What to do when you receive your Tier 4 (General) student visa?

Your visa will be issued as a vignette (sticker) in your passport and will only be valid for 30 days. The 30 days will start 30 days before the course start date on your CAS or seven days before the date that you specified on your application as your intended date of travel to the UK, whichever is later.  You must enter the UK on, or after, the ‘valid from’ date printed on the vignette in your passport but within the 30 day period.

If you do not travel to the UK during this 30 day period then your vignette will expire and you will need to apply for another 30-day vignette if you still wish to travel to the UK.  For more information on what to do in this situation please go to the UKCISA website.


Your 30-day vignette will be accompanied by a letter. When you enter the UK you should show the border force officer your 30-day vignette and this letter.  You must collect a biometric residence permit (BRP) from a post office within ten days of arriving in the UK.  When you complete your visa application the form will give you a choice of post offices from which to collect your BRP.  The form will select these post offices based on the addresses you provide on your application, that is the address where you will be living and the address of your Tier 4 sponsor.  If neither of the suggested post offices are convenient for you then you have the option to enter a third postcode and select a different post office.  Please ask the Conservatoire for further advice on BRP collection if required.

The letter that accompanies your 30-day vignette will contain the details of the post office that you selected.  If you change your mind and would like to collect your BRP from a different post office then you will have to pay a fee.  You do not have to make an appointment at the post office but you must take your 30-day vignette and your letter with you.  If you do not collect your BRP within ten days of arriving in the UK you may have to pay a fine and/or your visa may be cancelled.

The Conservatoire is permitted to allow its students to matriculate (register/enrol) using their 30-day vignette and letter.  However, if you choose to do this you will need to show the Conservatoire your BRP before your vignette expires.  Ideally, you should collect your BRP before matriculation if you are able to.

For further, more detailed, guidance on BRPs please see the Home Office guidance


What to check when you receive your Tier 4 (General) Biometric Residence Permit (BRP?)

It is essential that you check that that the details on your visa (or 30-day vignette and accompanying letter) are correct.

  • your name and date of birth
  • that you are a Tier 4 (General) student
  • the Sponsor Licence Number (SLN) of the institution that you intend to study at
  • that the start and end dates of the permission are correct
  • work conditions (see how many hours a week can I work?)
  • for some students, the condition to register with the police (see Police registration).


If any of this information is incorrect, ask for it to be changed immediately, before you travel to the UK.  If there is no time for the error to be corrected before you travel, ask the entry clearance post for advice.

If your visa ends too soon, or if your work conditions are stricter than they should be, or if you have a condition to register with the police when you should not, you can ask for these errors to be corrected before you travel.  Alternatively, you can travel to the UK and then request a correction of the visa error later. See BRP and visa problems

Errors in your favour, for example, if you have more generous working hours than the Immigration Rules say you should, or if you do not have the condition to register with the police when you should, can be corrected if you wish, but there is no requirement to do so.  If your visa is too long, speak to Sarah Ward in the International and Student Experience team for further advice.

Police registration

New students from certain countries are required to register with the local police within seven days of collecting their BRP. If this applies to you there will be an instruction to do so listed on your vignette or BRP. Pauline McCluskey from the International and Student Experience team will make arrangements for you to attend the police station in Dalmarnock – this is often not within seven days of BRP collection and this is permitted by the Home Office under special arrangement provisions.  You will receive an email from the Conservatoire with further instructions in September.  The cost to register with the Police is £34.  You will also be required to inform the police if you move address during your programme of study.  For further information please go to the Home Office website.

What happens if your passport or BRP is lost or stolen

If your passport or BRP is lost or stolen you must make sure that you report it to the police and UKVI as soon as possible.  You can do so via the form here. You will need to apply for a replacement within three months of the loss or theft. In the first instance please go to the UKCISA website for further information.  Please also see Sarah Ward for further support.

If you need any further advice after you have received your visa then please contact international@rcs.ac.uk

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