A vignette is a sticker placed in your passport following a successful entry clearance application. It contains basic details about you and the permission you have been granted.
A Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a document in the shape of a card issued by the Home Office to students (and their partners and children) as evidence of their immigration permission (also known as leave to enter or remain). The BRP card includes a microchip which contains two of your fingerprints, and a digital photograph.
As part of the process of applying for leave (either outside or inside the UK), you have to give your fingerprints and have your photograph taken (this is known as your "biometrics"). For more details on the process for giving your biometrics please see our information on applying for Tier 4 immigration permission from outside the UK and inside the UK.
For more details you should read the Home Office's information about BRPs and your responsibilities.
If you make a successful immigration application, you will be issued with one of the following documents:
- A vignette issued for the full length of leave: this is issued following a successful entry clearance application if:
- the leave is for six months or less; or
- it was issued before the phasing in of the 30-day vignette (the 30-day vignette was phased in in stages from 18 March to 31 July 2015)
- A 30-day vignette: this is issued if you apply for entry clearance for permission of more than six months. You will need to use this vignette to enter the UK and collect your biometric residence permit (BRP).
- A BRP: this is issued if your application is made from within the UK for further permission to remain. In addition, if have a 30-day day vignette you will also be issued with a BRP which must be collected after your arrival in the UK.
The following pages outline the steps to take if any of the following situations occur while you are in possession of one of these documents:
- The document is lost, stolen or damaged
- The document contains errors
- You receive a new passport while you are in possession of the document, but please see note below.
See 'Report change of circumstances' about what to do if you have a change of circumstances while in possession of one of these documents.
NOTE If your passport has expired since you were granted entry clearance, you can travel to the UK without needing to transfer your entry clearance vignette to your new passport, as long as you present both passports when going through immigration control. However, there are a number of reasons why you might want to transfer your visa from an old passport which is not lost or stolen to your new passport:
- Since 1 February 2016, all students who want to enter into a tenancy with a private landlord in England require evidence of their ‘right to rent’. Only a current BRP or leave endorsed in a current passport is acceptable.
The same requirement has applied to employment since 16 May 2014; evidence of a student’s leave must be on a BRP or in a current passport.
- It is easier and cheaper for students who are outside the UK to replace a lost or stolen BRP than a lost or stolen vignette. The latter application involves making a Tier 4 application which necessitates payment of the immigration health surcharge and arguments about whether or how to refund it, whereas a replacement BRP visa application is significantly cheaper, has its own section in the online form and does not require payment of the immigration health surcharge.
Not all countries accept evidence of leave in an expired passport so students who plan to travel outside the UK at some point after their passport expires should apply to transfer conditions before they make their travel plans.
It is perhaps easier to remember to travel with a current passport and a BRP than with two passports.