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When your Tier 4 entry clearance 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 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.

You will need to collect your BRP either from the University or the Post Office in Cambridge as outlined below. The decision letter you will receive with the outcome of your visa application will confirm the collection point. 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 self-isolate on arrival to the UK, you should not collect your BRP until after the 14 day self-isolation period and as outlined below depending on your collection point.

Collecting your BRP at your College

As a University of Cambridge student you will be able to collect your Tier 4 BRP from your College 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 ACL code so they can collect their BRP from their University.

If you use the ACL code in your application, you will be able to collect your BRP from your College from early October. It is not possible to collect it earlier than this. You should not require your BRP for activities such as registering with the doctor, open ing 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 a residential or sponsor postcode, 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 self-isolate for 14 days on arrival to the UK, you should not collect your BRP until after this period.

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 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 Tier 4, even if the student 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 self-isolation 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.