SOAS University of London

International Students

Applying for a Student Visa

To apply for a Student visa you must:

  • Have an unconditional offer to study at SOAS.
  • Have been issued with a CAS number from SOAS.
  • In addition to the CAS number, we will email you a copy of the details that have been submitted to UKVI. You should use this information to complete your visa application.
Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Before you can apply for a Student visa, you must have been issued with a CAS reference number (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) from SOAS.  A CAS is a unique 14 digit reference number issued to each applicant. The CAS number is valid for 6 months only and can be used to apply for a visa up to 6 months before the start of the course as listed on the CAS. If the CAS is not used within 6 months from the date it was issued, it will automatically expire and become invalid. You can only use a CAS number once. If your application is refused, you must obtain a new CAS before you apply again, you cannot re-use the CAS that was refused.

Other documentation:
  • You may need to submit additional documentation (eg; Degree certificates/transcripts/approved UKVI Standard English Language Test (SELT)) that have been used by SOAS as the basis of the offer of a place (Details of the documents used will be included on your CAS).
  • Show you have enough money to pay your tuition fees, maintenance costs for your course/programme or that you have already paid them.
  • Show you have the required amount to cover your living expenses for the first 9 months of your course (or the entire duration of your course if it is less than 9 months long) and the required amount for any dependant if applicable.
  • Funds can come from an official sponsor such as your government, SOAS, or the UK government and/or must have been held in a bank account in your name for at least 28 days before you apply for the visa.  

You can check whether your financial evidence will be acceptable using our Financial Evidence Checking Tool.

Detailed guidance on financial maintenance requirements for visa applicants is available on the GOV.UK website .

Information on Standard Visitor visas

Please note that students attending to study for no no longer than six months can enter the UK on a Standard Visitor Visa and do not require a CAS number. A letter confirming the student’s acceptance on the course can be issued instead.  

For students who are only attending the IFCELS English courses, please contact the IFCELS General Office to request a confirmation letter for the purposes of obtaining a Standard Visitor Visa.

For students who are enrolling for one term only as a Visiting Research Student, please email

For students who are enrolling for one term only as a Study Abroad or Exchange Student, please e-mail

Note that:

Standard Visitors still need to provide detailed information to UKVI (including information on their finances) and depending on their nationality, may need to apply for Standard Visitor status before arriving in the UK.  Please refer to the UKVI information on Student Visas for further details.

We hope the above information will help to clarify the options but if there are any further questions regarding visa matters please do not hesitate to contact the Student Advisor (Immigration and Finance) on

If you are of a nationality eligible to apply for a visit visa at the point of entry to the UK, rather that in advance, or if a border force official does not stamp your visa/passport on arrival, it is vital that you retain evidence of your arrival into the UK in the form of your boarding pass, flight ticket or an email confirming the booking of your travel to the UK as we will need to see this as evidence of your arrival.

More information about obtaining a Standard Visitor visa can be found on our applying for a standard visitor visa page.

Returning Students

If you are a student returning to SOAS to retake a failed or deferred exam or to submit a dissertation without the need to engage in any other teaching/support activities, then SOAS is not able to sponsor you for a Student visa for any of these purposes.  We advise that you return to the UK as a standard visitor. In these circumstances SOAS cannot provide a CAS for a Student visa application but we will be happy to supply you with a letter to include with your standard visitor visa application, if you have to apply for a standard visitor visa. This letter will confirm the dates and reason for your visit to the UK.  If you would like such a letter, please send your request to