Visas and Immigration

​The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) grant institutions that demonstrated high levels of compliance with a ‘Student Visa Sponsor Status’. Cardiff Metropolitan University has been awarded Student Visa Sponsor Status, which allows us to sponsor international students by assigning a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), so they can apply for their student visa. ​

On this page you will find frequently asked questions about visas and immigration. We offer free expert visa advice to students applying to Cardiff Met.

Applying for a student visa from outside the UK or within the UK


1. What type of visa do I need?

Students will need a Student Visa entry clearance (visa) to enter the United Kingdom to study (except those on a course of study of six months or less who may qualify for entry under the category of short-term student visitor). ​

2. When should I apply for my visa?

We advise that you apply for your student visa entry clearance as soon as possible,however if you are within the UK it is only possible to submit an application within 3 months of the start date of the course. If you are applying from outside of the UK you can now apply 6 months before the start date of your course. If your visa is not issued in time for the start of your course, you may not be permitted to enter the UK.

During the summer months (June- September) the application process in some countries can take up to 3 months or longer. The time required to process your visa will depend on the country where you are making your application. For information on visa processing times in your country please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.

3. What is a CAS number?

A CAS (Certificate of Acceptance for Study) is a unique number that is essential for each Student Visa applicant to make a visa application. The university enters details about the student, course and qualifications into the Home Office's database to confirm the university's sponsorship of the student and the unique number is generated and will be provided to the student via email in the form of a CAS statement. Your CAS statement should be submitted with your application when you apply for your visa.

4. How do I get my CAS?

To receive your Certificate of Acceptance for Study (CAS) letter you will need to:

  • Make a pre-payment of towards your course fees (the amount is confirmed in your offer letter), or submit official sponsorship/financial guarantee letter.

  • Provide us with a copy of the personal details pages of your passport and copies of any pages which contain UK immigration permission

*If you do not have an agent we will check the documents you will be using to support your visa application.

5. Can I bring my family to the UK?

Your dependants (husband, wife , civil partneror children) can apply for immigration permission to join or remain with you in the UK only if:

  • You are government-sponsored and your course (at any level) is over six months long OR

  • You are doing a postgraduate level course of 9 months or longer at a Higher Education Institution OR

  • You had a student visa for your previous course where the course was over six months long AND:

  • Your visa is valid or expired no more than three months before this immigration application AND

  • Your new immigration application is for a course which is over six months long AND

  • Your dependants already have Tier 4 Dependant or Student Dependant visas AND

  • You apply for immigration permission at the same time as your dependant
    If your family member(s) wish to join you in the UK as your dependant(s), they will need to make an application for a UK visa at their nearest visa application centre in their home country. For information on how to apply for a dependant visa from overseas, please visit the UK Visas and Immigration website.

6. I have been called for an interview by the UKVI what does this mean?

The UK Visas and Immigration may ask you to attend an interview.

The purpose of these interviews is to ensure the entry of genuine international students into the UK. These interviews can be conducted either face- to- face, over the telephone or via video link facilities and will be conducted by Visa Officers.

You should not worry about the interview; you must remain confident during the interview and do your very best and we look forward to seeing you in Cardiff soon.

7. Do I need to have a medical check before coming to the UK?

In accordance with the Immigration Rules, it may be necessary for you to obtain a medical certificate as evidence that you do not have infectious pulmonary tuberculosis, prior to making an immigration application for travel to the UK. 

The necessity of obtaining this evidence will depend on where you will be making your visa application. It is important that you check if this rule will apply to you in advance of making your visa application as failure to provide it could result in an unsuccessful application. The full list of countries where TB Screening is required in advance of making a visa application for entry to the UK can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration website.

Please note, the rule relating to TB screening is dependant on the country where you make your application, not your nationality.

TB Screening is not necessary for visitors, including student visitors who intend to stay in the UK for 6 months or less.

Although you may have obtained a medical certificate prior to arriving in the UK, once starting university you may be called for further TB screening from the local National Health Service TB control service.

This screening involves a skin test and is looking for latent (asleep) TB infection which is not picked up by chest x-ray.

If Latent TB is diagnosed following this test you will be given medication to cure this to prevent active TB illness developing in the future.

People with Latent TB do not have any symptoms and cannot pass it on to others. Once you are in the UK, if you have any queries about this process, please contact our Campus nurse for advice at healthservice@cardiffmet.ac.uk

8. What is the Immigration Health Surcharge?

On the 6 April 2015 the UK government introduced an immigration health surcharge which applies to all non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who come to the UK to work or study or to join family. The immigration health surcharge also applies to non -EEA nationals who are already in the UK and need to apply for a visa extension to extend their leave in the UK on or after 6 April 2015.

For more information regarding the immigration health surcharge please refer to the immigration health surcharge: information for migrants policy published by the Home Office. Please click here to view this information. ​

PLEASE NOTE if you are applying for a 6 month short-term student visa or for a student visa to commence a course in the UK for 6 months or less, you will not be exempt from paying hospital fees and you will be charged a high rate for any hospital treatment you receive. You will therefore need to ensure you have obtained private health insurance from the beginning of your stay in the UK, to avoid having to pay these high hospital fees.

9. How much will I need to pay in Immigration Health Surcharge?

To find out how much you will be required to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge, please click here. ​

10. How do I make my application?

You will be required to make an application online for a student visa by visiting the UK Visas and Immigration website and clicking on 'Apply for a UK Visa'. You’ll need to have your fingerprints and photograph taken at a visa application centre in your home country as part of your application. You may be able to get your visa quicker depending on which country you are applying from. You can check this with your visa application centre.

If you are applying from overseas and require general advice about the student visa application process you can contact the UK Visas and Immigration department. Please visit: https://www.gov.uk/contact-ukvi-inside-outside-uk for further information.

If your visa application is successful, you will receive a short-term (travel) entry clearance visa in your passport which will be valid for 90 days along with a decision letter setting out the full length of leave which will be granted to you to complete your course at Cardiff Met. The short term (travel) entry clearance visa will enable you to travel to the UK and once you have arrived at the university you will be able to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) which will confirm the full length of leave granted to you.

You must ensure you collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival in the UK.

Please ensure you read the information provided by the UKVI.

​11. What documents do I need to make a Student Visa application?

It is essential that you take the time to prepare all of the necessary documentation that will be required to allow you to make a strong visa application. The required documents are listed below although not all of them will be applicable to you:

  • Passport(s)

  • CAS Statement

  • Personal Bank statements, parents' bank statements or bank loan letter confirming funds for tuition fees and living costs have been maintained for a consecutive 28 day period ending no more than 31 days before the date of application.

  • Sponsorship letter (Only applicable if you are officially sponsored by a government or international organisation or company and they are agreeing to cover some or all of your tuition fees and living costs during your time studying in the UK).

  • Education certificates (the relevant certificates will be listed on your CAS statement)

  • ATAS certificate (Only if you have been advised by the university and if this is stated on your CAS as a requirement)

  • Birth certificate (Only applicable if submitting parents' bank statements or as proof of name change)

  • Letter from parents ( Only if you are using your parents' bank statements. The letter should confirm that their money will be used for your fees and living costs).

  • Marriage certificate (if you are also applying for a visa for your husband or wife)

  • Translations (Any document that has not been written in English must be translated by an official translator and contain the translators qualifications, stamp, date and confirmation that the translation was based on the original document).

  • Police Registration Certificate (Only applicable for certain nationalities when extending their visa inside the UK).

  • Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) (Only applicable for students making visa extension applications inside the UK who have previously been issued with a BRP)

12. How much money should I have in my bank account before making my application?

At present, you must show that you have maintained your tuition fees (minus any fees that you have already paid to the university), plus living costs of £1023 per calendar month of the course you are due to study, for up to a maximum of 9 months. 

E.g. For students studying on a 12 month course, the Home Office will calculate living costs as £9,207 (£1023 x 9 months).

The total amount of money you will be required to show for tuition fees and living costs must be maintained in you/your parent(s) bank account for a consecutive 28 day period, ending no more than 31 days before the date of application. (Please note that this advice is only applicable to students who are due to study in an institution based outside London).

PLEASE NOTE: If your family member(s) will be submitting dependant applications the amount of money each dependant will be required to show for living costs is £680 per calendar month(up to a maximum of 9 months).

