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.

Cost of living

In addition to your tuition fee, you must be able to show you have sufficient funds to cover your living costs. The Home Office requires that you demonstrate available funds calculated at the rate of £1,015 per month for up to a maximum of nine months (if studying outside of London).

This means that if you are studying an undergraduate or postgraduate level degree course of 12 months or longer at The University of Manchester, you will need to show that you have £9,135 (£1,015 x 9) to cover your living expenses.

Accommodation fee payments

If you are staying in University accommodation and have made payments to the University towards your accommodation costs, and this is confirmed in your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement, then you can deduct up to a maximum of £1,265 of this payment from the amount that you need to show for your living costs.

For example, if you have paid £3,000 to the University towards your accommodation then you will be able to deduct £1,265 only from the above mentioned total cost of living requirement, which leaves £7,870 as the amount necessary to show as being available to meet your living costs (i.e. £9,135 - £1,265 = £7,870).

If you haven't made payments to the University towards your accommodation costs and/or these are not confirmed in your CAS, then you will need to show the full amount of £9,135.

Find out more about immigration and visas

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:

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 you need

If you obtained your visa before travelling to the UK, you will need to show the Immigration Officer the documents you submitted with your immigration permission application.

You should have these documents easily available in your hand luggage.

If you have applied for a short-term study visa, 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.

What to expect at the airport

The Immigration Officer will ask you your reasons for coming to the UK, to check you are a genuine student and that you intend to leave the UK when you complete your studies. You should be able to explain your study plans clearly without having to use an interpreter.

Your passport will be date-stamped to confirm that you meet the immigration requirements to study in the UK.

If you are unclear about anything that you have been told by an Immigration Officer, or about what has been stamped in your passport, or if you experience any problems at immigration control, please contact the Student Immigration Team.

Keep your boarding pass and ticket as you 
will need to provide details of how and when you travelled to the UK if you apply for another visa in the future.

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.