The UK’s Wholly Digital Immigration System

The Home Office are proceeding with their plans to modernise the UK's immigration system by replacing physical documents with online records of immigration status, known as eVisas.

The new system will require migrants to register for a UKVI account, which will allow them to view and share their status, update their personal details, and travel to the UK without a physical document. According to the Home Office, the digital immigration system will be fully operational by 1 January 2025, when physical proof of immigration status, such as biometric residence permits and biometric residence cards will no longer be issued or valid. Migrants who currently have permission to stay in the UK and have a physical document will need to register for a UKVI account before their document expires. Tom Pursglove, the Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery, confirmed that migrants in the UK with biometric residence permits will be able to set up a UKVI account from April 2024.

We also expect that all migrants applying to the Home Office from April 2024 will be able to set up a UKVI account as part of the application process. Currently the Home Office have published guidance regarding the digital system which they will be updating through 2024. The Home Office said that the new system will not affect the immigration status or the conditions of permission to enter or stay in the UK for existing or new migrants.

However, from 1 January 2025 migrants will require a UKVI account to access their eVisa and prove their right to live and work in the UK. The Home Office's announcement of the digital immigration system has received mixed reactions from the sector and the public. Some have welcomed the move as a way to simplify and streamline the immigration system, while others have raised concerns about the potential risks and challenges of the digital system, such as data security, privacy, accessibility and reliability. 

The Government have stated they will be closely monitoring the take up of account creation and will provide updates on the progress and performance of the digital immigration system. Further updates are expected from the Home Office throughout 2024. If you have any questions on how these changes will affect you, or wish to be kept up to date, contact our Immigration team or sign up to our mailing list.

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The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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