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Visa guidance

To apply for a visa to study at The University of Manchester, international students must have a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issued by the University.

The CAS is a unique reference number which confirms that the University has agreed to be your Tier 4 sponsor and provides information about you and your study to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as part of your visa application.

You should consider the following:

Receiving your CAS number

When we assess your eligibility for a CAS we will consider your previous studies in the UK and whether you have a genuine intention to study the course you have applied for.

Once you have accepted an unconditional offer for your programme, and paid any mandatory deposits required, you will be sent a draft CAS email asking you to confirm that your details are correct. Once you have replied to the draft CAS email, we will process your CAS and email it to you as soon as it is ready, but no more than three months before your course start date.

It is not necessary to submit the CAS statement email with your visa application.

Your CAS number is only valid for one Tier 4 application. If your visa application is refused you must tell us so we can advise you on what to do next.

Please read our guidance 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.

Our guidance will help you complete your online visa application form and tells you what documents are required as part of your application.

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 by a 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, please use your personal email address. You should also enter our ACL code (2HE372) in the alternative location field on the biometric residence permit collection page of the online visa application. This will allow you to collect your card from the University during international student check-in.

Planning fee payments to fit in with your visa application

As you make preparations for your visa application and appointment, please bear in mind that any tuition 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 will need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate to study some postgraduate and undergraduate science, engineering and technology subjects in the UK.  

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

ATAS is a requirement for all international students undertaking studies or research for more than six months, regardless of the 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 we make you an offer. If you will 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 emailed to you directly from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 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

The UK immigration authorities have introduced compulsory tuberculosis (TB) testing for students from some countries. You will need evidence of your test as part of your immigration application to study in the UK.

You can check the TB information on the UKVI website to find out if you are required to obtain a certificate and 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 term-time for postgraduate students. 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: