International students

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

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What you need to know

To apply for a Student Visa, you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University. This is an electronic document stored on a Home Office database, but we will also provide you with a CAS statement. This includes a unique reference number which you will need to enter onto your online Student Visa application form and sets out all the information that we have provided to the Home Office.

If you will be starting a course at Essex and will need a CAS, here’s some useful information for you. 

The CAS process

The University can only issue a CAS where we are confident that you meet the requirements set out in the Student and Child Student Guidance and the relevant Immigration Rules, so we will need to ask you some questions as part of the process to make sure you’re eligible for our sponsorship for immigration purposes.

These necessary checks mean that we are unable to issue your CAS statement immediately once you have paid your deposit (where a deposit is required) or had your place at Essex confirmed. However, we will always work hard to issue your CAS statement as quickly as possible.

Information for those starting a new course in 2021/22


Timeframe  Status 
5- 6 months before the start of course Admissions will start to send out CAS questionnaires and request any outstanding information and documents. Look out for emails from us! If your CAS questionnaire confirms that you intend to apply for your visa within the UK, we will need to pause your CAS issue process and restart 3 months before the start of your course, due to Home Office rules.
5 months before the start of course Admissions will start to issue CAS to eligible applicants intending to apply for their Student visa outside of the UK.
2-3 months before the start of course Admissions will start to issue CAS to eligible applicants intending to apply for their Student visa in the UK.
1 month before the start of course  We will have issued the majority of our CAS, and will normally only issue new CAS on a case-by-case basis at this point.

Pre-sessional English courses

University of Essex International College offers a range of pre-sessional English courses which you may choose to take, before you start your main course of study. These programmes aim to support applicants to achieve the English language conditions of their offer and/or improve academic study skills commonly used in the UK.

These programmes are available to take either on campus in the UK or online from your home country.

If you need to improve your English you will need to hold a Secure English Language Test (SELT) if you wish to study the Pre-Sessional programme on campus, in the UK.

If you meet the eligibility criteria, we will issue you a single CAS to cover both your pre-sessional English course and your main course of study. Where we are not able to issue you with a single CAS to cover both your pre-sessional English course and main course, we will issue a CAS for your pre-sessional English course only. Once you have successfully completed your pre-sessional programme, we will issue another CAS to cover your degree course, if eligible, and you will need to make a new Student Visa application to cover this period of study. You will be able to make this application inside the UK provided you are eligible.

If you study your pre-sessional programme online we will issue you a CAS for your main course programme once we receive confirmation that you have successfully completed your pre-sessional programme and your offer is unconditional. 

The information on your CAS

Your course

If your Student visa application is successful, one of the conditions of your visa is that you must study the course stated on your CAS statement with the sponsor that issued it. It is therefore important that you carefully consider the course you have chosen. If you are unsure about your course choice or are considering adding a year abroad or work placement year (if applicable), please contact the Admissions Adviser named on your offer letter before you proceed with your Student visa application. If you want to change your course and/or institution after making your visa application you may have to obtain a new visa first and are unlikely to be able to do so from within the UK.

If you do not think you will be able to arrive in the UK and start your course by the Latest Arrival Date on your CAS, please let us know as soon as possible by contacting

Payments made

Your CAS statement will include a record of any payments to date. It is important that this information is correct. You should plan to make any payments before we issue your CAS, so that we can then show these on your CAS. Sometimes changes need to be made to a CAS because payments have been made towards fees after it has been issued (there is more about paying fees and other money you need to hold below).

Before you make your visa application, contact to let us know once any fees have been paid to the University. These payments can then be verified and added to your live CAS record (on the Home Office online system), but only if your CAS has not yet been used to make a visa application.

Any payments made to the University after you have made your Student visa application will not be taken into account by the Home Office. We are unable to add payments to the CAS once it has been marked as ‘used’ by the Home Office.

Checking the information on your CAS

We will check your CAS very carefully before uploading it to the Home Office system, but we ask that you also check your CAS statement carefully when you receive it so that we can resolve any issues as early as possible.


Important information on applying for a visa - your money and documents

You must make sure that you have all the original evidence specified by the Home Office that shows you meet all the Student visa requirements on the date you make your visa application. You must provide all the documents required by the Home Office including financial proofs and a valid TB certificate, if you need one. You should also hold proof of the qualification stated on your CAS, but should not submit this unless you are asked to do so.

Read the available guidance

UKCISA has clear and useful guidance that we recommend you read now rather than waiting until you are about to make your visa application. Appendix Finance and paragraph ST 12.6 of Appendix ST lists the information that must be included in any financial document that you use to support your application. 

Make sure you have the necessary finances in place

The Student visa rules require you to have enough money when you make your visa application, and to supply the required evidence. You need to have enough money for:

  • Tuition fees for the first year of your course - Your first year’s tuition fees will be shown on your CAS. If you’ve made any payment(s) to the University toward your fees, the total paid will also be shown on your CAS once verified. You’ll need to have enough money to pay the remaining balance of fees. Please see the “Payments made” section above for steps you must take if you have made a payment after your CAS has been issued.
  • Living costs for the first year of your course - The amount you will need to have to study at our campuses is £1,023 per calendar month for each month of your course up to a maximum of nine months (maximum is £9,207).
  • If you have paid towards your University accommodation and this is reflected on your CAS, you can deduct a maximum of £1,334 from the total amount you’ll need to have for living costs.
  • The visa application fee
  • The biometric enrolment fee
  • The Immigration Health Surcharge, unless you are exempt.

Make sure the money is held in the correct place, for the required time, and that you have the documents to evidence this.

Unless you are using a loan letter, your documents must show that the full amount of money that you need has been in the account for 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. This means that the account must not have dropped below the amount that you need to show at any time during the 28 day period. In addition, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days old on the date that you submit your Student route application.

You should maintain the balance at the minimum amount required until your visa is issued, although you can pay tuition fees to the University if you need to. The money you’ve declared to be available for living expenses and tuition fees should remain available to you for those purposes.

Before you submit your visa application, read the extensive UKCISA guidance for more information about the maintenance requirements and make sure you have the documentary evidence you need.

Using a family member’s bank account? Make sure you can meet the requirements.

You may be able to use a parent or legal guardian’s bank account as evidence but if you do this you’ll also need additional documents to meet the Home Office requirements, including evidence of their relationship to you.  See UKCISA guidance on using a parent or legal guardian’s funds. It is not possible to use the account of another family member who is not your parent or legal guardian.

'Low-risk' nationals

If you are from a country or are a holder of a passport described in paragraph 22 of Appendix ST of the Immigration Rules you will be treated as a ‘low-risk’ applicant, provided you are making your application in a country where you are living or inside the UK. You should not submit your financial documents, academic or English language qualifications when you make your visa application. However, you must ensure that you have this evidence and provide it to the Home Office (UKVI) if they request it, including official translations if the documents are not in English.

Find out about how to make your Student Visa application

Our immigration webpages have useful information about making your visa application, and UKCISA has specific guidance on making your application from outside the UK, or within the UK.

Preparing for an interview

You should expect to be interviewed, as part of the visa application process.

You’re likely to be asked to explain the reasons why you have chosen to study in the UK and at the University of Essex, and why you have chosen the course that you will be studying. You may also be asked about what your plans are after you have finished studying, and how you intend to fund your study.

You can see more information about interviews, and how you can prepare for them, on our immigration page.

Visa refusals

The University has a very low rate of visa refusals. If you ensure that you meet all Student visa requirements when you make your application, then there is a very low risk of refusal.

It is important that you let the University know as soon as possible if your visa application is rejected or refused, even if you are also getting advice elsewhere (e.g. from a lawyer), or have been in touch with the Home Office yourself. This is because we want you to be able to join us at Essex if possible, and would like to assist you as much as we are able to. Not taking prompt action could result in you not being able to obtain a visa to study in the UK this year. Please see our immigration webpages for more information.

Where a refusal has been made on the grounds of ‘credibility’ we will not issue a further CAS, unless the refusal is successfully overturned as a result of an Administrative Review of the decision.

Any Questions?

If you have a specific question about your University of Essex CAS or are concerned you may not be able to meet all the Student visa requirements, please contact us by emailing