UPDATE

Based on multiple people's advice I posted it to Bangkok via DHL. It took 2 days to arrive. For anyone else with this problem the fasted way to resolve it is definitely to get someone to send the BRP card to you.


I'm a British citizen and my wife is South Korean. We've been living in England and she works in England on a spouse visa. We went on a 2 week trip to Thailand with Finnair and on the return from Bangkok they wouldn't let her board because she didn't have the BRP card. We knew she'd forgotten it but we had no idea this would prevent her boarding, we just thought she'd have some hassle at UK immigration but once they checked her fingerprints, iris, face recognition etc she'd be fine. She can legitimately stay in the UK, we just forgot the card.

So now she's stuck in Thailand and I've had to fly home because I have work. It's weekend so the embassy isn't open and the immigration department can only be called on weekdays. Because she's not a British citizen she can't call the emergency hotline either.

The plan so far is for her to wait until Monday and then visit the UK embassy to get advice. It's possible that I will have to post the BRP card to her but we're going to wait and see what the embassy say first.

This is ridiculous because the point of a BRP card (Biometric Residence Permit) is that they've taken all her biometrics and keep them on a database. She shouldn't need the card when her fingerprints are proof she is who she is. I don't understand why this is such an issue.

Does anyone know what the best thing for us to do in this situation is?

  • 1
    Then is the point of a biometric passport that you can forget it at home and they will check your fingerprints and find out who you are? I would mail the card to her through fastest affordable and reliable channel – Hanky Panky Sep 10 '17 at 5:24
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    @hanky To be honest I don't know what the point of the actual card is but apparently it's absolutely necessary to carry with you. – MrMisterMan Sep 10 '17 at 5:26
  • 1
    Did you send her atleast the scans of her card after reaching home so when she talks to authorities she has some information about it other than just her biometrics? The most unfortunate part is that South Koreans do not even need a visa to visit UK for an ordinary visit – Hanky Panky Sep 10 '17 at 5:33
  • 6
    This sounds like a rant disguised as a question. -1 – fkraiem Sep 10 '17 at 6:10
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    You stated that you thought you might have problems with UK Immigration, so Finnair staff will assume the same. Finnair has agreements and is subject to fines if they fly someone who does not have the documents to enter. So they denied her boarding. Send her card to her by overnight courier and let her come home. – user13044 Sep 10 '17 at 6:25
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The best option for you is to use a courier such as FedEx to get her brp to her. This will be faster than trying to get some special exception for her from the embassy.

Something like this happened to me and I didn't even try to argue the toss with the airline, I just got a friend to courier the documents out to me.

  • 1
    In particular, there is no point waiting until Monday. Get that card moving towards her as soon as possible. – Patricia Shanahan Sep 10 '17 at 12:46
  • Thank you, this is what we have done. The BRP card is on its way and should arrive Thursday. – MrMisterMan Sep 12 '17 at 6:59

As a South Korean, your wife doesn't need a visa (if she were a tourist), but would require to show a ticket leaving the UK within the 6 months given to South Korean tourists. So if your wife bought a ticket bought another ticket (possibly refundable), she couldn't be denied boarding by Finnair, as she would comply, at least in appearance, with visa rules.

However, yes indeed, after landing in the UK she might have to face an uphill battle to prove that she is indeed a resident. You might be able to take her BRP to the airport and bring it to Immigration, who knows? But a DHL would be probably fast and cheaper.

  • 1
    This seems unfair to the airline. It involves lying them, claiming she is traveling as a tourist, so that they will allow her to board. When she gets to the UK, and asks to be admitted as a resident, will the airline get into trouble because they carried her without proper documentation? – Patricia Shanahan Sep 10 '17 at 13:02
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    @PatriciaShanahan the airline doesn't care either way as long as OP's wife is allowed to enter the country – JonathanReez Sep 10 '17 at 17:06
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    OP can also do the same by flying through Ireland. This would completely avoid all issues with UK immigration. – JonathanReez Sep 10 '17 at 17:06
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    If she was going to do this it would make sense for her to fly via an airport where the OP could meet her airside prior to entering the UK and personally give her the BRP card. Sending important documents across the world by courier makes me nervous. You may have tracking, but that won't help if it goes missing. – Peter M Sep 10 '17 at 20:36
  • @jonathanReez that is a genius idea but unfortunately I've sent it via courier now. – MrMisterMan Sep 12 '17 at 6:58

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