Student visas explained

Applying for or extending a student visa

The ISAS website provides detailed advice on the UKVI requirements and how to make a visa application. You can direct students to the pages below:

Can I write a student a letter for their visa application?

The only letter you can write is the scholarship letter, and for this you must use the University template.

You should not write any other letters, including invitation letters, or letters of support, as this may result in the student’s application being refused. A refused application has serious consequences for a student’s future immigration status in the UK and also affects the University.

ATAS certificates

From 30 November 2007, certain courses require a student to hold a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate.
If the student is going to complete an undergraduate course, they will not need an ATAS certificate regardless of their course details.
If they are completing a postgraduate course, and their course has a JACS code listed within the Immigration Rules, they will need to apply for ATAS and they must have an ATAS in order to apply for, or extend, their Tier 4 visa.

An ATAS certificate is only valid for 6 months, and so if a student is extending their visa they will need to obtain a new ATAS from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and they should request this before requesting their CAS statement. It will take around 21 days for their certificate to be produced.
You can obtain an up to date list of applicable courses using the Foreign and Commonwealth ATAS web pages

If a student is intending to carry out research for 6 months or longer they may also require an ATAS certificate.

You can direct students to the ISAS web pages relating to ATAS certification for further information

Getting a CAS

A Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) is a document issued by the University for students to use in support of their Tier 4 application. It is an essential part of the application, so all students applying for Tier 4 will need to obtain a CAS.

New students

If the student is new to the University, they will receive their CAS directly from the admissions department. Please see the University’s CAS pages for more information

Continuing students

If the student is already studying with the University, and they need to extend their visa, they will need to request their CAS from the ISAS. Please note that, if the student is undertaking a course which requires an ATAS certificate, they will need to obtain their ATAS clearance before requesting their CAS statement. As it can take up to 21 days to receive an ATAS, students should apply in good time, so that they do not experience delays in receiving their CAS and making their visa application

Please see the Student Help FAQ's relating to CAS requests  

Providing evidence of School or College sponsorship or bursary

College staff will need to provide details of bursaries or scholarships as early as possible for students use when they are applying for visas. University of Birmingham headed template letters should be used and are available from Student Records. We highly recommend that you use the templates available, to avoid students encountering problems with the UKVI during their application.

The University's monitoring and reporting obligations

The Code of Practice on Reasonable Diligence is how the University will manage its monitoring duties of international students.

Registry Services is responsible for reporting issues to the UK Visas and Immigration in relation to international students, so if you have any queries regarding this please contact Student Records

Visa stamps