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When your entry clearance student visa has been granted, you will be issued a time-limited entry vignette in your passport which will enable you to travel to the UK. You must arrive in the UK within the validity 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 on arrival in the UK. Your BRP is the documentary evidence of your UK immigration permission.

You will need to collect your BRP either from your College or the Post Office as outlined below. 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 you chose. Your decision letter will advise you need to collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival OR by the expiry of your entry vignette, whichever is later. If you are required to quarantine after arrival to the UK, you should not collect your BRP until after the required quarantine period. 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.

Collecting your BRP at your College

As a University of Cambridge student starting in Michaelmas Term 2021, you will be able to collect your BRP from your College if you made your visa application prior to 1 October. In order to do this, you will have entered a particular code, called an ACL code, in the relevant section of your visa application form. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) advises students to use the University as the collection point for their BRP.

If you use the ACL code in your application, you will be able to collect your BRP in October. Your College will contact you directly to make arrangements for you to collect it once available. Please note it is not possible to receive your BRP earlier than when you are contacted by your College to advise it is ready for collection. You should not require your BRP for activities such as registering with the doctor, opening a bank account with most banks, registering with the police where required, or renting accommodation.

As the MBA, MFin and PGCE programmes have an earlier start date, students are advised to collect their BRP from the Post Office. 

Staff and academic visitors will need to collect their BRP at the Post Office.

Collect your BRP at the Post Office

If you do not use the ACL code and instead enter your accommodation postcode in Cambridge or the University’s postcode (CB2 1TN), you will be instructed to collect your BRP from the Post Office in Cambridge, 57 – 58 St Andrew’s Street. You are advised to collect your BRP from the Post Office as soon as possible after arrival in the UK. However, if you are required to quarantine after arrival to the UK, you should not collect your BRP until after this period.

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 to activate your immigration permission as a student and take into consideration any quarantine requirements upon re-entering the UK.

Decision letter

You will receive a decision letter following a successful visa application which will outline the conditions of your immigration leave. The letter will also confirm the collection point for your BRP. 

Police Registration

Nationals from some countries have to register with the police after they have collected their BRP. Information on who is required to do this and how to book an appointment is outlined on our Police Registration webpage.

Pre-arrival information

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