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New course - Applying for a visa from outside the UK

Step 1 - Tier 4 (General)

Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS) was introduced on 31st March 2009. To be granted Tier 4 immigration permission you need to score 40 points:

  • 30 points are achieved by having a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • 10 points are awarded for meeting tuition fee and maintenance requirements

You can find more information about a Tier 4 (General) student visa here and here.  

What is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and why do I need one?

A CAS is a unique reference number that you must have before making a Tier 4 application.  You must write the CAS number in the appropriate field on the Tier 4 application form.  The Home Office will check this number to confirm that you are due to commence a new course of study with the University.

How long is the CAS valid for?

Your CAS is valid for six months from the date it was assigned by Salford University and, after this, your CAS will automatically expire if it has not been used.  You cannot make a Tier 4 application more than three months before the start of your course, with a CAS number that has already expired or with a CAS number that has already been used in an application.

I already have a CAS from another university, do I need one for the University of Salford?

You can receive a CAS from more than one University but you must then decide where you intend to study.  Once you have made your decision, you must use the CAS for that institution in your Tier 4 visa application.  Once you have used one CAS, any other CAS that you have been issued will become invalid. You cannot enrol at the University of Salford with a visa that has been issued for study at another University.

If you are making an appication with dependants, please see further information here.

Step 2 - Getting your CAS

Once you have met all of the conditions of your offer, you will be sent a draft of the information your CAS number will show and a link for the form to request your CAS. You must check the information carefully and fill out the request form.

If I have an offer, why do I need to request a CAS?

An offer issued to you does not automatically entitle you to a CAS and, as part of the CAS request, we will require more information from you.

You must ensure you provide all the necessary information as soon as possible.  If there is anything that needs to be addressed before you submit a visa application then it is much easier for us to help you if you submit your CAS request in a timely manner.

What information do I need to provide?

In order to apply for your CAS number, you will need to provide certain information, including:

1. Details of any student visas you have held to study in the United Kingdom.

2. Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself whilst studying in the UK:

  • if you are sponsored by an official financial sponsor, you will need an official sponsor letter as evidence
  • if you are supporting yourself, you will need to show that the required maintenance amount and any outstanding tuition fee amounts have been held in your bank account for 28 consecutive days
  • please note: if your financial evidence is not in English or Welsh, you will need to submit an original certified translation

You can find information on how much money you need to show to meet the Home Office’s requirements and how to demonstrate this on the UKCISA website and in the Home Office’s Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

3. Check whether you need a TB certificate to apply for a CAS

The University of Salford will be asking all students who are resident in any of these listed countries to provide a TB certificate prior to being issued a CAS.

For any student who thinks they are exempt from being required to provide a TB certificate as they meet the criteria stipulated below MUST supply necessary proof of exemption before a CAS can be issued:

Who doesn’t need to be tested

You won’t need a TB test if any of the following apply:

  • you’re a diplomat accredited to the UK
  • you’re a returning UK resident and haven’t been away for more than 2 years
  • you lived for at least 6 months in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK, and you’ve been away from that country for no more than 6 months

4.Your Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate (where applicable).  If you require an ATAS, please read our guide here.

How long will it take for my CAS to be issued?

The Admissions team will need to complete various checks before your CAS can be issued.  Your CAS will therefore take ten working days to issue once all required information has been provided.

What will my CAS look like?

Your CAS will be emailed to you.  When you receive this, please check all the information carefully to make sure everything is correct.  If there are any errors or you have paid further tuition fees, please let us know as soon as possible by emailing

What is the University’s policy on issuing CAS following a visa refusal?

The University may be able to issue you with a new CAS following a visa refusal.  As Immigration Rules are subject to change, each refusal will be considered on a case by case basis before deciding if a new CAS can be issued.  

For example, you will not be issued with a new CAS if your visa refusal was based on any of the following:

  • you have failed a credibility interview
  • you have submitted different documents to those checked by the University before we issued you a CAS
  • you have submitted fraudulent documents, either intentionally or unintentionally. In this case the full study deposit you paid to University will also be retained by the University
  • you have overstayed, either intentionally or unintentionally, on a previous visa before submitting your new visa application.

Please note that the University of Salford also adheres to a maximum two CAS per course policy.  This means that if your Tier 4 application has been refused and the University is able to issue you with a second CAS number for the course of study you are applying for, this will also be your last CAS for any course of study at the University of Salford. If you receive another Tier 4 refusal we will not sponsor you under Tier 4.

Step 3 - Applying for your visa

Once you have received you CAS, you can make your Tier 4 (General) application to apply for ‘entry clearance’. You must ensure you make your application on time so that you will receive a decision in time to arrive for the start date of your course. Visa processing times can be accessed  by clicking here.

Please note: you should always refer to the most recent Home Office rules and guidance before making a Tier 4 visa application.  

How to apply for entry clearance

To make a successful entry clearance application you must be able to demonstrate that you meet the requirements of the Tier 4 (General) Points Based System. This means that you must be able to provide:

  • CAS number

You must write the CAS number in the appropriate field on the Tier 4 application form.  The Home Office will check this number to confirm that you are starting a course of study with Salford University.

  • ATAS

If your CAS indicates that you require an ATAS Certificate, please read the ATAS guide.

  • Certificates and Transcripts

If your CAS indicates that you need to submit documents to the Home Office, you must send the original documents.

  • Financial Evidence

You must submit original evidence that you have enough money to support yourself whilst studying in the UK (this must be the financial evidence that we have checked before issuing you a CAS).

  • Tuberculosis Screening

You will need to have a tuberculosis (TB) test at a UKVI approved clinic if you are coming to the UK for more than six months and are a resident of any of these listed countries.  If your test shows you do not have TB you will be given a certificate that is valid for six months.  You will need to include this certificate with your UK visa application.  For more information please see here.

You do not need to apply for a TB certificate if:

  • you are a diplomat accredited to the UK  
  • you are a returning UK resident and have not been away for more than two years  
  • you lived for at least six months in a country where TB screening is not required by the UK, and you have been away from that country for no more than six months  
  • Translations

If your immigration application includes any documents which are not in English (or Welsh), you must also include an original certified translation of each document which meets specific requirements.

Completing your Tier 4 (General) application

To apply for a Tier 4 (General) visa you will need to complete an online application.

Please note: If you have ever overstayed and/or breached any of the conditions of your immigration permission during a previous stay in the UK, you must disclose this on all applications you  submit to the Home Office. If you do not disclose this information, you risk being refused a visa for a long period.  

Preparing and completing the application

  1. Before completing your Tier 4 visa application, please familiarise yourself with the most recent Home Office rules and guidance.  
  2. Look at the process for submitting the application in your country. You will be able to find out whether you need to make an appointment or complete an online form and if you need to have a tuberculosis test.  
  3. Complete the online application form using our application guide. As part of the application, you will be directed to pay for    your immigration health surcharge. You can find out here if you need to pay the immigration health surcharge and how much you need to pay.  
  4. Submit the completed application as directed for your country.  
  5. You can find out your visa application fee here and visa processing time here.

Submitting the application

To find out the cost of your visa application, see here. Some visa application centres also charge an additional ‘User pays fee’.

In some countries, you can pay an additional ‘priority fee’ or a ‘super priority fee’ to have your Tier 4 application processed quicker. To find your local visa application centre and check which services are available, select your home country from the list of visa application centres.  


Once you have completed your application form, you will be instructed to make an appointment. At this appointment, you will have to provide your biometric information.

Credibility interview

Tier 4 applicants must attend a credibility interview at a visa application centre. This interview is to ensure you are entering the UK for genuine reasons. Your interview will be with a Home Office staff member and you will be asked a variety of questions. You should make sure that you are fully prepared for your credibility interview.

The report of your credibility interview will be sent to the entry clearance officer who is making a decision on your Tier 4 application.

Visa applications made outside of your home country

You must make the visa application from your home country unless you currently hold some form of residency for the country you wish to make your application from. Libyan nationals are currently advised to make their visa applications from Tunis as there is no British Embassy currently operating within Libya.

Step 4 - Awaiting the decision

The time required to get a decision on your visa application will depend on where you are making your application.  To find out how long it may take for your application to be processed you should check the visa processing times for your home country.

Step 5 - Home Office decision

My application has been successful

Congratulations! Your entry clearance will be issued as a vignette (sticker) in your passport.  

If your Tier 4 application was for six months or less, your vignette will be valid for your whole period of leave.  Otherwise, your vignette will only be valid for 30 days.  Your vignette will be valid 30 days before the course start date on your CAS or seven days before the date that you specified on your application as your intended date of travel to the UK; whichever is later.  You will receive your 30 day vignette with a ‘decision letter’.  When you enter the UK you should show the border force officer your 30-day vignette and this letter.

You must collect your biometric residency permit (BRP) within ten days of arriving in the UK.  Your decision letter will indicate where you should collect your BRP from and when it will be available.  Please see here for details on how to collect your BRP.  You need to check your BRP carefully to check it includes all the correct information and that there are no errors.

We need to know your immigration status.  We will need to see you in person with your vignette, decision letter and new BRP, so you should make a same day appointment to see the team.

You should also keep your own records up to date.  We recommend keeping a photocopy of your vignette and your BRP.  You should also put a note in your diary three months before your visa will expire to remind you to make the necessary preparations.   

My application has been refused

If the Home Office refuse your application you should contact the CAS team immediately to discuss your options.

If the Home Office refuse your application and you think that, based on the evidence you submitted with your application, the refusal was incorrect, you can ask for an administrative review.  The administrative review process is explained in Annex 4 of the Home Office's Tier 4 Policy Guidance.  

There is no fee for this but you must request the administrative review within 28 days of the date you receive your refusal notice.  Except in certain circumstances, you cannot submit new or different documents but we recommend that you include a detailed letter explaining why you believe the decision is incorrect.

Depending on your individual circumstances, you may also be able to make a new entry clearance application.  You can discuss your options with the CAS team.

Step 6 - Your responsibilities under Tier 4

As soon as you have been issued with a visa showing the University of Salford’s sponsor license number, you and the University both have a responsibility to comply with Tier 4 immigration rules.

Please familiarise yourself with your key responsibilities here and here.  Remember – your visa, your responsibility.