Anyone applying for a UK visa from overseas which will be valid for longer than 6 months are required to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days of arriving in the UK. This includes Tier 4 student visas.
Tier 4 students who make their visa application overseas will receive a temporary travel visa (vignette) in their passport. This temporary travel visa is valid for 30 days (which starts either 30 days before the course start date on your CAS or 7 days before your intended date of travel to the UK, whichever is later).
You are required to collect your BRP (which will be your Tier 4 visa valid for the duration of your course) within 10 days of arriving in the UK. Where you collect your BRP from will depend on information you insert on your Tier 4 application form. This will be at a designated Post Office.
Read more information on the biometric procedure.
If your application is successful, you will have your passport and documents returned to you.
The UKVI have produced some guidance for applicants.
My BRP was lost / stolen, how do I get a replacement?
If your biometric residence permit is lost or stolen, you must report the loss or theft to the Home Office immediately.
You should contact them by email on BRPLost@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk. If you are abroad when your permit is lost or stolen, you should email the Home Office before you try to return to the UK and you must apply for a single entry visa at your nearest British Embassy so that you can enter the UK.
When you are back inside the UK, or if it was lost inside the UK, you must then use application form BRP(RC) to apply for another permit. If you fail to do this within 3 months of reporting the theft or loss, you may have to pay a financial penalty of up to £1,000, or your visa for the UK may be shortened.
You can download the application form and guidance from the Government website.