What is a CAS?
To apply for a new Tier 4 Student visa, applicants must have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by Durham University. The CAS is a unique reference number which confirms that we have agreed to be an applicant’s educational sponsor for their Tier 4 Visa. It provides UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) with your personal details, information about Durham University and your course of study and includes details of any payments towards fees.
Who needs a CAS?
Any applicant who requires a Tier 4 Student Visa to study in the UK will need a CAS in order to make their visa application. You can find out if you require a Tier 4 visa, here: www.durham.ac.uk/immigration/studentvisas
CAS numbers and Visas are specific to where and what you are studying. Therefore, if you use a Durham University CAS, your visa will only be valid for study at Durham University and for the particular course stated on the CAS and you will need a new CAS every time you make a new Tier 4 application either for a new course or to study at a different institution. Part-time study is not permitted on a Tier 4 Student visa.
When will I receive my CAS?
A CAS can be produced up to 5 months before the course start date.
To be eligible for CAS, you must:
- have no outstanding conditions and have paid the tuition fee deposit, if applicable;
- have firmly accepted your Durham offer;
- have used the same name on your application as the name used for your passport and your qualifications (this is a common issue which can delay the production of your CAS);
- have confirmed that the details in the email we send to you in advance (known as the pre-CAS email) are correct;
- have provided evidence of your qualifications. For some undergraduate applicants, this evidence is received by us directly from examination boards, through UCAS. For qualifications not in English, certified translations must be provided. This means that the original document must be accompanied by a translation provided by a professional translator. Please see 'Which documents do I need to provide?' for full details of requirements for translated documents.
To be eligible for CAS, undergraduate applicants must also have been allocated a college. For undergraduate applicants who initially choose Durham University as their insurance offer and those undergraduate applicants who narrowly miss the conditions of their offer but are accepted anyway, their college allocation will be confirmed in August.
Once you have fulfilled all of the above, the Admissions Office will then process the CAS and email this to you directly as soon as it is ready.
For current Durham students continuing on the same programme, the process is slightly different. Students who either need to extend their visa in order to complete the same programme that their current visa is valid for, or to resume study after a period of suspension, need to request a CAS from the Student Immigration Office at least 2 months before they intend to make a visa application.
How do I receive a CAS?
The CAS process is automatic so you do not need to contact us to start the process. Once you have met all of the previously listed criteria, we will begin the CAS process for you.
The CAS statement will be sent to you by email. However before the official CAS statement is sent to you, we will send you a pre-CAS email, confirming all of your personal details, the qualifications you have been considered on and information about the programme you are coming to study. The information included is based on the information you provided in your application. You will need to check this information carefully for any errors or omissions and inform us of any changes or updates required as soon as possible.
Who is responsible for issuing my CAS?
Recruitment and Admissions process the CAS for:
- Current Durham students applying for a new programme;
- New students applying from outside the UK;
- New students moving from another UK University.
The Student Immigration Office (SIO) process the CAS for any current Durham students continuing on the same programme who either need to extend their visa in order to complete the same programme that their current visa is valid for, or to resume study after a period of suspension.
How long does it take?
All CAS are produced on a first-come, first-served basis, so applicants who are ready for CAS first will be processed first, taking into consideration the start date of the course (with the exception of any applicants who may be subject to extreme extenuating circumstances). Aside from that, all applicants are treated equally in order to maintain a fair and transparent admissions service.
Once you have become fully unconditional, all of the documents required have been received and checked for suitability for CAS, and you have responded to your pre-CAS email, it normally takes up to 2-3 working days for your CAS to be issued. The Home Office will normally return CAS numbers immediately but on rare occasions, if there is a problem with the record or the Home Office systems, this can take up to 48 hours to resolve.
During the busy summer period the timeframe for issuing a CAS may increase, particularly in August when the largest volume of undergraduate applicant results are received.
At peak times such as this we request that you do not contact the Admissions Team or the International Office about the status of your CAS if you have completed all of the steps outlined in 'When will I receive my CAS?'. We prioritise the processing of CAS over responding to individual enquiries, so please do note that it may take a little longer to respond than usual if you do contact us during this time.
Which documents do I need to provide?
Before we can issue you with your CAS number we will need you to provide us with some additional information:
If you need to change, update or renew your passport before you apply for your visa to study in the UK or before you travel to the UK, please be advised that you should do this as soon as possible. If you are unable to immediately provide us with the correct details for your CAS, including your official name and your passport number, this could significantly affect how long it takes to issue you with a CAS number.
Please make sure you have sent your transcripts and certificates, a copy of your passport and any other relevant documents to the following places:
Postgraduate: Please upload your relevant documents via the applicant portal at studyatdurham.microsoftcrmportals.com/en-US. This is the best method of ensuring your documents are reviewed as quickly as possible. Please click ‘Sign-in to manage your postgraduate application’ and upload a document against the relevant application.
Undergraduate: Please upload your relevant documents by following these instructions.
Please note that UKVI regulations are very strict about the content of the documents that applicants are required to submit as part of the visa application and UKVI officials are likely to reject any that do not meet requirements.
Please ensure that the documents you provide contain all of the following information:
- Your full legal name;
- Name of the academic institution you studied at;
- Course title;
- Confirmation of the award, including date it was awarded.
Please note that UKVI will not accept provisional certificates.
You are not required to bring a copy of your University offer letter to your visa appointment.
Documents not in English
Qualification documents must either be in English or have an English translation provided in order to meet UK Home Office regulations. If your certificate or transcript is in a different language and you have an English translation, the translation documents must meet the Home Office translation requirements.
There are some differences in the requirements for translated documents depending on where you are making your visa application.
