Foreign Nationals Biometric Residence Permit FAQs

General FAQs

What is biometric information?

It’s information that can be used to identify you – your photo, your signature and your fingerprints.

You’ll be asked to provide this information as part of your visa or immigration application.

For more information, visit the Home Office website.

What happens when I register my biometric information?

Registering your biometric information should take less than five minutes.

  1. We take a digital photo of your face
  2. We scan your fingers electronically
  3. You write your signature on a digital pad

When it’s done, we send this information electronically to the Home Office. They’ll continue your application for a Biometric Residence Permit.

We’re also aware of the need to protect your dignity, privacy and modesty. If you need special arrangements, just let us know. We’ll be happy to help.

Can children use this service?

Children under 16 years old need to have a responsible adult with them to complete the process.

Only the responsible adult named on the biometric notification letter can accompany the child. If they’re not present, the child won’t be able to register their information.

Children under 6 years old only need to provide a digital photo of their face as the signature and fingerprints are not required.

I don’t have a biometric notification letter from the Home Office. What should I do?

If you never received a letter from the Home Office, you won’t be able to use the service. This is because the letter contains a unique barcode that we need to capture your biometric information.

If you’ve lost your letter, the best thing to do is contact the Home Office directly. Visit their website for more information.

When’s the best time for me to submit my biometric information?

To make things as quick as possible, we suggest you visit us on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday – this is when we’re less busy.

Read our branch list to see if your chosen branch will be especially busy – and if there’s an alternative close by.

How much does it cost?

You need to pay £19.20 for us to record your biometric information and send it to the Home Office.

For some immigration routes there isn’t a fee payable. If you don’t have to pay a fee, it will say in your letter.

What happens to my biometric information?

Once we’ve taken your biometric information, we send it electronically to the Home Office. We don’t keep any of your information on our systems.

Post Office staff and suppliers don’t have access to your information and we have regular independent security checks to make sure everything is secure.

The Home Office will keep your biometric information on its database.

Get more information at the Home Office website.

What does the Home Office do with my biometric information?

Your biometric information will be stored on a central government database in the UK, and checked against UK government records.

It will be handled in line with the UK's strict data protection laws.

What happens if I can’t give you my biometric information?

Follow the instructions in your biometric notification letter and let the Home Office know why.

For more details about the biometric process, read the rest of our FAQs or visit the Home Office Visas and Immigration page.

Biometric FAQs

I have a young child. What kind of photo is acceptable?

When it comes to taking a picture of a young child, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • If your child does not settle you may be asked to take a short break or to return the following day.
  • Only your child should be visible in the photo. Otherwise, the photo may be rejected and your child will have to resubmit their biometric information.
  • If your child is five or under, they don’t have to be looking directly at the camera or have a neutral expression.
  • If your child is under one year old, their eyes don’t have to be open. If you use your hand to support their head, your hand shouldn’t be visible in the photo.
  • If your child needs to sit on your knee for their photo, you may need to wear a grey cloak provided by the Post Office. This is so you don’t appear in the photo.
  • We also have steps to help you take your child’s photo. They can stand on these steps to have their photo taken – so you don’t have to hold them.

Do I need to accompany my child, or can another family member go instead?

Only the responsible adult named on your letter from the Home Office can go with the child to submit their biometric information.

I wear a head covering. Will I have to remove it when my photo is taken?

Head coverings worn for religious reasons are acceptable, but care must be taken to ensure your face is not covered.

For some applicants wearing a religious head covering is necessary, however, please be aware that if a head covering is too light in colour, it may not be possible to see it clearly against the grey background of the biometric enrolment station. Please remember to wear a dark coloured head covering.

We’re aware of the need to protect your dignity, privacy and modesty. If you need any special arrangements, just let us know. We’ll be happy to help.

Can I wear my glasses when my photo is taken?

You can’t wear glasses or sunglasses while your photo is being taken.

You must also remove the following items during enrolment:

  • Headphones
  • Hats, scarves, or any other headgear not worn for religious reasons
  • Bluetooth headsets

For more information about suitable photos, please view the Home Office Photo Guidance information.

I use a wheelchair – will I be able to register my biometric information in the Post Office?

Absolutely – here’s a list of branches with larger enrolment booths for easier wheelchair access.

Our standard booth is 0.694 metres wide, while our larger booths are 1.193 metres wide.

Please make sure that you’ll have enough room to enter the booth and rotate the chair by 90 degrees to face the camera.

If you have any questions, or you need to find your nearest accessible branch, get in touch using our contact form. We’ll be happy to help.

Can I bring someone to help me submit my biometric information?

Yes, if you require assistance

The actual process is very simple, and can easily be explained to someone who speaks English as a second language.

Please note: There’s a clear mark on the floor of the Post Office biometric enrolment station – that’s where you need to stand to have your photograph taken.