In March 2015, Home office implemented a new system for issuing Tier 4 student visas for students outside the UK. This article will take you through the important facts that you must be aware of in terms of obtaining your Biometric residence permit (BRP) once you are granted a Tier 4 visa.
In the past for all the students who were granted an initial entry clearance Tier 4 visa by the British embassy or Consulate in the country where application was made, the visa was confirmed by a “vignette” placed on a page of the passport. This visa was valid for the entire period of the course applied for. However according to the new system your vignette placed on the passport would not cover the length of the entire course, instead you will be given a 30-day temporary visa for you to travel to the UK. Once you arrive in the UK you are required to obtain a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which confirms your visa for the full length of the course.
All the international students who are entering into the UK or who are extending their visas in the UK to study a course that lasts for more than 6 months must obtain a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).
What is a BRP card
BRP is a proof of identity that confirms your personal details, biometric details and your right to be in the UK. This also confirms your visa status. If you are going to study in the UK for more than six months you will be issued with a BRP card despite whether you are applying for the entry clearance visa outside the UK or extending your visa to remain inside the UK.
Applying from inside the UK
If you already have a valid visa to live in the UK in any of the categories listed in the UKVI website, you can apply for a “Tier 4 leave to remain visa” before your current leave expires. When you make a visa application inside the UK to extend your immigration permission to be in the UK, you will be issued with a BRP confirming your new visa once the decision is granted by UKVI. Usually, the BRP will be sent by post to the correspondence address given on your visa application.
Applying from outside the UK
If you are applying for an entry clearance Tier 4 visa outside the UK, you must ensure that you complete the section of “biometric residence permit Collection” of your online visa application form. In this particular section, you will be asked to fill the code for “alternative collection location (ACL code)”. Fill the code and click on “find” then you will be asked to confirm its address. This code is usually the code given by your University. Most of the Universities provide the service of collection of BRP cards and each University is given a unique code to identify the location.
When the decision is granted, you will be issued with a vignette that confirms temporary entry clearance visa which will be valid for 30 days and a decision letter. Once you arrive in the UK you will need to collect your BRP card that confirms the valid visa for the rest of the duration of your stay, within 10 days.
Where to receive the BRP
You will need to collect your BRP card from the location that you stated on your visa application under ACL code. If you have not given a location or a unique code, the decision letter given by the British embassy or Consulate of your country will state the post office branch where your BRP is available to collect. As you arrive in the UK, you must collect the BRP card within 10 days from the specified location.
Here is a list of universities and their ACL code:
- Birmingham City University (BCU)：2HE522
- University of Bristol：2HE397
- Brunel University London：The code will be given on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) email.
- Coventry University：2HE452
- Coventry University London Campus：2HE457
- The University of Edinburgh：2HE529
- University of Kent Canterbury Campus：2HE362
- University of Kent Medway Campus：2HE367
- The University of Nottingham：2HE427
- Swansea University：2HE544
- Royal Holloway, University of London：2HE482
- University of Warwick：The code will be given on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) email.
- University of Sussex：The code will be given on the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) email.
- University of Glasgow: 2HE499
- Newcastle University: Students will have to collect the BRP card from a Post Office branch in Newcastle upon Tyne.
- University of East Anglia (UEA): Students should use the University of East Anglia postcode, NR4 7TJ. This will enable them to collect your BRP from a Post Office close to the university.
How to collect your BRP
When you collect your BRP card, the University or the post office branch would expect you to bring your original passport or travel document with your vignette and also the decision letter given by the British embassy or Consulate. You will not be able to collect the BRP in the absence of the above two documents. If in case you have lost either of the documents, you must contact then UKVI on the following email address BRPCollection@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk
In conclusion, collecting the BRP must be your first priority when you arrive in the UK as you will need a valid visa to live, study, work in the UK and when traveling outside the UK.