New biometric permit cards required for long-term UK stays

Cayman nationals who want to go to the United Kingdom for more than six months for work or studies will have to get a new biometric residence permit card starting May 31.

The residence permit card, about the size of a credit card, will include the fingerprints, photo, signature and other details about the permit holder, according to a statement issued by the Governor’s Office on Tuesday.

The card will serve as an official identification card for foreign nationals in the U.K. who plan to stay longer than six months, allowing people to access public services and verify their identity for services such as opening a bank account. Foreign nationals will no longer need to keep their passports with them as proof of identification.

The program is not just for overseas territories – any foreign nationals from outside the European Union will need to get the card as part of their student visa or work permit. The U.K. began rolling out the program in March and plans to require the permit cards for every non-U.K. citizen by the end of July.

Cayman citizens traveling to the U.K. for extended periods for work or school can get a special 30-day sticker to enter the U.K. and then pick up the permit card from a post office after they arrive.

People applying for a visa in the U.K. will not have to apply separately for the permit card. All the information for the card will be included in the immigration or visa application.

Children under 5 will not have to provide fingerprints but will have to have a photograph taken for the card.