Students applying for a visa in the UK
The translation must include all of the following:
- Details of the translator / translation company’s credentials
- Confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document
- The translator / translation company’s contact details
- The translator's name, original signature and date of translation
Students applying for a visa from outside the UK
English versions of certificates or transcripts from the awarding university must be on official university headed paper and any university seal or stamp must also be in English.
Where documents are not in English, translations must include all of the following:
- Confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document
- The translator / translation company’s contact details
- The translator / translation company's name, original signature and date of translation
You will need to provide both the original (untranslated) document and the translated versions.
Further information can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/visitor-visa-guide-to-supporting-documents and www.durham.ac.uk/immigration/extendvisa/supportingdocuments/translation
If you require details of appropriate translation services, details can also be found at www.durham.ac.uk/immigration/extendvisa/supportingdocuments/translation
You will also need to provide evidence of your English language ability as part of your visa application.
Information on acceptable English language tests can be found here: www.durham.ac.uk/learningandteaching.handbook/1/3/1.3.3_other_accepted_indication_of_english_language_proficiency/220.127.116.11
English language knowledge can also be evidenced in alternative ways: www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/knowledge-of-english
If you have any queries regarding English language evidence for your Tier 4 visa, please do contact the Admissions Office for advice.
How long will my CAS be valid for?
Your CAS will be valid for 6 months but can only be used 3 months prior to the course start date. You cannot use your CAS more than once.
For example, if your course has a start date of 1 October 2019, the earliest date that your CAS could be issued is 1 May 2019. You would then be able to use your CAS number to make your visa application from 1 July 2019 and your CAS would be valid until 1 November 2019.
When can I apply for my Student Visa?
All Tier 4 applicants require a valid Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number in order to make an application. You are strongly advised not to book your visa appointment until you have actually received your CAS, as we cannot guarantee you will receive this in time for any pre-booked appointments. Information regarding visa processing times in different countries can be found here: www.gov.uk/visa-processing-times
Once you have your CAS, you can use this to apply for your visa up to 3 months before the start date of your programme.The CAS number is individual to you and you will need this to apply for your Tier 4 visa. Each CAS issued is linked to the programme and University/Institution who issued it, so you can only use a CAS to get a visa for that University (if you change your mind and wish to go to another University, you will need to get a CAS and visa for that institution). If you decide not to use a CAS issued by Durham University, or if your situation changes in such a way that the information on your CAS needs to change, please contact us using the contact details listed at the bottom of this page.
What is ATAS clearance and do I need it?
If you are applying to study a postgraduate research based, taught postgraduate programme or undergraduate integrated masters programme in some subjects related to science, technology or engineering, you may need to apply for Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance to support your Tier 4 (General) visa application.
If your programme of study requires you to have ATAS clearance, we will inform you of this. Please note that it is an applicant’s responsibility to apply for ATAS clearance online from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).
There is no charge for the application or certificate. You should allow at least 20 working days for your ATAS application to be processed and certificate emailed to you, however please start this process as early as possible as at peak times this can take longer.
Once you have received ATAS clearance, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office will send us a copy of your ATAS clearance certificate for your applicant file.
Further information can be found here:
Previous UK study & Academic Progression
UK Immigration regulations require us to identify academic progression which means that, when considering an application from someone who requires a visa to study in the UK, we need to check whether they have previously studied at the same level in the UK.
If you have previously studied in the UK under a Tier 4 student visa, it is important that you inform the International Office (if you are an undergraduate applicant) or your academic department (if you are a postgraduate applicant). This is especially important if you are not currently studying at a UK institution and therefore your department may not know that you have studied in the UK previously.
If you have previously studied in the UK under a Tier 4 (General) visa or under the student rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, we are not normally permitted to assign a CAS unless:
- the new course represents academic progress from their previous study, i.e. the new qualification is at a higher academic level than their previous qualification; or
- the applicant is transferring to Durham University to complete a course that they started elsewhere in the UK.
If the new qualification is at the same level as a previous qualification or is at a lower level, it may still be possible to demonstrate academic progression and you should contact us to discuss this.
I have an offer for a place on a degree programme at Durham and I have applied for a place on a Pre-Sessional programme. What does that mean for my visa application?
When you fulfill all the non-English language conditions of your offer, depending on the results of your English language qualifications, you may become eligible for a Combined CAS. If this is the case, you could receive a CAS which covers both the pre-sessional programme and your main programme, meaning you would then only need to make one Tier 4 visa application, rather than two. If you are eligible for a Combined CAS, the Recruitment and Admissions Team will advise you.
I already have an unconditional offer for my degree programme but I want to attend the 5 week Pre-Sessional course to improve my language skills. What does that mean for my visa application?
Applicants to undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes who are already in receipt of an unconditional offer and choose to attend the 5 week Pre-Sessional course may be eligible to receive a CAS for the full duration of their Pre-Sessional course and main programme. Please note, although the offer for your main programme is unconditional, under UKVI regulations you will still be required to pass the pre-sessional programme to be able to progress to your main programme. If you would like to request this, please contact us using the details provided in the ‘How to Contact Us’ section at the bottom of this page.
How to contact us
If you have urgent questions about your CAS or you need to inform the University about changes to your situation, please contact us using the details listed below. However, during peak times (usually June-October) we prioritise the processing of CAS over responding to individual enquiries, so please do note that it may take a little longer to respond than usual if you contact us during this time.
Contact us here
Please visit www.durham.ac.uk/immigration/ for further information on student visas and Immigration support. This link will provide more detailed information on the visa process and will provide you with important information on immigration.
The latest information on the Tier 4 visa application process and requirements is available at the following web-site: www.gov.uk/tier-4-general-visa/apply