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Pre-Sessional Students Frequently Asked Questions

The following Frequently Asked Questions should answer any queries you have on your visa requirements - please also see the Pre-sessional webpage.

If you have any queries not covered here, please contact the IFCELS department by email on ifcelsaccommodation@soas.ac.uk

  • What is an EEA National?

    If you are a British Citizen, a Swiss national or a member of the European Economic Area (see below) then you do not need permission to study in the United Kingdom.

    If you have permanent residence in, but not citizenship of, any of these countries, you are not an EEA national.

    European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss Nationals:

    AustriaGreeceNorway
    BelgiumHungaryPoland
    BulgariaIcelandPortugal
    Croatia (new from 1st July 2013)IrelandRomania
    Republic of CyprusItalySlovakia
    Czech RepublicLatviaSlovenia
    DenmarkLiechtensteinSpain
    EstoniaLithuaniaSweeden
    FinlandLuxembourgSwitzerland
    FranceMaltaUnited Kingdom (UK)
    GermanyThe Netherlands 

    This information is correct as of 24 March 2014.

  • What are the Programme Dates for 2014?
    • 12-week course:     30 June to 19 September 2014
    • 8-week course A:    30 June to 22 August 2014
    • 8-week course B:    28 July to 19 September 2014
    • 4-week course A:    28 July to 22 August 2014
    • 4-week course B:    26 August to 19 September 2014
  • I have received an unconditional offer for my degree programme. What does this mean? Can I still join a Pre-sessional programme?

    This means that you have met the academic and English language requirements for the degree programme and you are not required to provide any additional information or documentation prior to enrolment.

    If you already have an unconditional offer for a place on a degree programme at SOAS and

    • are taking a Pre-sessional programme as additional preparation; and
    • there is no more than one month between the end of the Pre-sessional programme and the full time programme at SOAS, you will be able to apply for a single Tier-4 (General) Student visa which covers the duration of your studies at SOAS (pre-sessional and degree)

    In order to apply for a Tier-4 (General) Student visa, you must request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS).

    If your offer is unconditional, your CAS will be issued by the SOAS Admissions or SOAS Doctoral School Section to cover your Pre-sessional and your Degree.
    Once you have received an unconditional offer, you need to
    Send IFCELS (ifcels-finance@soas.ac.uk) the following:

    • your completed Pre-sessional acceptance form; and
    • full programme fee payment for your Pre-sessional programme; or if you have an official financial sponsor for your proposed studies, an official letter confirming your sponsorship

    Send SOAS Admissions (undergradadmissions@soas.ac.uk or mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk) / SOAS Doctoral School Section (researchadmissions@soas.ac.uk) the following:

    • a copy of your passport page containing your personal details (if you have not already done so);
      • copies of your previous study visa (if applicable);
    • all outstanding documentation / qualification(s) (if applicable);
    • if you will be receiving financial sponsorship for your programme - evidence of this.

    You must then request your CAS by completing the relevant form which is downloadable from the Requesting a CAS section of our website. The CAS is a virtual document which we will send to you via email once you have completed the process. The entry clearance officer processing your visa application will use your CAS number to confirm your programme details. When you receive your CAS, you are advised to carefully check the following:

    • Your name is spelt correctly, as shown on your passport;
    • Your date of birth is correct;
    • Your gender (male / female) is correct;
    • Your passport is not due to expire shortly;
    • The progression details on your CAS are correct;
    • Your programme start and end dates are correct.  In cases where you qualify for a single CAS, the Pre-sessional start date will be entered as the overall programme start date and your main programme completion date will be entered as the overall programme end date;
    • The qualifications/results listed on your CAS are correct.

    If there are any mistakes, please let us know immediately.

  • I have a conditional offer for my degree programme at SOAS, can I get a CAS to cover my Pre-sessional and my Degree programme?

    If your offer is conditional on you attending an ENGLISH Pre-sessional programme before registering for your main programme of study, you will have to apply for a CAS that covers the duration of the pre-sessional programme only.  Once you have successfully completed the pre-sessional programme and met the English language requirement, you must then request a new CAS to cover the duration of your main programme of study.

