannot guarantee anything.

We have also seen cases where a Border Force Officer has chosen to grant entry to the UK as a Standard Visitor (which would not permit you to study, work or access the NHS) and a Border Force Officer can refuse to grant entry to the UK if someone does not possess the correct immigration documentation for the purpose of their visit. 

Furthermore, if you are a visa-national, an airline is likely to refuse to allow you to travel without a visa. 

If you choose to attempt to re-enter the UK without a Tier 4 visa, it is at your own risk. You should carry a scan of your lost BRP and a certificate of registration with you to evidence your immigration and student status. If you are permitted to enter the UK, you should check the stamp very carefully before leaving the UK border. Contact us if you have questions or concerns about your re-entry stamp. 

4.    Replace your BRP card

  • Once you have returned to the UK, you must apply for a replacement BRP within one month of your arrival (and before the expiry date on your temporary visa).
  • You must apply online for another permit. If you fail to do this, you could face a financial penalty of up to £1,000 or the UK Visas & Immigration may cancel your stay. A new BRP card costs £75.20 (including plus £19.20 for your biometrics). You will need to book an appointment at a UKVCAS centre to give your biometric information and have your passport checked. When you book your appointment, you will also be able to scan and upload your other supporting documents (consent declaration which you download as part of the initial online application form and proof of address).

5.     Notify the College and the Police Nationalities Unit (if applicable)

  •  If your visa condition required you to register with the police, once you have received your new BRP card you must update your police certificate at your local police station.  

Travel Safety Tips

  • Keep in touch with your family and friends, and let them know where you are and that you’re safe.
  • Buy travel insurance before your trip (read the terms and conditions carefully as sometimes you have to have been living in the UK for a certain amount of time before you will be insured). This should cover you for replacement valuables and money, as well as for health care if you become ill while you are away.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of money or display expensive items like your phone or camera, or other valuables in public places. 
  • Split your money and cards, and keep them in different places. This way, if something is stolen, you won’t have lost everything.
  • Get a prepaid credit card as an alternative to your direct and credit when abroad. You'll eliminate the worry about theft and overspending as you won't need to carry wads of cash around. You've got the additional perk of preventing ID theft and fraudulent transactions, as prepaid cards work like an electronic travellers' cheque.
  • Make copies of your passport and visa.
  • Be aware of your surroundings, try not to look like a tourist!
  • Use your hotel safe.