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When your entry clearance student visa has been granted, you will be issued a 90-day entry vignette in your passport, which will enable you to travel to the UK. You must arrive in the UK on or after the start date of the entry vignette to enter on your student visa.

Your actual visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), will need to be collected after arriving in the UK. Your BRP is the documentary evidence of your UK immigration permission. 

Students starting in Lent or Easter terms should select to collect their BRP from the Post Office in their visa application. The Post Office in Cambridge is 57-58 St Andrew's Street. The decision letter you will receive with the outcome of your visa application will normally confirm the collection point; if not, please check your original application form for the location by logging into your UKVI account. You are advised to collect your BRP as soon as possible after arrival in the UK.  

Students starting in Michaelmas Term will have the option of collecting their BRP from the University. Information for Michaelmas Term 2024 entry will be updated on this webpage at the relevant time.  

If you apply for your student visa with an EEA or Swiss passport and use the app for the application process, your status will be issued digitally and you will not need to collect a BRP after arrival in the UK.

Planning your travel and ensuring you enter the UK on your student visa

Before arranging your travel, you must check the dates on your entry vignette and ensure you will not arrive in the UK before or after the validity period.

You cannot:

  • enter on your student immigration permission before the ‘valid from’ date on your entry vignette, or
  • enter the UK as a standard visitor (tourist) before the start of your entry vignette and then ‘switch’ inside the UK to your student visa even if the entry vignette is already in your passport.

If you enter the UK as a visitor, you will not be able to start your course. You will need to leave the UK and re-enter within the validity of your entry vignette to activate your immigration permission as a student. 

Pre-arrival information

For further information on some of the practical aspects of living and studying in Cambridge as an international student, see Arriving.