Tier 5 Arriving in the UK

When an out-of-country Tier 5 visa application is granted a vignette (visa sticker) may be placed in the applicant's passport.

Those applying for a Tier 5 visa for six months or more may receive a 90 day vignette which is used to enter the UK and are instructed when and where to collect their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) after they arrive in the UK. The BRP is a plastic credit-card sized visa valid for the full length of their visa.

Those applying for a Tier 5 visa for less than six months may receive a vignette valid for the full length of their visa and will not be given a BRP.

As the Home Office moves towards a more electronic visa system, some visa holders may only have a digital immigration status and therefore, as well as those with BRP's, they will need provide a share code to the department or college when they arrive, so the department can complete an online right to work check.


Moving to Oxford

Practical information on travel and moving to the UK, including accommodation, moving your possessions, school applications, bringing pets, and opening a UK bank account is provided by the Oxford University Welcome Service.

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The Home Office strongly recommends against booking travel to the UK before a visa is issued.

Tier 5 visa holders must travel to the UK as soon as possible after the start date of their Tier 5 vignette. Those issued a vignette valid for 30 days must travel to the UK within this period, as if they do not, they will have to apply, and pay, for a replacement vignette before entering the UK.

Tier 5 vignettes are normally issued with a 'valid from' date around 14 days before the start date of the research visit, as listed in the Tier 5 Certificate of Sponsorship. This initial 14 day period allows the visa holder to settle in and take care of practical issues before they start their research.

Travelling to the UK as a Visitor

Applicants should also note that, once they have submitted their Tier 5 visa application, or after their Tier 5 visa has been granted, they must not enter the UK as a Visitor (e.g. as a tourist). If they do, their Tier 5 visa will no longer be valid, and they will not be able to start their research. Any travel plans should be discussed with the host department/ faculty/ college and the Staff Immigration Team (SIT).

Tier 5 visa holders and their family members will normally have their vignettes checked and date stamped by a Home Office Immigration Officer on arriving in the UK.

Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and the USA who have a biometric passport will instead be able to enter through 'eGates' without having to speak to an Immigration Officer. If travelling with children under 12 years old, however, they cannot use the 'eGates' and will need to see an Immigration Officer.

Those who enter through an 'eGate' will not receive a date stamp in their passport and will need to retain their boarding pass, travel itinerary, or other evidence of when they entered the UK.

Even those who have travelled to the UK before may find the government's Guide to faster travel through the UK border useful.

Collecting BRPs

Those who have applied for a Tier 5 visa for six months or more must collect their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days after arriving in the UK, or before their vignette expires, whichever is sooner. The Home Office letter which confirmed their application had been granted will list when and where they will need to collect their BRP.

Occasionally a BRP is not ready for collection on the stated date and the visa holder will need to return a day or two later to collect the BRP. If a BRP is still not available for collection the visa holder can report this to the Home Office to receive further instruction but should also inform their employing department/ faculty/ college and the Staff Immigration Team (SIT).

BRPs should be carefully checked when they are picked up as any errors in details or dates will need to be corrected. If there are errors on a BRP the visa holder should inform their employing department/ faculty/ college and SIT.

More detail on these issues is found in Home Office guidance on Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs).

Evidence Right to Work before visit starts

Tier 5 visa holders will need to provide a share code to their employing department/ faculty/ college to evidence their right to work in the UK before they can commence work, and an online check will need to be carried out.

If BRP collection is delayed and a share code cannot be obtained, the visa holder may be able to start after a right to work check on their vignette but must provide a share code before their vignette expires to complete the check and fully establish their right to work in the UK.

EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland nationals who used the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app will not receive a vignette or BRP, instead their digital immigration status can be checked via the Home Office online Right to Work check process

The Home Office requires evidence of the date a Tier 5 visa holder enters the UK to be kept as part of their record-keeping requirements. Usually, the vignette will be date stamped upon arrival. In the absence of an entry stamp – for example, if the Tier 5 visa holder entered through Ireland or another part of the Common Travel Area, or through an 'eGate' – other evidence, such as the boarding card or travel itinerary will need to be presented to the host department/ faculty/ college when the right to work check is being completed.

Contact us

Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education

Angelina Pelova, Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

Paul Deeble, Email: paul.deeble@tss.ox.ac.uk


MPLS / Social Sciences / Colleges

Lyn Davis, Email: lyn.davis@admin.ox.ac.uk

Richard Birt, Email: richard.birt@admin.ox.ac.uk




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