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When your Tier 4 entry clearance visa application is successful, you will be issued a 30 day entry vignette in your passport which will enable you to enter the UK. 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 if starting your studies in Lent or Easter Term

Students starting their studies at the University in Lent or Easter term should collect their BRP from the Post Office. In the relevant section of the Tier 4 application, you should select 'Collect from a UK Post Office' when asked where you want to collect your BRP. You will then be asked to enter the postcode for your accommodation or your Tier 4 sponsor. The Post Office in Cambridge for BRP collection is on St Andrew's Street. You are required to collect your BRP either before your 30 day entry vignette expires or within 10 days of arriving in the UK, whichever is later. You can collect your BRP at the Post Office at anytime during their opening hours and will need your passport to confirm your identity. 

Collecting your BRP if starting your studies in Michaelmas Term

Owing to the high number of new students starting their studies in Michaelmas Term, students are advised to collect their BRP at the University. In order to do this, you must enter a particular code, called an ACL code, in the relevant section of the Tier 4 visa application form. This code will be updated on these webpages nearer to the time it is required. 

Entry vignette validity

The initial 30 day entry vignette issued as a sticker in your passport will be valid:

  • from 7 days before your intended date of travel, as stated on your visa application form. The earliest the vignette can be valid is one month prior to the start date of your course, in line with Tier 4 policy; OR
  • 30 days from the date of issue if granted after your intended date of travel, as stated on your visa application form.

You must enter the UK during the 30 day validity of the entry vignette. If you are living in College accommodation, you should check with your College when you can move into your room as there may be restrictions on arriving early.

If the vignette has expired or will expire before you travel, you will need to apply for a replacement short term entry vignette at an additional cost. You will not need to make a full new visa application.

Please note that you cannot enter on your student immigration permission prior to the start of your entry vignette. In addition, you cannot enter earlier than this as a standard visitor (tourist) 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 need to leave the UK and re-enter to activate your immigration permission as a student. As well as taking a copy your passport and BRP, the University will need to see evidence of when you entered the UK. For most this will be the entry stamp marked on the 30 day vignette in your passport by immigration control. Evidence of your flight (e.g. boarding pass) will be required in the absence of this stamp. 

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. If you are new to the UK and need to register with the police, you will be able to do so when you collect your BRP but you will need to book a separate appointment.

Pre-arrival information

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