Travelling to the UK and Entry Clearance Vignettes

Entry Clearance Vignette

If your Student/Tier 4 visa application overseas is successful you will be issued with an entry clearance vignette (visa sticker in your passport) which will permit you to travel to and enter the UK. If your course is less than 6 months the vignette will cover the duration of your course. If your course is longer than 6 months then the entry clearance vignette will allow you to enter the UK and collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which will cover the duration of your course before you begin your studies.

When you can travel to the UK

You can travel to the UK up to one month before your course start date. You must enter the UK within the validity of the vignette, (between the start date and expiry date) otherwise you may have to obtain a new vignette or leave the UK and re-enter. The vignette is usually valid for 30 days but because current travel delays due to covid are likely your vignette should be valid for 90 days.

The vignette (visa sticker) is valid from the latest date of either:

  • 1 month before your course start date (date given on your CAS Statement) or,
  • 7 days before the date that you intend to travel to the UK, as stated on your visa application

Crossing the border whilst your entry clearance vignette is valid activates/validates your Student/Tier 4 visa. If you enter before the start date on your visa you will have to leave the UK and re-enter after the start date of the vignette but before the expiry date. You cannot enter the UK as a visitor before the start of your entry vignette and then try to ‘switch’ inside the UK to a Student/Tier 4 visa, even if the student entry vignette is already in your passport and even if you can enter as a non-visa national.

If your entry clearance has expired before travelling to the UK you will have to apply online to transfer the visa which costs £154 (local currency equivalent).

Checking your entry clearance vignette before travel

When you receive your visa it is important you check that all the details are correct and your personal details match your passport otherwise you might face a problem travelling. You should carefully check the following on your vignette and for any dependants travelling with you:

  • Your personal details including your name, date of birth and nationality. These details should match your passport.
  • If you have obtained a Student visa you should check it shows our Sponsor Licence Number (SLN) which  is JTV8BV799
  • That the start and end dates are correct and you will be able to travel whilst it is valid.
  • The conditions attached such as work restrictions and registering with the police.
    • Degree level courses should permit 20 hours work per week during term-time
    • Nationalities which are required to register with the police.

How to correct an error

If you notice the error before you have arrived in the UK and your visa has been issued with an incorrect endorsement, you must contact the visa application centre which issued it immediately to correct it. If you don't do this you may face issues travelling.

If you notice the error after you have arrived in the UK but within 3 months you must should contact UKVI International Sheffield. You must include a scan of the entry clearance vignette with the email.

Do I have to correct an error?

Yes. You do have to correct any errors. Please refer to the Home Office website for more information on how to report the error.

Do I need to tell the university if my vignette is incorrect?

Yes. Please send us a copy of the incorrect document with details of the error so we can report it to the UKVI. If you are worried correcting your visa will delay your travel include details of any booked travel in the email and we may be able to expedite your correction. When you are issued with new vignette please provide us with a copy by scanning the document and email it to Student Immigration Advice and Compliance so we can update our records.

Further useful information is available from UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA):

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