    The International Student and Welfare Adviser at SOAS will be able to assist you with your visa extension. SOAS is a Highly Trusted Sponsor so you will be able to start your main programme of study before receiving the outcome of your visa extension. Please be aware that there may be a very short period of time during which you can apply for a visa extension and you will do so at your own risk as the Home Office may not subsequently grant the extension.

    If your offer is conditional, your CAS for the Pre-sessional programme will be issued by IFCELS.

    Once we have sent you an offer of a place on the Pre-sessional programme, you need to send back the following documents to IFCELS:

    • A copy of your passport page containing your personal details
    • Copies of your previous study visa (if applicable)
    • Your completed CAS form
    • Your completed acceptance form
    • Full programme fee payment or; if you have an official financial sponsor for your proposed studies, an official letter confirming your sponsorship
    • All outstanding documentation(s)/ qualification(s) (if applicable)

    The CAS is a virtual document which we will send to you via email once you have completed this process. When you receive your CAS, you are carefully advised to check the following:

    • Your name is spelt correctly as shown on your passport
    • Your date of birth is noted correctly
    • Your gender is noted correctly (female/ male)
    • Your passport is not due to expire shortly
    • The progression details on your CAS is correct
    • Your programme start and end dates are correct (as stated on our website)
    • The qualifications/results listed on your CAS are correct

    If there are any mistakes, please let us know immediately.

  • I have an unconditional offer for a Pre-sessional and an unconditional offer for a full time SOAS degree programme. When will I be issued by CAS?

    If your offer is unconditional, your CAS will be issued by the SOAS Admissions or SOAS Doctoral School Section to cover your Pre-sessional and your Degree.

    Once you have received an unconditional offer, you need to

    Send IFCELS (ifcels-finance@soas.ac.uk) the following:

    • your completed Pre-sessional acceptance form; and
    • full programme fee payment for your Pre-sessional programme; or if you have an official financial sponsor for your proposed studies, an official letter confirming your sponsorship

    Send SOAS Admissions (undergradadmissions@soas.ac.uk or mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk) / SOAS Doctoral School Section (researchadmissions@soas.ac.uk) the following:

    • a copy of your passport page containing your personal details (if you have not already done so);
    • copies of your previous study visa (if applicable);
    • all outstanding documentation / qualification(s) (if applicable);
    • if you will be receiving financial sponsorship for your programme - evidence of this.

    You must then request your CAS by completing the relevant form which is downloadable from the Requesting a CAS section of our website.

    The CAS is a virtual document which we will send to you via email once you have completed the process.  The entry clearance officer processing your visa application will use your CAS number to confirm your programme details. When you receive your CAS, you are advised to carefully check the following:

    • Your name is spelt correctly, as shown on your passport;
    • Your date of birth is correct;
    • Your gender (male / female) is correct;
    • Your passport is not due to expire shortly;
    • The progression details on your CAS are correct;
    • Your programme start and end dates are correct.  In cases where you qualify for a single CAS, the Pre-sessional start date will be entered as the overall programme start date and your main programme completion date will be entered as the overall programme end date;
    • The qualifications/results listed on your CAS are correct.

    If there are any mistakes, please let us know immediately.

  • If I apply for a Tier-4 (General) Student visa for my Pre-sessional programme only, when will my visa expire?
    If you apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa for the Pre-sessional programme only then you should be granted a visa until the end of the Pre-sessional programme plus one month (see chart below).
    Pre-sessional programme datesTier-4 (General) Student Visa expiry date
    12-week course:   30 June to 19 September 201419 October 2014
    8-week course A:  30 June to 22 August 201422 September 2014
    8-week course B:   28 July to 19 September 201419 October 2014
    4-week course A:   28 July to 22 August 201422 September 2014

    Once you have successfully completed the Pre-sessional programme, you will be issued with a CAS to cover the duration of your main programme of study.

    Please Note: The new rules states that you can only apply for your visa extension from within the UK to commence your degree programme, providing the gap between the expiry date of your current visa and the start of your degree programme is no more than 28 days. If this gap is greater than 28 days, you will be expected to return home to apply for your visa extension.

    Applying for your visa extension in the UK is considerably more expensive than the original application but we would strongly advise students coming for the 8 week B and 4 week B (second session), not to return home to apply for their visa extension as you will not have sufficient time to be granted a visa to allow you to commence your degree programme at the required start date.  Please see (How much does it cost to renew my visa?).

    The International Student and Welfare Adviser at SOAS will be able to assist you with your visa extension. SOAS is a Highly Trusted Sponsor so you will be able to start your main programme of study before receiving the outcome of your visa extension.

  • I have a conditional offer for my Degree programme at SOAS, should I apply for a Student Visitor Visa for my Pre-sessional programme?

    The Student Visitor Visa is only suitable for short term students on programmes who do not wish to extend their stay in the UK, and who do not intend to work in the UK.

    Although the Student Visitor visa is cheaper than a Tier 4 (General) application (83 GBP currently), if you decide to study on the Pre-sessional programme with this visa, you will need to return home at the end of the Pre-sessional to apply for a Tier 4 (General) Student visa to study on your degree programme.

    You should only apply for a Student Visitor visa to commence your Pre-sessional programme if:Y

    1. You are coming for the 8 week A or 4 week A (first session) ; and
    2. You are happy to return home at the end of the Pre-sessional programme to make your application

    You will then need to request a CAS from SOAS Admissions or SOAS Doctoral School Section to commence your degree programme (see above for further details).

  • I have decided to apply for a Student Visitor Visa for my Pre-sessional programme, what should I do?

    Once we (IFCELS) have sent you an offer of a place on the Pre-sessional programme, you need to send back the following documents immediately:

    • A copy of your passport page containing your personal details
    • Your completed acceptance form
    • Full programme fee payment or; if you have an official financial sponsor for your proposed studies, an official letter confirming your sponsorship
    • All outstanding documentation(s)/ qualification(s) (if applicable)
    • You must also confirm that you wish to apply for a Student Visitor Visa. We will send you a letter of acceptance which you will need to submit with your Student Visitor application  


    The email address you must send the above to is - ifcels-finance@soas.ac.uk

  • Will I receive further information from you on how to apply for a visa?

    Yes. Immigration advice, including information on how to apply for a visa will be sent with your pre-sessional offer letter. You can also find further information on how to make a successful visa application via our website Making an application for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

  • How much does it cost to renew my Tier 4 (General) visa?

    The fee you must pay for your visa application depends on whether you are applying from inside the UK or outside the UK; and the method you will be using to extend your visa.

    Please see the Home Office website for further information.

  • I have been issued with a CAS from another university but have decided to study at SOAS instead. What should I do?

    A CAS is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. If you decide to study at SOAS, you will need to request a CAS number from SOAS and use this CAS number to make your visa application.  If your visa application is successful, your Tier 4 (General) Student visa will be linked to SOAS and all other CAS's you have been issued will be made obsolete by the UK Home Office.

    Important information regarding your CAS statement:

    • The entry clearance officer processing your application will use your CAS number to confirm your programme details.
    • If your CAS is withdrawn by either SOAS or by the Home Office, it will no longer be valid and cannot be used to apply for a Tier 4 visa.
    • A CAS can only be used once.
    • If your visa application is refused, you will need a new CAS to make a new visa application. Please note that we will need to see the refusal letter to check the reason(s) for the refusal before another CAS can be issued.  

    Urgent Note:  Please note that in some cases, it may not be possible to issue you with a second CAS, e.g. your programme of study is due to commence shortly, and it is clear that your new visa application will not be processed in time for you to receive it and arrive for the programme before the last agreed start date.

    • Check that your CAS document is correct and has not expired;
    • Evidence of your qualifications (if listed on your CAS);
    • Official translation(s) of all documents not in English;
    • Birth certificate;
    • Letter of consent (if using a bank statement in your parent(s) or legal guardian's name)
    • Two passport photographs that meet the Home Office requirements;
    • Police registration certificate (if applicable);
    • Written permission from your parents or legal guardian if you are 16 or 17 years old;
    • Appropriate payment to the Home Office (e.g. Postal Order);
    • Any SOAS original receipts for tuition fees paid (SOAS will update your CAS as required when fees are paid, but the Home Office may find it helpful to see these receipts);

    All documents you send must be originals and must accompany an original application. You should keep a copy of your passport (photo page), current visa and your visa application, as you may need these as evidence of your application during enrolment. You should also obtain a receipt of postage when you send in your application to the Home Office.

  • If I need to extend my Tier 4 (General) Student visa from within the UK, what documents will I need?

    The International Student and Welfare Adviser at SOAS will be able to assist you with your visa extension and provide you with further information when you arrive.

    One of the most common reasons why Tier 4 (General) applications are
    refused is because the applicant’s supporting documents do not meet the requirements of the policy guidance.

    The immigration rules under Tier 4 require students who wish to study in the UK to meet certain conditions. The requirements for Tier 4 Students are complex but as a guide, you will need to provide the following information/documentation to support your visa application:

    • Your completed Tier-4 (General) application form;
    • Your current passport and any previous passports you have used to travel to and from the UK during your studies (we strongly recommend that you also keep a copy of these documents and bring them to enrolment at SOAS if your original documents have not been returned);
    • Your Biometric Residence Permit card (if applicable);
    • Evidence of your funds (see below);
    • Check that your CAS document is correct and has not expired;
    • Evidence of your qualifications (if listed on your CAS);
    • Official translation(s) of all documents not in English;
    • Birth certificate;
    • Letter of consent (if using a bank statement in your parent(s) or legal guardian's name)
    • Two passport photographs that meet the Home Office requirements;
    • Police registration certificate (if applicable);
    • Written permission from your parents or legal guardian if you are 16 or 17 years old;
    • Appropriate payment to the Home Office (eg Postal Order);
    • Any SOAS original receipts for tuition fees paid (SOAS will update your CAS as required when fees are paid, but the Home Office may find it helpful to see these receipts);

    All documents you send must be originals and must accompany an original application.  You should keep a copy of your passport (photo page), current visa and your visa application, as you may need these as evidence of your application during enrolment.  You should also obtain a receipt of postage when you send in your application to the Home Office.

    Evidence of your funds
    You must show evidence that you have a fixed amount of money to cover your accommodation, living cost and any outstanding fees. The Home Office specifies how much these amounts must be. The total will depend on your circumstances. 

    As a guide only, a student on a 1 year programme for example would normally need to show the following:

    • Accommodation and living cost - 1000 GBP for each month of their programme up to a maximum of 9 months = 9000 GBP (this amount will increase to 1020 GBP for applications made after 1st July 2014);
    • PLUS any outstanding fees

    If you will be using bank statements as evidence, you need to show that you have the correct amount of money in your account for 28 consecutive days prior to the date of your application and are able to show appropriate evidence of this, as stated in the Tier 4 Policy Guidance.

    Please see our website for more detailed information: Making an application for a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

  • What should I do if my visa is refused ?

    If your visa is refused, you should seek advice from the SOAS Welfare Adviser as as soon as possible. You must also send us your visa refusal letter so that we can investigate the reason for the refusal.

    You can also contact the UKCISA, the UK Council for International Student Affairs, for advice about your situation. Their Student Advice Line is:

    • Outside the UK: +44 20 3131 3576
    • Inside the UK: 020 3131 3576

    The advice line is open from Monday to Friday, 1300 - 1600 hours (UK time).

  • Where can I get more information?

    You can obtain more information on student visas by contacting the SOAS International Student and Welfare Advisers on welfare@soas.ac.uk. Please ensure that you quote your full name, nationality, date of birth and, if appropriate, your SOAS ID number.