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UK immigration: Biometrics and Identity Cards for Foreign Nationals (ICFNs)

11 June 2010

An Identity Card for Foreign Nationals (ICFNs) is a proof of migrant's permission to stay in the United Kingdom and shows any conditions attached to their visa which must be met during their stay in the UK. The card confirms the bearer's identity and the rights they have to study or work.

Those applying from inside the United Kingdom to extend their stay in certain immigration categories are required to enrol their biometrics and are issued with an identity card for foreign nationals (ICFN). Migrant's must show the card to their employer or approved education provider before starting to work or study. They should also carry their card with them when travelling abroad to re-enter the UK.

Categories requiring biometrics and identity cards include:

As part of the biometrics enrolment the UKBA staff will take a digital photograph of the applicant's face and will scan their fingerprints. Biometric information will then be stored on your identity card. Biometric information can be enrolled at public enquiry offices or at one of 11 Home Office biometric enrolment centres, prior appointment booking is compulsory.

Foreign nationals are also given the choice of providing their biometrics at one of the 17 participating Crown post offices (this is a walk-in service and does not require prior booking) for a fee of £8. The partnership with the Post Office will provide extra capacity enabling the UK Border Agency to speed up the enrolment process and give more choice and convenience to migrants who wish to enrol.

Identity cards cannot be issued on the same day and those using the same day processing service will have the card sent to their address after the appointment date. Those applying by post will have their card sent by secure delivery, separately from the documents and the decision on their application.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.