SOAS University of London


Arriving in the UK

This section contains information for international and EU students arriving in the UK, including BRP collection, enrolment and police registration.

BRP Collection

When you successfully apply for a Student visa from outside of the UK for a period of study more than six months, you will be granted a 90-day vignette (sticker) in your passport. You will also be sent a letter/email which will give you instructions on when and where to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Nothing further will be placed in your passport.

Your leave to remain will be the BRP, a plastic card similar to a credit card, which must be collected from a Post Office designated by the UKVI within 10 days of your arrival in the UK.

  • Your leave to remain will start on the date your BRP is issued by the UKVI and this date will be stated on your BRP.
  • The validity of the 90-day vignette will be based on the course start date, rather than the intended date of travel.

We strongly advise you to collect your Biometric Residence Permit from the allocated Post Office as soon as you arrive in the UK and before you start enrolment. We will be able to enrol you on a temporary basis with the 90-day vignette in your passport, but we must see your BRP card before the vignette expires, which will involve returning to the Enrolment Hall (during Welcome Week) or to the Registry (from Monday 27 September) to have your BRP scanned before you can be fully enrolled.

For more information on Biometric Residence Permits, please visit the UK Government website.

EU nationals and BRPs

If you are an EU national with a biometric passport, your application process for the Student visa is likely to be different and you will not be issued with a BRP. You will instead be asked to download an app as part of the application process. The app will allow you to scan your passport and upload your biometric information. When your Student visa is issued, it will be electronic and associated with your passport.

To enter the UK, you can scan your passport at an eGate. It is therefore important to keep the email you are sent by UK Visas and Immigration when your Student visa is granted. This is a useful record of your Student visa and it is also important to check that the dates and conditions are correct as soon as you receive the email. If there are any problems, immediately contact the embassy/agency that issued it.

Enrolment Checks for International Students

During Enrolment and Welcome Week, you will undertake the formal enrolment process in addition to attending various Department meetings and events. You will be emailed in advance and given a specific enrolment period and you must come to the enrolment event during the times given. As an International student you must ensure that you bring the following documents with you:

  • Passport (original)
  • 90-day entry visa (in your passport if you applied for a visa outside the UK)
  • BRP (original)
  • Boarding pass for EU nationals or others using E-gates (as you won’t get a stamp in passport)
  • Visa Acceptance Letter/email from UKVI (confirming your application was successful)
  • Copy of your offer letter (this may be required by your department)
  • Proof of payment of fees or funding
  • Original documents used to make your admissions assessment (e.g. academic transcripts, IELTS, degree certificate)

When you arrive at the enrolment event, you will see a member of staff who will verify various pieces of information, including that you have a UK address (this is a mandatory requirement of UKVI and must be provided as soon as you have secured a place to stay). A copy of your passport and visa/BRP will be retained by us as proof that we have verified your identity and that you have appropriate leave to study in the UK. Staff may also need to verify that your fees have been paid, or you have secured appropriate funding.

If you plan to study remotely in Term One due to disruptions caused by the pandemic, we will share further details about the online enrolment process.

Police Registration

Some international students are required to register with the Police after they arrive in the UK. If this applies to you, the requirement will be specified on your 90-day vignette (sticker in passport) or in the letter/email you receive from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) telling you that your visa has been approved.

The conditions of your visa will say you need to register within 7 days of entering the UK. This requirement must be met when you make your arrangements to register with the Police. Students will be expected to carry out their own registration with the police.

Please check the Metropolitan Police website for full details of how and where to register and the current Covid concessions.

Quarantine Guidance

The UK government has listed countries using a traffic light system as either red, amber or green. The status of the country you are coming from will have an impact on isolation requirements when you arrive in the UK:

  • Green countries - You will be required to take a Covid test before you travel to the UK and a second Covid test within two days of arrival.
  • Amber countries - You will be required to take a Covid test before you travel to the UK. On arrival you will have to quarantine in your accommodation for 10 days and pay for two Covid tests on or before days 2 and 8. UPDATE (2 August 2021): Transport Secretary Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP has confirmed that US and EU arrivals travelling from an amber list country who have been fully vaccinated (have received both doses of an FDA or EMA approved vaccine) will not need to quarantine in their accommodation. Fully vaccinated arrivals will still need to take a Covid test before travelling and on day 2 of arriving.
  • Red countries - You will be required to take a Covid test before you travel to the UK. On arrival you will have to quarantine in an approved hotel for 10 days. This period of quarantine has a fixed cost of £1,750 and includes 10 full days of hotel quarantine, all meals and two self-administered Covid tests on days 2 and 8 of quarantine.

Regardless of which colour your country falls under, possession of a valid Student Visa will allow entry into the UK. Please also check the status of your country before travelling, as the government regularly updates these categories and a country may be moved between lists at very short notice.

International students who cannot travel in Term One

We understand that some international students may not be able to join us in September due to ongoing disruptions. For this reason, we will offer a remote (online) delivery option for students who cannot travel to London in Term 1 (September - December 2021). We expect that all students will be in London for on-campus teaching for Term 2 (January 2022).

  • If you plan to come to London for the start of Term 1 in September, request your CAS now.
  • If you are not sure whether you’ll be able to travel to London in September, please do not request your CAS until you know your intended date of travel.

When making your travel plans, please keep in mind the latest rules and quarantine regulations when coming to the UK. See our Visa and Immigration page for detailed information about entry into the UK.