Information about Student and Tier 4 visas
What you need to know about getting a Student Visa and applying for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
Note: If we sponsor you for your Student visa or a Tier 4 visa, we will ask you to verify your immigration status at various points during your studies with us. Please make sure you respond if we get in touch, otherwise this may affect your visa sponsorship.
- Applying for a CAS for the start of your programme
- Applying for a CAS during your studies
- Important documents to get your CAS
- Making your Student visa application
- Visa refusals
- Sponsor compliance and contact details checks
- Changes of personal circumstances - reporting to the Home Office
Our Admissions team will issue your Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS). You’ll need it to apply for a Student visa. Please see the Requesting a CAS page for details on how new students should request a CAS.
You’ll need to do this if you’re starting a new registration period with us – even if you’ve previously completed studies with us and are applying to join us again for a new degree.
You will tell us that you need a visa when you apply through UCAS and you'll be able to provide the relevant details. We will contact you to let you know if we need any more information or when we have allocated your CAS.
See the important documents section below for what you need to bring.
If you need more advice or information on the Visa application process, see our Student Advice and Wellbeing immigration page.
If you’ve already started studying with us and you need to apply for a new visa (either as an extension or because your previous visa application was refused), you need to apply for your CAS with the Registry. There are two forms:
- taught students (undergraduate and masters) CAS request application form, and
- postgraduate research students CAS application (PhD)
Read the important documents section below to see what you need to bring.
Before we issue your CAS, we need to verify some information. It’s very important that you respond to these requests for information as quickly as possible to avoid delaying your start at SOAS.
We have to verify:
- Level of any previous study in the UK
- Number of years of any previous study in the UK
- Current Passport and any current visa
- Reason for visa refusal (if it applies here)
We’ll email your CAS to you and it’s valid for 6 months. Make sure the information on your visa application matches the information on your CAS, otherwise your visa could be refused.
You are strongly advised to read though our online guidance about making a Student visa application and the documents you will require to do this before applying for your visa.
If you need help at any stage, get in touch with our Student Advisors (Immigration and Finance) (email@example.com).
If your visa application is refused, you will need to inform the Student Visa Compliance team immediately, including a copy of the refusal notice, as quickly as possible (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please also contact the Student Advice Service (email@example.com) for advice on your refusal, and whether you have grounds for an Administrative Review or for help making second application to avoid being refused again.
For the majority of our students, the start of term is Welcome Season. During this week you will undertake the formal enrolment process in addition to attending various Department meetings and events. There may be some changes to this setup for the 2020/21 academic year so please look out for further information as you approach the start of your course.
Usually, the formal enrolment process is straightforward. You will be emailed in advance and given a specific enrolment period and you must come to the enrolment event during the times given. You must ensure that you bring the following documents with you:
- Passport (original)
- 30/90 day entry visa (in your passport if you applied for a visa outside the UK)
- BRP (original)
- Visa Acceptance Letter/email (sent by UKVI to confirm your application was successful)
- Copy of your offer letter (this may be required by your department)
- Proof of payment of fees or funding
When you arrive at the enrolment event, you will see a member of staff who will verify various pieces of information, including that you have a UK address (this is a mandatory requirement of UKVI and must be provided as soon as you have secured a place to stay). A copy of your passport and visa/BRP will be retained by us as proof that we have verified your identity and that you have appropriate leave to study in the UK. Staff may also need to verify that your fees have been paid, or you have secured appropriate funding.
For the 2021/22 academic year, please look out for more information about enrolment and follow instructions carefully and as soon as possible.
As an international student holding a Student or Tier 4 visa, you are required to keep SOAS updated with your term-time contact details including your address, mobile number and email address. You can update your contact details by using SOAS Online Services.
As your Student or Tier 4 visa sponsor, SOAS have certain obligations to ensure that we maintain this sponsorship according to current UKVI rules and regulations.
As part of this duty, we will carry out regular checks of Student visa or Tier 4 visa holder files and you can expect to receive contact from the Registry/Visa Compliance team during each academic year associated with these checks. We are required to check that:
- we hold a UK term time address for all Student visa or Tier 4 visa holders
- we hold a telephone number for all Student visa or Tier 4 visa holders
- students enrolled temporarily with pending visa applicationskeep us updated as to the progress of that application
- students attend as appropriate and are engaged with their studies
- students apply for a new CAS and visa before the expiry of a current visa
If any required data is missing from your record, or your visa is running out, you may receive emails from us to inform you of what you need to do.
You will be contacted using your SOAS email address during the year to check the details we currently hold about you are correct. If this is necessary you will be emailed and given time to update your UK contact details. If your details change during the year, you can update us at any time using SOAS Online Services.
Students who fail to adhere to visa regulations put their Student visa or Tier 4 visa status at risk which can result in your visa sponsorship being at risk.
Students sponsored for a Student visa are responsible for ensuring that the Home Office is informed of the following changes to your details:
- Change of Personal Details (Name, Gender, Nationality, etc.)
- Criminal convictions
- Change to your contact details
- Change to your Representative’s details
- Change to your Dependent’s details
If you have a biometric residence permit (BRP) and change your address, you can do this using the Change of Circumstances Form. However, any other changes, will mean you have to apply for a new BRP. Full details on reporting a change are available from the Home Office website.
If you have a police registration requirement on your visa, you must also let the police know of your changes in details – you can do this at any Police station within seven days of the change. You’ll need to take your Police Registration Certificate with you. Full details of how to register with the police, and how to update the police of relevant changes can be found on the website of the Metropolitan Police Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO).
Read more in our International Students Handbook (pdf; 382kb)
What you need here, try our International Students Handbook (pdf; 382kb) and the Student Advice and Wellbeing web pages on Immigration.
Please note: If we sponsor you for your Student Visa or Tier 4 visa, we will ask you to verify your immigration status at various points during your studies with us. Please make sure you respond if we get in touch, otherwise your visa sponsorship may be at risk.