Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

Please read these frequently asked questions below for more information about the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Information about the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)

What is a BRP card?

A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a secure identity card which contains personal details and biometric information. It is your visa and is proof of your right to be in the UK as a student. They are only issued to those studying in the UK for more than six months.

In the past, a student's initial Student (formerly Tier 4) visa was confirmed by a 'vignette' (a visa sticker) placed in the passport by the British Embassy/Consulate. The visa covered the entire length of their studies.

The new process means that you will now be granted temporary permission to enter the UK on the vignette in your passport.

The vignette will be valid for travel within 30 days (in some cases 90 days) of the proposed date of travel stated on your visa application. If you do not travel to the UK within the 30 day (in some cases 90 days) period, you will have to apply for a new visa. You can come to the UK up to one month before your course starts.

When should I collect my card?

Usually, you must collect your BRP card within ten days of arriving in the UK and your visa decision letter may still state this is required. However, if you are required to self-isolate on arrival in the UK then you must complete the required quarantine period before collecting your BRP. You will not be penalised for this as you must complete the self-isolation period first, that is essential.

If you are collecting from a Post Office you should collect your card as soon as you can, after completing any required self-isolation period of 14 days.

If your decision letter states that you should collect your BRP from the University, please DO NOT come onto the campus, as the process is different this year and in the vast majority of cases the BRP will not be delivered to the University, even if the letter states that it will. Please see details below of the process to obtain your BRP card.

How will I receive my BRP card?

If you applied for your Tier 4 visa outside the UK and entered the code 2HE747 into the 'Alternative Collection Location' box on your online Tier 4 visa application form, the process is as follows:

Once you have arrived in the UK, we will ask you to complete the initial right to study check by uploading your passport and current visa vignette (linked to the Tier 4 visa application for study at the University of Plymouth) via an online form.

  • You will receive an email with a link to the online form but must only complete this once you are in the UK, prior to that your Tier 4 leave will not be activated.
  • We will check your documents and release online enrolment as soon as possible.
  • Please complete online enrolment as soon as possible using the instructions we will send you
  • When you do this, it is essential that you enter your term time address in Plymouth and your personal email address completely and accurately. If you do not do this, you may not receive your BRP. For example please ensure you state the correct flat or house number, room number and hall name if you live in halls, do not just state “University of Plymouth”
  • When UKVI are ready to produce your BRP, the University will be asked to supply these details to them. Please note that releasing this information to UKVI is covered for GDPR purposes under the Student Privacy Notice. This may take UKVI several weeks, but your visa vignette should still be valid in this time.
  • You will then receive an email from FedEx / TNT regarding the delivery of your BRP and you should ensure you are available to sign for the delivery. If you need to re-arrange the delivery time you will be able to do this through the FedEx / TNT website. 
  • If you are living in halls and receive notification of delivery, please allow a few hours before collecting your BRP from the Gibbon Street UPP reception.
  • Once you receive your BRP please request another link to the online form from us so you can upload the BRP (front and back) for our records. This will complete your Right to study check.

If you did not use this code, your BRP card will be sent to a designated Post Office, based on the postcode you used in your visa application.

If you have requested your BRP be delivered to the Post Office, you will need to make arrangements to collect this yourself, following any required period of self-isolation first. You will need to take your original passport and Home Office letter with you to collect this. You will then need to tell us by email that you have collected the BRP and we will send you the link to the online form, so you can upload copies (front and back of BRP card). This will complete your Right to Study check.

If you have applied for your Tier 4 visa inside the UK, as long as the International Student Advice team have submitted your Tier 4 visa application on your behalf, your BRP card will be sent to the University for you to collect or to the home address you provided on the visa application form. 

Please check with the ISA team before coming onto campus, as alternative arrangements may have been made for your BRP delivery.

What do I need when collecting my BRP card if delivered to the university

In the vast majority of cases this year the BRP card will not be delivered to the University, even if the decision letter states it will be, as UKVI are following the alternative process described above to post BRPs direct to students. However, if we have exceptionally informed you that it has been delivered to campus, you will need to bring:

  • your original passport and
  • the decision letter you received when your visa was granted.
The decision letter is the letter the visa application centre will give or send to you with your passport and documents after your successful visa application.  If it is sent to you by email, you should print out a copy and carry with you to the UK.

What should I do when I receive my BRP card?

Check that all your details are correct. Contact International Student Advice (ISA) if there are any mistakes immediately and the team can assist you in having errors corrected.

Information for students aged 18 years old and below

If you are not 18 years of age at the time when you are required to collect your BRP card, please refer to the Home Office guidance on the procedure you need to follow.

What if my BRP card is lost/stolen?

Please contact International Student Advice (ISA) for advice immediately.

What will the University do with my BRP when it is received?

The Home Office (UKVI) have imposed strict security requirements about the storage and distribution of these BRP cards. Only certain members of University staff are permitted to handle BRPs. A copy of your BRP card will be scanned onto your student record in line with Home Office requirements.

Visa expiry emails

Whilst you are waiting for your BRP to arrive the University will record your visa end date as the end date of your visa vignette (the visa pasted into your passport). As the visa vignette is usually only 30 or 90 days long, this may mean that you will receive an automated email from the University that advises you about your visa expiring.

Please don’t worry if you do receive these emails, they are generated automatically and there is no need to contact the International Student Advice team (ISA) regarding this. When you receive your BRP card we will ask you to upload a copy through the online form, your visa expiry date will then be updated to show the expiry date shown on your BRP card. You will not receive the automated emails then until the appropriate time.

What should I do if I have more queries about the BRP process which aren't covered on this website?

Please email for further information and advice.