If you are coming to study in the UK for more than 6 months then you will require a Student visa. Here's what you need to know.

Before you apply

  • You must have an unconditional offer to study a full-time programme at SOAS. Please note, we do not sponsor new students for part-time programmes. 
  • You must request and be issued a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number from SOAS before you can apply. 
  • You must meet all the financial and other eligibility criteria outlined in our guides. 

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Your CAS statement contains a unique 14-digit reference number emailed to you once you meet the conditions of your offer. You can also request a CAS if you need more time to complete your programme and your active engagement and contact is required at SOAS. Your CAS also contains important details about SOAS and your programme which will help you to complete your Student visa application form.

Find out more about your CAS and how to request it. 

Visa application guides

The Student Advice Service have produced guides which you should read before submitting your visa application as they will help you to understand the criteria that must be met and the documents you’ll need to provide. They also explain if you can submit your application in the UK or if you must apply outside the UK. 

Applying outside the UK 

Applying inside the UK 

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

Dependants

Please note that the rules on who can bring dependants have become more restrictive. Students starting new courses from 1 January 2024 will need to meet one of the following criteria to be able to bring dependants (your partner or child) to the UK:

  1. You're in receipt of an scholarship from a national Government to study a full-time course of at least six months duration, or
  2. You're doing a full-time PhD programme at SOAS of at least 9 months duration, or
  3. You have a valid Student visa that was granted to study on a full-time course of 6 months or longer, and you're now applying for a Student visa to study a full-time course of 6 months or longer, and your dependant: 
  • already has immigration permission as your dependant or
  • is a child who was born since your most recent Student visa was issued, and
  • you and your dependant are applying at the same time

Contact the Student Advice Service if your child is born while you hold a student visa as there are additional rules in these circumstances. 

Please see our guides for more information on how to submit a dependant visa application.

After receiving your visa decision

When your Student visa is granted, check the following details: 

  • all personal details are correct 
  • your visa expires on the correct date 
  • the number of hours permitted to work is correct

Refer to our guides to understand when your visa should expire and how many hours you are permitted to work. If you find an error, refer to the UKCISA website for information based on your circumstances and the deadlines to report the error. You should also inform Student Visa Compliance via SID of any errors you find. 

If you receive a correction from UKVI, upload a copy of any new immigration documents to SOAS Online Student Services. If you have any difficulties with reporting the error, please contact Student Advice Service for advice. 

Roll-out of eVisas for BRP holders

If you've been issued a BRP that expires on 31 December 2024 but your decision letter confirms that your immigration permission extends beyond this date, you do not need to report this as an error.  During 2024, the Government is rolling out eVisas for BRP holders whose immigration permission extends beyond 31 December 2024. This new system will allow you to access your immigration permission and share this information with other organisations such as SOAS or your landlord.

In Spring 2024 you may be emailed by the Home Office inviting you to create a UKVI account where you will be able to access your eVisa. Watch the UKVI instruction video if you've received an email asking you to set up your eVisa and UKVI account. 

If you're not emailed in the initial phase, you will be able to create your account later in 2024, so don't worry if you haven't received an email about this. As the system is being developed you should not attempt to create an account unless invited to. We will be providing updates to enrolled students in the student email bulletins.

Further guidance

During your programme

Immigration advice

The Student Advice Service provides free, confidental immigration advice to applicants as well as students during their programme. Changes in your enrolment such as taking a leave of absence, repeating or transferring can affect your immigration permission so should be discussed with the Student Advice Service before making any decisions. 

Visa compliance

Read about your responsibilities as a visa holder and SOAS responsibilities to the Home Office as a Student visa sponsor license holder. Contact SOAS Student Visa Compliance via SID if you have any questions about your responsibilities as a Student visa holder.

Keep your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and passport safe

Replacing your BRP or passport can be expensive and inconvenient. It's better to keep them safe at home. If you need to prove your identity or age, you can get a Validate UK card or Citizencard. You should also take a photo of your passport and visa and store it safely

Read the UKCISA guidance on how to replace a lost or stolen BRP card or visa vignette. You should also upload a copy of your new visa and/or passport to Online Student Services as SOAS is required to keep up to date records of your immigration documents. If you need help replacing your immigration document, contact the Student Advice Service

Work legally

You can work during your studies if you're studying full-time with a Student visa but there are restrictions on the type of work you can do and the number of hours you can work during term-time.

Changes in circumstances

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