Immigration and visa information

The International Student Support Office can provide you with advice on any immigration and visa matters you may need help with. For information about the process of applying for your Student visa and more visit their website.

In order to apply for a Tier 4 student visa you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number which we will send to you once you hold an unconditional place at the University which has been firmly accepted. The University can only issue a CAS six months before the start date of your programme and you can only use the CAS to apply for a visa within three months of the start date of your programme. We will only issue a CAS if it is within these timeframes. This process is automatic and you do not need to contact us to start the process.

The CAS number is individual to you and you will need this to apply for your Tier 4 visa. Each CAS issued is linked to the University/Institution who issued it, so you can only use a CAS to get a visa for that university (if you change your mind and wish to go to another university, you will need to get a CAS and visa for that institution). If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, you will only be able register at the University of Exeter using a visa which has been issued on the basis of a University of Exeter CAS.

If your programme of study requires you to have ATAS clearance, we will not be able to begin the CAS issuing process until your ATAS certificate is received. If you require ATAS clearance you will be notified as part of your offer.

You must not apply for a Tier 4 visa or book a visa appointment without receiving your CAS statement. The University cannot guarantee you will receive this in time for any appointments booked before your CAS is issued.

  • When you have met all the conditions of your offer and accepted your place at the University, the Tier 4 CAS Team will send you a pre-CAS check email which contains a form that you will need to complete and return. This will happen automatically and you do not need to request a CAS.
  • You will be required to complete and fully answer all the questions in this form and sign up to our terms and conditions. Please ensure that you check this information carefully – any mistakes could lead to delays or your visa being refused. 
  • If you need an ATAS certificate, we will not be able to issue your CAS until we have a copy of your ATAS certificate.
  • Once you have provided us with the correct information and documents and we are satisfied that you meet Home Office and the University of Exeter entry requirements, we will issue you with a CAS statement, which will include your CAS number via your contact email address. You do not need to submit the CAS statement with your visa application but you will need to include the CAS number.
  • If we do not think that you will be able to make a successful visa application, or do not meet the University of Exeter requirements or if you have previously been refused a visa, it is within our rights to NOT issue you with a CAS.

It normally takes 2-3 working days after we have received a reply to your pre-CAS check email for your CAS to be issued.

At peak times the timeframe for issuing a CAS may increase to up to five working days. We would ask that if you have completed all of the above, that you do not contact the Tier 4 CAS Team until after the five working days as the volume of telephone calls received can impact on CAS issuing times.

We will update your CAS to include any payments that you make for tuition fees or accommodation after the CAS has been issued. However, this can take up to five working days, so we cannot guarantee that your CAS will be updated in time for your visa appointment if you make a payment within five days of the appointment date. It is important that you bear this in mind when making payments for accommodation or tuition.

Any student who requires a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK is required to demonstrate academic progression from any course previously studied in the UK as a Tier 4 student. In order to demonstrate academic progression your new course must normally be above the level of the previous course for which you were given Tier 4 leave (eg. undergraduate to Masters).

If you wish to study a new course at the same level as one which you have already completed under Tier 4, for example you wish to study a 2nd Masters degree, it may exceptionally be considered to represent academic progression if:

  1. the new course is related to the previous course for which you were given Tier 4 leave (meaning that it is either connected to the previous course, part of the same subject group or involves deeper specialisation); or
  2. your previous and new course combined, support your career aspirations.

The University may contact you to request a statement from you in order to justify the academic progression requirement.

The requirement to demonstrate academic progression means that the University will not be able to offer anyone who requires a Tier 4 visa a place on a programme which is at a lower level than a programme previously studied in the UK. If you have failed to complete the course that you most recently studied in the UK, you will not be able to extend your Tier 4 leave in the UK and will be required to return to your home country to apply for your visa.

The Home Office limits the time that students are permitted to spend studying in the UK on a Student visa.

In general, students are limited to a maximum of five years in the UK at Bachelor’s and/or Masters level. The Home Office allows you more time if:

  • your Bachelor’s degree course was four years long (not including repeat study) and you want to study a Masters degree. The maximum period is increased to six years;
  • you are intending to study Architecture, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Medicine and Science, Music at a Conservatoire or Law (conversion course, Legal Practice course, or Bar course);
  • you are undertaking a PhD/Eng D and have not previously completed a course at this level. The Home Office will not grant you a further student visa if you have completed a PhD and the new grant of leave would lead to spending more than eight years as a student.

To calculate the time limit, the Home Office counts the proposed period of leave together with any current leave and any previous leave held on a Tier 4 or pre-Tier 4 Student Visa. If the length of the new course would lead to the applicant having spent more than the maximum period permitted in the category, the visa application will be refused unless the course can be completed within 11 months of the time limit being reached and the application is to complete a fifth academic year (at degree level or above) or a sixth academic year if the student is subject to the six-year time limit as they have studied a four-year undergraduate degree.

If you are coming to study for more than six months, you will be required to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) once you have arrived in the UK. A BRP is a card which acts as evidence of your entitlement to be in the UK. When you apply for your visa in your home country you will be given a visa in your passport which is valid for 30 days. This allows you to travel to and enter the UK, but you must then collect your BRP after you arrive.We strongly recommend that you request that your BRP is sent to the University for you to collect. To do this you need to use the following code in your application when prompted:

  • If you will be studying at Streatham at St Luke's Campus: 2HE342
  • If you will be studying at Penryn Campus: 2HE347

When the University receives your BRP we will contact you with instructions on how to collect it. If you do not use on of the codes given above your BRP will be delivered to a local Post Office.

Full details of how to apply for your Student visa can be found on the International Student Support pages.

Unless otherwise stated, you will need to assume you are responsible for paying the following:

The British Council provide some helpful information in order to help you understand the wider costs and plan your budget.


For questions on applying for your visa, please check the information provided by our International Student Support Office.  If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please contact us.

If you have a question regarding your CAS, please contact CAS Team.
Tel: +44 (0) 1392 725744