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.

Applying for a Points-Based System Tier 4 General 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 Guidance which you should read thoroughly.

Overseas (non-EU) students requiring a visa for more than six months need to apply for a student visa under Tier 4 of the UK Home Office’s Points Based System. You can check if you need a visa to study by using the UK Visa Check Tool.

In order to make an application, students will need to be sponsored by the School of Advanced Study (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.

In order for the Registry to issue a CAS, you must have received and formally accepted an offer of a place, met any conditions of that offer and paid a visa administration charge (£21). Following receipt of the latter, the School’s Admissions Office in the Registry will issue you with a CAS when you are ready to submit your visa application and have provided a copy of the financial evidence you intend on using with your visa application for checking by the Registry Office.

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.

You must also pay the Health Surcharge as part of your visa application: see the Home Office Guidance

To apply in your home country for a new visa or to extend an existing student visa, visit the UK Goverment Website. The application fee is given in your local currency on

Tier 4 Part-time

The Home Office has introduced a new 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.  

The conditions of this type of Tier 4 visa are also much more restrictive than other Tier 4 routes: 

  • no work
  • no work placements
  • no dependants
  • no extending under Tier 4 in the UK. This includes Tier 4 applications to work as a Students' Union Sabbatical Officer or for the Foundation Programme for postgraduate doctors and dentists
  • not eligible for the Tier 4 Doctorate Extension Scheme

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 money to pay for your studies plus living costs (£11,385) 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 a master’s degree if you are joining a research programme). The School has to have received this proof before we issue your CAS number.
  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. The School has to have received your test scores before we can issue your CAS number.

Requesting a CAS Number

You can request a CAS by downloading and completing our CAS Request Form. Completed forms should be returned to the Admissions office via email to .

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 money. 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.

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

Finances for your tuition and living costs - please read carefully!

You will need to prove that you are able to pay for your studies and your living costs without being employed in the UK. 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 your full tuition fee and living expenses for the duration of your course. Please consult the UK Government website 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 28 days before the application is made. You have to prove you have held £11,385 for maintenance [= 9 months at £1,265 per month] in an eligible account.

If the money is in your parent’s account, you will need to provide documents to prove your relationship to your parent and to prove that they will let you have the money towards your study costs. Usually you provide your birth certificate and a signed letter from your parent.

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.

If you are already studying at SAS and are extending your visa which was granted for that study programme, 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.

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 must be taken in 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 qualification or test result must have been awarded no more than two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment -

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.

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.

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.

Credibility Interviews for Tier 4 Applicants

As a part of your Tier 4 visa application, 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.