Immigration advice

Please read carefully the following information, if you are considering applying to graduate taught programmes at SAS as an international student.

The website of UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) has the latest information about visas, and plenty of other useful advice for international students.

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

You can check if you need a visa to study by using the UK Visa Check Tool.

Tier 4 Visa General Student Visa

This information is correct when it is published – however UKVI frequently changes the rules so we advise that you also check the UK Government website, including the Tier 4 Policy Guidance which you should read thoroughly.

Overseas (non-EU) students looking to study courses that are six months or longer in duration, need to apply for a student visa under Tier 4 visa under the UK Home Office’s Points Based System (PBS). To obtain a Tier 4 visa under the PBS, as its name suggests students need to score 40 points, consisting of:

  • 30 points for a valid CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies)
  • 10 points for maintenance

In addition to scoring the above points, you may be invited to attend a credibility interview where you will be asked a range of questions about your education history, the programme you will be studying at the School of Advanced Study (SAS), how your studies with us fit in with your overall career plans and how you are funding your stay in the UK. The purpose of this interview is to give you the opportunity to demonstrate that your intentions to enrol as a student at SAS are genuine and that your English language ability is at the level specified on your CAS.

Confirmation of Acceptance of studies (CAS)

In order to make a visa application, students will need to be sponsored by the University of London (which has Tier 4 sponsor status) and issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS). CASs are issued by the School’s Registry Office.

To get a CAS you must have received and formally accepted an unconditional and paid a visa administration charge (£21).

Do not begin a visa application until you have received your CAS sponsorship number from the School. You cannot apply for your visa earlier than three months before the commencement date of your study programme, if you apply too early, your CAS number will be invalid.

Having a valid CAS does not guarantee that your application will be successful. You must meet all of the requirements of the category and any other requirements of the Immigration Rules.

Maintenance (or Funds) - please read carefully!

Maintenance or funds is the cumulative sum you need to show you have available to cover your first year’s tuition fees and living expenses for the first year of your studies (9 months), without being employed in the UK, as part of your Tier 4 visa application. The School will tell UKVI how much you have paid towards your tuition fee and you will need to show evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover the rest of the tuition fees for the year and living expenses for the duration of your course. Please consult the Tier 4 Policy guidance for the latest details about this requirement.

Normally you will need to have the money in your own bank account. The specified amounts of funds need to have been held in a bank account (not in trust, stocks or bonds) for at least 28 days before the date of the visa application.

The UKVI estimates that currently, students studying and living in London need a minimum of £ 1,265 per month to cover living expenses.

You have to prove you have held £11,385 for maintenance [= 9 months at £1,265 per month] + balance of your first year’s tuition fees, in an eligible account. The maintenance balance cannot go below minimum required during the 28 day period and funds should not be moved until your visa application has been decided on.

For example: Your tuition fee is £16,000. You have paid £1,000 towards your tuition fees, which leaves a balance of £15,000. Your maintenance will be (first year only)

Tuition fee:                            £15,000 +

Living Cost:                            £11,385

Maintenance                     =   £25,385 (or equivalent in foreign currency)                     

If the money is in your parent’s account, you will need to provide documents to prove your relationship to your parent and evidence of their permission to use it towards your studies. Usually you provide your birth certificate (original and official translation if not in English) and a signed letter from your parents.

Use Oanda Currency Converter to check the equivalence of your funds in British Pounds 

Although not part of your maintenance, as part of the application you will be required to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge. This, as well as the visa application fee an associated expenses cannot come from your maintenance funds, but need to be paid separately.

What will appear on my CAS?

Your CAS, in addition to your course and personal details, will state the matriculation documents on the basis of which we have offered you a place on the course and our assessment of your English Language abilities (usually but not always an IELTS test).

  • Matriculation documents

You will need original documentation with your visa application to prove you can matriculate onto your study programme. We will use the documents you provided with your application (for example, Bachelor degree final transcript.) with English translation if your document is not in English.

  • English Language

The School only accepts UKVI-approved Secure English Language Tests (SELTs) – IELTS and Trinity College London.

IELTS/IELTS for UKVI tests can be taken around the world, but Trinity College London tests can only be taken inside the UK. A list of approved test centres can be found on the Home Office website: Approved Secure English Language Tests and Test Centres.

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Version, 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. The test result are valid for two years from the date of issue- https://www.ielts.org

The School is required to comply with the UKVI Tier 4 English requirements, which can be found in the Tier 4 Guidance section of the UKVI website. Your test score results recorded on your CAS.

The UKVI may accept lower scores in some tests for the purposes of obtaining a visa, however please note that the School requires applicants to meet its minimum requirements as outlined above.

The School reserves the right to require, from any applicant, additional evidence of language competence such as a piece of written work and/or an interview. Please note that samples of written work and/or interviews cannot be used in place of an English test to meet the entry requirements.

Documents you will need to support your visa application

You will need to have proof of all the following information when you make your application for your Tier 4 student visa:

  1. You have been issued with a CAS Number (confirmation of acceptance for study) by the School.
  2. You have enough funds to pay for your studies plus living costs for the first year of study after the visa application.
  3. You have gained the right matriculation qualification (for example, an upper-second class honours degree from the United Kingdom or an international qualification of an equivalent standard if you are joining a taught programme, or a master’s degree if you are joining a research programme).
  4. Evidence of English Language Proficiency. If your first language is not English you must provide test scores from an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Version, 7.0 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. The qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment.

Requesting a CAS Number

If you already hold an unconditional offer you can request a CAS after the 1st of May by completing the online CAS Request Form. Please note that all the supporting documents should be returned to the Admissions office via email to admissions@sas.ac.uk. If you have a conditional offer, you must first meet the condition of your offer and be issued an unconditional offer. 

The Admissions team will allocate you a CAS Number, normally from June onwards, after receiving your completed and signed CAS Request form and a clear scanned copy of your passport. We will need to see evidence that you meet all aspects of the Tier 4 eligibility, including funds. You will be required to send copies of the financial documents you will be using to support your visa application, even if you are a ‘low risk’ national. US Nationals using US Federal Loans to cover all of their tuition fees and living expenses will not need to provide this evidence to us.

We will email your CAS Number and our Sponsor Licence Number which you will need to put in the visa application. You do not need to provide a hard copy of your CAS as this is provided electronically to UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration).

Low Risk applications

If you are a ‘Low Risk Applicant’ as specified here, you may not need to include matriculation documents and documents to show that you have money for your living costs (for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months) plus any remaining balance of your tuition fee, when you make your visa application, but the UK Entry Clearance Office which processes your application may still ask you to provide the documents.

Extending your Tier 4 Visa

If you are currently studying an MPhil/PhD course at SAS and are making the required progression for an extension, you can apply to extend your Tier 4 Visa. Registry will seek confirmation from your Institute before issuing a CAS. SAS simply confirms your progress to UKVI and you do not need your matriculation documents. (for example, your writing up year), please see our entry requirements. As with you initial visa application, you will be required to send us financial documentation for verification purposes. You can request a CAS by downloading and completing our CAS Request Form and pay a visa administration charge (£21).

Tier 4 Part-time

The Home Office has introduced a Tier 4 Part-time visa route which means that some students studying for postgraduate courses that are part-time may be able to apply for a new type of Tier 4 visas to study for these courses in the UK. 

Please be advised that the School of Advanced Study, University of London is not currently able to sponsor Tier 4 Part-Time students and will not be in a position to do so for the foreseeable future. 

    Making your Visa Application

    Full guidelines on how to apply, guidance notes and application forms can be found on the Government Website: Tier 4 Migrant Guidance.

    To apply in your home country for a new visa or to extend an existing student visa, visit the UK Government Website. The application fee is given in your local currency on https://www.gov.uk/visa-fees.