Lost passports, visas, and BRPs.
Before you travel, make a paper copy and photograph of your passport, your student visa and/or your student Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and keep them separate to your travel documents. If your hostel or hotel has a safe, it is a good idea to leave your passport and BRP and spare money there.
If you lose your passport or BRP or these are stolen you will not be able to re-enter the UK and will have to apply for new permission to enter the UK. This can take several weeks.
Report the loss to the local police station and make sure that they provide you with a police report certificate or reference number, you will need this when you apply to replace your documents.
Contact the International Student Adviser with details of your loss/theft by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The International Student Adviser will provide you with information on how to request a registration status letter which you will need to apply for a replacement visa.
How you apply to re-enter the UK depends on the kind of permission and documentation you had:
Entry clearance vignettes (visa sticker in passport)
If you had an entry clearance or residence permit sticker (vignette) in your passport, you can apply for a replacement. If you are in the UK, see the Home Office's information Transferring your visa to a new passport.
If you are outside the UK, you will need to make a normal Tier 4 application in order to replace and pay the full Tier 4 application fee. You will not need a new Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), or financial evidence. Please see Applying for a Tier 4 visa - outside UK.
BRP lost or stolen outside the UK
If your BRP is lost or stolen whilst you are outside the UK you must report the loss or theft to the Home Office as soon as possible. You can do this using the Home Office's online form available here.
You will then need to apply for a replacement single-use BRP that you can use once to re-enter the UK. This costs £154. For full details, see the guidance on the Home Office website for people whose BRP is lost or stolen outside the UK. You will use the standard online visa application process: when it asks you to Select Reason for visit, choose Other > Others > Replacement Biometric Residence Permit. You do not need to provide a CAS or evidence of funds with this application, but a letter from your institution confirming that you are still studying there would be helpful.
After you use the single-entry BRP visa to return to the UK, you will need to apply for a new BRP. The Home Office website says this must be done within one month, but the application form itself says within three months. See the next section for full details of how to do this.
If your BRP was lost or stolen in the UK, it is safest to obtain a new BRP before travelling outside the UK. If you do leave the UK without obtaining a replacement BRP you should apply for a single-entry BRP visa before travelling back to the UK. Or if you are in your home country you could apply for a new Tier 4 visa instead. You may wish to do this if your leave is about to expire and you meet the requirements to obtain a new visa.
BRP lost or stolen in the UK
If your BRP has been lost or stolen in the UK, you need to report the loss/theft to the police and to the Home Office as soon as possible. You can report this to the Home Office using the online form available here. You must apply for a replacement within three months of notifying the Home Office by email, otherwise you could be fined up to £1,000 or have your permission to be in the UK curtailed. You do this by completing a BRP Replacement Card application form.
If the BRP that has been lost or stolen was issued less than two years ago and you are applying for a 'like-for-like replacement' (that is there have been no changes to your personal details and therefore your new BRP will contain the same details as the one that has been lost or stolen), then you do not need to send your passport to the Home Office with your BRP(RC) application. In all other circumstances you should submit your passport with your BRP(RC) application. If you are not able to do so, for example because your passport was lost/stolen at the same time as your BRP and you have not been able to obtain a new one within the three-month deadline for applying for a new BRP, then you should enclose a letter with your BRP(RC) application explaining the absence of a passport and, if known, when you expect to receive one.
For full information about what to do if your BRP is lost or stolen in the UK, see Biometric residence permit holders' responsibilities.
It can take several months for a replacement BRP to be issued. It is very important that you do not let your leave expire while you wait for the Home Office to send you a new BRP. If you need more time in the UK to complete your studies then you should submit a Tier 4 application to the Home Office before your leave expires. If you have submitted your passport with your BRP(RC) application then you should include a letter with your Tier 4 application explaining why you are unable to include your passport with your Tier 4 application. If you applied for your replacement BRP more than four weeks before your leave expired then you could ask for a refund of the BRP(RC) application fee since you are now applying for a new BRP rather than a replacement one.