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When your Tier 4 entry clearance visa has been granted, you will be issued a 30 day entry vignette in your passport which will enable you to travel to the UK. You must arrive in the UK within this 30 day period to enter as a Tier 4 student and have permission to study. 

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.

Collecting your BRP at the University

As a University of Cambridge student you will be able to collect your Tier 4 BRP at the University but in order to do this, you must enter a particular code, called an ACL code, in the relevant section of your Tier 4 visa application form. New students starting their studies in Michaelmas Term 2020 will be provided with the ACL code in an email from the International Student Office following the issuance of your CAS. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) advises students to use the University as the collection point for their BRP. Arrangements for collecting your BRP at the University will be updated on this webpage in September.

If you use the ACL code in your application, you will be able to collect your BRP at the University from early October.

As the MBA and MFin 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 a residential or sponsor postcode, you will be instructed to collect your BRP from the Post Office.

Planning your travel and ensuring you enter the UK as a Tier 4 student

Before arranging your travel, you must check the dates on your 30 day entry vignette and ensure you will not arrive in the UK before or after the 30-day 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 Tier 4, even if the student entry vignette is already in your passport.

On arrival and before you can start your course, your College will need to see evidence of when you entered the UK, as well as taking a copy of your passport, BRP and entry vignette. For most, this will be confirmed by the entry stamp marked on the 30 day vignette in your passport by immigration control. In the absence of this stamp, you must provide evidence of your flight (e.g. flight ticket or boarding pass).

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.

If the entry vignette has expired, or will expire, before you need to enter the UK, contact the International Student Office for further guidance.

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. 

Once you have collected your BRP, you should take this to your College with your original passport so they can be verified and copies taken for your record.

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.