E.g. For students studying on a 12 month course, the Home Office will calculate living costs for each of their dependants as £6120 (£680 x 9 months)

13. What happens when my visa has been issued?

Please click here for more information about what happens when your visa has been issued

14. How long will my visa be granted for?

Your visa will be granted for the length of your course plus an additional:

  • 7 days if your course is less than 6 months long

  • 2 months if your course is more than 6 months but less than 12 months long

  • 4 months if your course is more than 12 months long

  • 1 month if you are studying a Pre-sessional course which is less than 6 months long

15. What is the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate?

This is a certificate that some PhD and Masters students must apply for prior to making a visa application. You will be advised by the university if you require an ATAS certificate.

Further information about the ATAS Scheme.

16. Will I be able to work in the UK during my studies?

If you obtain a Student visa to study at Cardiff Met, you will be able to work part-time during your studies for a maximum of 10 or 20 hours per week, depending on the type of course you are studying. The number of hours you are permitted to work per week will be stated on your visa. You will also be permitted to work full-time hours during official university vacations. For more information about working during your studies please visit the Work page from the Information for Current Students section.

17. What are the immigration rules for students studying at Cardiff Met?

a. You must arrive in the UK and enrol on your nominated course before the prescribed enrolment deadline stated on your CAS statement. 

b. After enrolment, the University will be required to take a copy of your passport, visa and biometric identity card (BRP) (if you have one). This information will be stored securely in accordance with the data protection act, and will be retained by the University until whichever is the earliest of:

  • one year has passed from the date on which we end our sponsorship of you; or
  • the date on which a compliance officer has examined and approved them, if this is less than one year after we ended our sponsorship of you 

Cardiff Metropolitan University will need to produce this information to the UK Immigration Authorities if requested.

c. Your attendance on your course will be monitored and attendance at all classes, tutorials and lectures is compulsory. On arrival, you will be advised on how your attendance will be monitored to ensure that you comply with the immigration regulations.

d. You will be required to inform the University of your UK contact details (address and mobile number) and consistently update us with any changes.

If you do not comply with these requirements, Cardiff Metropolitan University will be required to inform the immigration authorities. As these regulations are part of immigration law in the UK, failure to comply with them can have serious consequences and may result in deportation.

18. What do I need to do if I need to extend my visa in the UK?

19. Will I be able to apply for a visa that will allow me to work in the UK after graduation?

This may be a possibility if you meet all of the criteria of one of the applicable visa routes that permits work in the UK after study. Requirements change on a regular basis; we therefore recommend that you access the UK Visas and Immigration Website for further details about  Tier 2 and Tier 5.

The new Graduate visa route is due to be launched by the UK Government in the summer of 2021. This route will allow students who have successfully completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in the UK, to apply for a visa which will permit them to live and work in the UK for 2 years. PhD students can apply to stay for 3 years.

20. Short Term Student Visitor Visa

The Short-Term student visa is only available for students who are going to study an English language course between 6 and 11 months long.

Students can undertake a short course of study on a Standard visitor visa.

To be eligible for a Short Term Student Visa you must be 16 or older and be accepted onto an English language course which is no longer than 11 months long. The course must only be English language. If the course is for less than 6 months you could study the course on a visitor visa.

The Short Term Student Visa does not allow you to bring dependents to the UK. Therefore, if a student has dependents they would need to apply for a Standard Visitor Visa which would be valid for 6 months.

Please visit the following link for further information: https://www.gov.uk/visa-to-study-english

21. Studying on a Standard Visitor Visa

Visitors are now allowed to undertake the following types of study with this visa – 

  • Re-sit an exam or retake a module – if you are required to retake a module the study time must be no longer than 6 months. If you need to complete re-site exams and are successful and you want to proceed with further studies you will not be able to switch to a Student Visa from within the UK. 
  • Take a Viva exam – this must be part of a PhD studied at a UK University. 
  • A short course or courses which must be completed within the dates of your visa. If this course is at a Post graduate level you must obtain an ATAS certificate if required. 
  • A period of Research – you must be enrolled at an overseas institution on a course which is at RQF level 6 or above and you must be completing the research at a UK Higher Education provider. An ATAS certificate must be provided if required. 
  • Distance learning – if you are enrolled on a distance learning course with a UK University you can come to the UK on a Visitor Visa for such things as induction week or to sit exams. 

You are not permitted to undertake any work whilst in the UK on a Visitor Visa and you will not be able to extend you visitor visa or switch to a Student Visa or most working routes.

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​Have more questions? Please contact us at internationalaccept@cardiffmet.ac.uk or call +44 (0) 2920 205 644