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

Once you have accepted an unconditional offer for your programme, and paid any mandatory deposits required, your academic School will start the CAS process. 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. 

Please read our guidance before you start to fill in your Tier 4 application and download our guide to completing the online visa application form.

When 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 obtain your Tier 4 visa before the start of your course, even if you intend to delay your journey to Manchester. To help students plan their travel flexibly, the UKVI has said until the end of September it will issue 90-day entry vignettes to successful Tier 4 visa applicants, rather than the standard 30-day entry vignettes. The UKVI will also replace entry vignettes free of charge until the end of December 2020.

How to apply for your visa

Our guidance will help you complete your online visa application form and tells you what documents are required as part of your application. Please read this guidance carefully, including the financial evidence requirements.  

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.

Collect your BRP card from the University – use our ACL code (2HE372)

When your Tier 4 entry clearance visa application is successful, you will be issued an entry vignette in your passport which will enable you to enter the UK. Your actual visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), will need to be collected on arrival in the UK. Your BRP is the documentary evidence of your UK immigration permission.
 
As a University of Manchester student you will be able to collect your Tier 4 BRP at the University but in order to do this, you must enter a particular code, called an ACL code, in the BRP collection page of your Tier 4 visa online application form.

Our ACL code is 2HE372.

If you do not use our ACL code (2HE372) in your visa application, your BRP card will be sent to a post office for you to collect. Please note that it is not possible for someone under the age of 18 to collect a BRP card from a Post Office unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult who has been approved by the Home Office in advance.  If you have a guardian in the UK who is able to collect the BRP on your behalf then you must register their details.

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.

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.

The UK Home Office has announced a new graduate immigration route (post-study work visa) that will come into effect in the summer of 2021. This will allow graduates to stay in the UK to work or look for work.

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

Arriving in the UK 

If you are coming from outside the EEA and are travelling on a visa, you will need to go through immigration control at the airport when you arrive in the UK.

What to expect at the airport

The UK Border Force has produced a 'ten top tips' information leaflet providing guidance on getting through the UK border controls as efficiently as possible.

In addition to the information outlined in this leaflet, you are advised to carry your Tier 4 visa application decision letter in your hand-luggage. The decision letter will have been issued to you to confirm your visa application was successful. 

If you are a short-term student who is eligible to apply for a visa on landing in the UK, you will also need to show the Immigration Officer your short-term study letter or your offer letter, as well as evidence that you can support yourself and pay (or have paid) your tuition fees.

Arriving via the Republic of Ireland

If your course is shorter than six months and you are a non-visa national who intends to obtain a short-term study visa on arrival in the UK, you should not travel to the UK via the Republic of Ireland. If you do this, you will not pass through UK immigration control and you will not be able to obtain a visa to study.