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Visa guidance

To study at The University of Manchester, international students require a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

You need to consider the following:

Receiving your CAS number

When your offer becomes unconditional, we will email you a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number in a CAS statement.

The CAS statement includes your CAS number and the information we have sent to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). Our Tier 4 sponsor licence number, name, address and the rest of the information in the CAS Statement need to be copied into your Tier 4 application.

Check that the information in your CAS is correct. If there are any errors, email as soon as possible.

You cannot use your CAS to apply for a visa more than three months before the start date of your course. This means that if you intend to begin a course on 21 September 2015, the earliest you can apply for your visa is 21 June 2015.

Your CAS number is only valid for one Tier 4 application.

Please read the immigration information in our Crucial Guide  before you start to fill in your Tier 4 application.

How to apply for your visa

The earliest you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa is three months before the start date of the course.  

You can find out where and how to apply for your visa in your home country from the UKVI website.

The information in our Student Support website will help you to apply for your visa and tells you what documents are required as part of the application.

There is also useful information about how to make a Tier 4 application on the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website.

Tier 4 applications can take up to three weeks to be processed and may take longer at busy periods or if your application has to be processed at a the British Embassy in another country. You can find out how long it will take for your application to be processed from the UKVI website.

When you apply for your visa, make sure that you enter our ACL code (2HE372) in the Alternative Location field in the Biometric Residence Permit Collection Page of the online application. This will allow you to collect your card from the University during International Check-In.

Documents required for your Tier 4 application

You need to submit the following documents as part of your application:

  • a passport that is valid for approximately a month after you arrive in Manchester;
  • one new passport photograph that meets the UKVI guidance;
  • valid CAS (write your CAS number in the online Tier 4 form if you are applying from overseas);
  • original qualification documents that are listed in your CAS, eg degree certificate or transcripts or English qualification (if your qualification documents are not in English you need to have them translated by a professional translator (PDF document, 153 KB));
  • original sponsor letter (if you are financially sponsored);
  • original bank statements (if you are self-financing);
  • ATAS certificate (if your course requires one);
  • original birth certificate (if you are providing your parents’ bank statements);
  • letter of consent from your parents (if you are providing your parents’ bank statements).

If you are starting a new course in the UK and you are self-financing you need to show that you have kept £9,135 for living expenses plus your first year’s tuition fees in your bank account or your parent’s bank account for 28 consecutive days before you apply. 

You cannot use shares, bonds, private loans or company accounts as evidence of funds. You can only use your own bank statements or your parents’ bank statements as evidence of funds.  There are strict requirements about the use of loan letters and deposit certificates so contact our Student Immigration Team if you want to check if your financial documents are suitable.  There is further information in our Crucial Guide.

The most common Tier 4 refusals are due to incorrect documents submitted or insufficient funds in the bank account.

Tier 4 time limits on study

If you have previously studied in the UK, please be aware that there are now limits on how long you can study below degree level and at degree level. Anyone over 18 is allowed to study for up to two years at below degree level and five years at degree level.

The UKCISA has created guidance to help students calculate whether an application for a further period of study will be possible under the time limits. Please visit the UKCISA website to access the guidance.

If you have studied in the UK before, you must inform the admissions staff in the academic School that you will be studying in.

Planning fee payments to fit in with your visa application

As you make preparations for your visa application/appointment, please bear in mind that any fee or accommodation prepayments to the University will need to clear in the University’s bank account and be receipted in order for them to be reflected in your CAS.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

You'll need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate to study some postgraduate and some undergraduate science, engineering and technology subjects in the UK.  

If you'll be applying for a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you must apply for ATAS before you apply for your visa. 

Since 6 April 2015, the requirement for ATAS has been extended to include all international students undertaking studies or research for more than six months, regardless of visa category. 

If this requirement applies to your course, your academic School will inform you that you need to apply for an ATAS certificate when it makes you an offer. If you’ll be applying for a Tier 4 visa, your CAS will also record that you need to obtain an ATAS certificate.

ATAS applications are free, submitted online and take at least 20 working days to process. Certificates are sent to you by email. Given the delays in obtaining ATAS clearance, and the fact that you can apply when your offer is still conditional, we recommend that you apply as soon as you are able.

Tuberculosis screening

Nationals in a number of countries are required to obtain a certificate from an International Organisation for Migration accredited clinic showing that they are free from infectious tuberculosis (TB).

You can check the TB information on the UKVI website to find out if nationals of your country are required to obtain a certificate and, where this screening is a requirement, to obtain details of the clinics and fee in your country.

Working in the UK during and after your studies

As a Tier 4 student studying a degree-level programme, you are permitted to work for a maximum of 20 hours a week during term-time and full-time during vacation periods. Master's students cannot work full-time during the summer as this is classed as term-time. PhD students must agree any periods of vacation with their supervisors in advance.

You can find out more about how the latest work visa regulations affect opportunities to work in the UK on our Careers Service website: