International students

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

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What you need to know

From 5 October 2020 Tier 4 visa has been replaced by Student Visa.


In order to apply for a Student Visa, you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the University. This is an electronic document that gets 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.

This page explains what to expect regarding being issued with a CAS to start a new course at Essex, and includes important information that you should know.

The CAS process

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

These necessary checks mean that we are unable to issue your CAS statement immediately as soon as 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.

If we contact you with questions while your place at Essex is still conditional, this is in order to prepare early for issuing your CAS once your place has been confirmed. We will not be able to issue your CAS before then.

We are issuing CAS to applicants that might not yet have their Visa Application Centre (VAC) open, on the basis that we understand that they are re-opening. 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 visaquery@essex.ac.uk.

Information for those starting a new course in October 2020

Our courses will be starting in October and our online registration is now open. We are looking forward to welcoming you, whether you are arriving at one of our campuses straight away or will be studying remotely initially. Find out about our latest updates on joining us in 2020.

As we approach the start of term, we will continue to issue CAS to applicants who have already returned their completed CAS questionnaires.   Once you have received your CAS questionnaire please complete it as soon as possible, even if you expect to study remotely initially. Our online teaching options mean that we may be able to be more flexible with the date that we are able to issue CAS.

If you have been invited to register online, you should do so immediately, and then begin your studies remotely if necessary. We’ll issue your CAS as soon as we can so that you can then make a visa application and travel to join us.  

Information for those starting a new course in January 2021

A number of our Postgraduate Taught and Undergraduate courses are offering a January start date. These courses are available to applicants needing a student visa, and the timeline below will apply.

Timeline

Timeframe  Status 
2-3 months before the start of course Admissions will start to send out pre-CAS questionnaires and request any outstanding information and documents. Look out for emails from us!
2 months before the start of course Admissions will start to issue CAS to eligible applicants.
1 month before the start of course We will have issued the majority of our CAS to eligible applicants, and will look to continue issuing more CAS on a case-by-case basis.

Pre-sessional English courses

University of Essex International College offers a range of pre-sessional English courses and you may choose to take one before you start your main course of study. 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, if eligible. Once you have completed this successfully 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.

For 2020 entry all pre-sessional English courses are available to be studied remotely. Where an applicant does not meet the eligibility criteria to receive a CAS for their pre-Sessional course (e.g. if an applicant has been accepted with an English qualification that is not a Secure English Language Test (SELT) and SELT test centres have reopened in the country they would be making their visa application from), that applicant must complete the entirety of their pre-sessional course online (from outside the UK). Please see the UKCISA webpages for information about concessions that are currently in place for English language tests.

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 Student Visa 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.

Payments made

Sometimes changes need to be made to a CAS because payments have been made towards fees (there is more about paying fees and other money you need to hold below). Before you make your visa application, contact the Admissions Adviser named at the top of your offer letter 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 may 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 information

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 - 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 the qualifications listed on your CAS and a valid TB certificate, if you need one.

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. Paragraph 1B, Appendix C of the Immigration Rules 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 Tier 4 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.
  • Living expenses (maintenance) for the first year of your course - The amount you will need to have to study at our campuses is £1,015 per calendar month for each month of your course up to a maximum of nine months (maximum is £9,135).
  • If you have paid towards your University accommodation, you can deduct a maximum of £1,265 from the total amount you’ll need to have for living expenses. Your accommodation payments will show on your CAS once verified.
  • 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.

    If your money is in a bank account make sure it’s in an account that meets the Tier 4 requirements. The money will need to have been in an acceptable account for a consecutive 28-day period before you make your application and shouldn’t be touched. You can use more than one account. See UKCISA guidance on providing evidence that you meet the maintenance requirements and on checking your financial documents.

    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 an account for 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 Appendix H 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 or Welsh.

    Postgraduate pilot scheme applicants

    If you are starting a postgraduate masters course which is no longer than 13 months long then you will be making an application under the Tier 4 pilot scheme. You should not submit your financial documents, academic or English language qualifications when you make your visa application, so long as your application is made before 5 October 2020, when the pilot scheme will be withdrawn. 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 or Welsh.

    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.

    Visa refusals

    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 possible. 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.

    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 visaquery@essex.ac.uk.