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Immigration and visas

Our team of specialist advisers in the Student Immigration Team offer comprehensive guidance for international students on applying for immigration permission (a visa) before their arrival in Manchester. The team is regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner.

Within our Crucial Guide for Students we provide a step-by-step guide to immigration for students who are planning to arrive in the UK. It includes advice on how to check if you require visa permission, how to apply for a visa and what to do if your visa application is refused.

You need to consider the following with regard to your student visa:

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.

Immigration health care surcharge

If you are applying for immigration permission (visa) for more than six months, you must pay an additional fee to entitle you to free health care under the National Health Service. The charge is £150 for each student and £150 for each dependant for each year for the duration of your immigration permission (visa). Visit the UKVI website to find out more about the healthcare surcharge.

Use the UKVI fee calculator to work out what length of immigration permission you will be granted and work out what fee you will be charged. If you'll be studying a course of 12 months or more, you'll be granted immigration permission for the duration of your course plus an additional one month before the course starts and four months at the end of the course. Use the course start and end dates on your CAS to work out how much you need to pay (one year plus five months = £225).

If your immigration permission includes part of a year, UKVI will round the cost up or down, so if it includes part of a year but less than six months, you'll pay an additional £75, and if your permission includes part of a year that is longer than six months you will pay £150 for that year. If you're not sure how much you should pay for the healthcare surcharge please contact us.

You'll be asked to pay the charge as part of the visa application process and you'll receive confirmation by email of your confirmation reference number.

If you're from Australia or New Zealand, you're exempt from paying the immigration health charge but you must still complete the online form and obtain a reference number.

You must still pay the charge even if you have private medical insurance.

Collection of BRP Cards from the UK

If you're applying for your Tier 4 visa outside the UK, you will be granted an endorsement in your passport (vignette or sticker inside your passport), which is your visa to enter the UK. If your visa is granted for a period of six months or more, you will be given a 30-day visa to travel to the UK. You must arrange to enter the UK within that 30-day period. The earliest date that you can travel to the UK is one month before the start of your course, so if your course starts on 21 September, the earliest date that your 30-day vignette will be valid from is 21 August.

Along with your 30-day visa in your passport, you'll also receive a written notification (or decision letter) informing you of where you should collect your full visa in the UK, which will be in the form of a biometric residence permit (BRP) card. You must carry this letter with you when you enter the UK as you will need the letter to collect your BRP card. You'll also require this letter if you need to obtain temporary registration from the University.

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 registration.

Your BRP card will contain your Tier 4 immigration permission (visa) and the conditions attached to it. On arrival in the UK you must collect your BRP card containing your immigration permission (visa) from the University (or a local Post Office). Read pages 5 to 9 of the UKVI guidance (PDF document, 510KB) for more information. You can also find useful information about the process on the UKCISA website.

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: