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Student visa

Find out more about eligibility, required documents and everything you need to do before and after receiving your Student Visa. The Student route replaced the Tier 4 (General) route for applications made after 9am on 5 October 2020.

Help with visa application

Contact the Student Advice Service for advice on making your visa application.

Please see the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates for visa holders.

Who should apply?

Students aged 16 years or over who meet both financial and English language requirements, who are coming to UAL to study:

  • A full-time degree or degree-level course (e.g. BA, MA, PhD).
  • A part-time postgraduate course at RQF level 7 or above (e.g. MA or Postgraduate Diploma).
  • A further education course (e.g. Foundation Diploma).
  • A pre-sessional course.
  • An English language course (at level B2 in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).


  • There are time limits on how long you can study a degree or below degree level course.
  • There are no time limits at postgraduate level and above.
  • Full-time students can work a limited number of hours, part-time students can't work.
  • You may need to register with the police.
  • Full-time postgraduate students may be able to bring dependants (family members), part-time students cannot bring dependents.
  • The University must report to the UK Government if you don't enrol or don't attend your course.


You can apply from a country in which you are legally resident (e.g. your home country), or from the UK if you are eligible. The earliest you can apply is 3 months before your course begins as the University issues CAS numbers from 3 months prior to your course start date.

You should prepare your application carefully and ensure you understand all of the requirements to have a successful visa application. Misunderstanding the financial requirements is the main reason for student visa refusals. Our visa application guides should be read before making your application.

Before you apply

Read our visa guides

We understand that the visa application process can seem complex but our comprehensive guides have been designed to help you through the process step by step.

If you're applying from outside the UK:

If you're applying from inside the UK:

Document check service

The Student Advice Service can check that your visa-supporting documents meet the Home Office requirements. Please email with the following documents and wait for our feedback before submitting your visa application online. If a mistake is found in your document, this must be corrected before you pay for your application. At peak periods it will take up to 5 working days to receive feedback on your documents.

  1. A copy of your CAS statement
  2. Passport and current UK visa (if applicable)
  3. Financial documents including any necessary parental evidence
  4. Qualifications listed on your CAS
  5. Please state which country you'll submit your visa application
  6. A copy of your part completed visa application (up to the 'Declaration' section)
  7. Your Student ID number

Getting a CAS

A CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) number is required before you can apply for your Student visa. A CAS number is a personal identification number you include with your online visa application. Your CAS number links your visa application to the Home Office database so they can see we are sponsoring your visa.

New UAL students

You'll receive your CAS number by email from the Admissions team when

  • you've met the conditions of your offer
  • you've paid your deposit
  • it's approximately 3 months before your course starts.

After receiving your visa

Read your decision notice

It will explain if your visa application has been successful and will contain important information about your stay in the UK, including any conditions you must meet.  If you have applied outside the UK, you should take your BRP collection letter with you to the UK as you will need it to collect your BRP (if your stay is for longer than 6 months).

If you do not understand the notice, or if your visa application has been refused or you lose your BRP collection letter, contact the Student Advice Service.

Check for errors

Errors on your visa sticker or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) must be corrected or this can cause problems with your immigration status. Check all information immediately, especially the expiry (end) date. Errors must be reported within the timeframes set by the Home Office or you will have to pay for the correction.

Find out more about reporting errors and contact the Student Advice Service for help.

Register with the police

As of 5 August 2022, the UK Government has abolished the requirement to register with the Police, which applied to students from certain countries. This also applies to students who have received visa decisions prior to that date. If you are still waiting to attend your police registration appointment then please disregard it. For more information please visit the UKCISA website.

Any changes in circumstances should be reported to the Home Office via the GOV.UK website.

During your stay in the UK

Your Student visa responsibilities

You must follow the rules attached to your visa to remain enrolled at UAL. Your responsibilities include:

Attend your classes and inform UAL about absences

Let us know if you can't attend classes. UAL must report continued unauthorised absences to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

If this happens, your visa will be cancelled and you'll have to leave the UK.

Report changes to your circumstances

If you change your personal details or you get a new visa, BRP or passport, you must contact:

Keep your BRP and passport safe

Report a lost or stolen visa or BRP immediately and apply for a replacement.

Work legally

You can usually work during your studies, but there are restrictions on the type of work and the number of weekly hours.

Learn more about student work via UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs).

Changes to your studies

Find out how changes to your studies can affect your visa. For example, transferring courses, repeating study, course withdrawal, taking time out and work placements.

After the end of your course

You must leave the UK on or before the date that your visa or BRP expires. It is a criminal offence to stay in the UK after your visa or BRP expires. See the UKCISA website for more information.

Please note that if you left the country after the end date of your course as shown on your CAS, Border Force officials will need to be satisfied when you are re-entering the UK that you will either complete the activity you intend to carry out and leave the UK before your visa expires, or that you will submit an in-time application to extend your leave in the UK. You should carry any documentation relevant with you when you travel to show to the Border Force officer if required.

If you have a CAS to start another course and you wish to return to the UK to apply for a Student visa for that course, you should seek advice from the Student Advice Service.

If you submit a valid, on time application, you can stay in the UK while a decision is made on your application. This happens if you completed a BA course and applied for an MA course, or if you are about to start a job. Learn more about visa options after completing your course.

You should return your visa to the Home Office, when you no longer need and one of the following applies:

  • You are taking time-out from your course and returning to your home country
  • You have come to the end of your course and are returning to your home country
  • You have applied to extend your visa in the UK and have a new visa

You put a short note in the envelope explaining why you are returning it. The return address is:

Returns Team
PO Box 195
BS20 1BT

Graduation ceremony

If your Tier 4 or Student visa has expired you must apply for a suitable visa to return to the UK and attend your graduation ceremony.

Please check: Visa Guidance for Graduation 2023 (PDF 280KB)

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