Visa applications – CAS number frequently asked questions

This page contains answers to frequently asked questions about the process of applying for a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.

How the University will apply for your CAS number

What is a CAS number?

CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. New UK immigration rules require the University to sponsor your application for a student visa (note that this is not the same as financial sponsorship). This involves the University confirming to the UK government's Home Office that we have made you an Unconditional offer of a study place at Sheffield, and that you have accepted this. The Home Office will then issue a CAS number for you. They will send this to the University, and we will let you know what this is.

Why do I need a CAS number?

You will need a CAS number to apply for a visa to allow you to study in the UK.

When will the University apply for my CAS number?

The University will only apply for your CAS number 1) when it is less than three months until your course is due to start, 2) when you have accepted an Unconditional offer of a study place at the University and 3) (for postgraduate taught applicants only) when you have paid any fee deposit we have requested.

Do I have to pay a fee deposit before the University applies for my CAS number?

If you have applied for a taught postgraduate course and we have asked you to pay a fee deposit, we will only be able to apply for your CAS number when you have paid your fee deposit.

My course requires ATAS clearance. Will you apply for my CAS number before I have received this?

Yes. However please note that you will need to have received ATAS clearance before your visa interview. You can find more information about this on our ATAS webpage.

I have already accepted an Unconditional offer for a course starting in September, but you have not yet emailed me about applying for my CAS number. Why?

CAS numbers are only valid for six months, so we will only apply for your CAS number when it is less than three months until your course is due to start.

Can I apply for a student visa with my offer letter?

No, you can only apply for your visa with the CAS number arranged by the University.

Can I apply to the Home Office directly for my CAS number?

No. Only government-approved education providers can apply for CAS numbers, on behalf of applicants who have applied to study there. The University of Sheffield is an approved education provider.

Confirming your CAS Application Information

What do I need to do when the University is applying for my CAS number?

When you have accepted an Unconditional offer of a study place at the University of Sheffield, we will send you a CAS Application Email, including a link to our online CAS Application Portal. The CAS Application Portal will contain the information about you that we need to send to the Home Office (your "CAS Application Information"). You will need to check that this information is all present and correct, as it appears on your passport and in the supporting documents you will use when you apply for your visa. If any information is missing or incorrect, you will need to enter the correct information. Please note that you will be required to upload a scan of your passport photo page. We may also require a scan of the documents confirming the qualifications on which our offer of a place to you is based. If this is the case, this will be indicated within the CAS Application Portal.

Why do I need to confirm my CAS Application Information?

Like many countries, the UK operates a strict immigration policy. If the information we submit to the Home Office is not the same as that on your passport and other documents, your application for a visa to study here will be refused.

What information do you need to confirm?

Your CAS Application Information will be available on the CAS Application Portal. The information is a summary of your personal information, your course details and your qualifications – information that you will use when applying for your visa. If as part of your course you will be studying at a partner institution in the UK or overseas, or undertaking a work placement, we will also ask you to confirm this information.

How do I confirm my CAS Application Information?

You can confirm your information via the CAS Application Portal. A link to this will be provided in the CAS Application Email. In the CAS Application Portal you will be able to check the information we have about you. If any information is missing or incorrect, you will be able to enter the correct information.

Where can I find the CAS Application Portal?

A link to the CAS Application Portal will be provided in your CAS Application Email.

What do I do if any of my CAS Application Information is missing or incorrect?

In the CAS Application Portal you will be able to add or amend any information which is currently missing or incorrect.

What will happen if my CAS Application Information is incomplete or different to my passport and the supporting documents I use when I apply for my visa?

Your visa application will be refused. It is essential that all the relevant information must be present and the same as on your passport and supporting documents. This is why it is important that you check your CAS Application Information very carefully.

I have two first names, but these appear as a "First/Given name" and a "Middle name" in the CAS Application Portal. What should I do?

Your names appear in the CAS Application Portal as you entered them in your application for a study place. It is possible to include multiple words in the name fields within the CAS Application Portal, and if you wish you can amend the arrangement of your names when you confirm your CAS Application Information, so that both names appear in the "First/Given name" field. However it will not make a difference to your visa application whether you include two names in the "First/Given name" field, or one in "First/Given name" and one in "Middle name".

There is some information missing in the Qualifications Section of my CAS Application Information. Why is this?

There can be information missing in the Qualifications Section because of the different application methods that we have at the University for different levels of study. You will be able to enter this when you confirm your CAS Application Information using the CAS Application Portal.

I don’t yet have all the material I need to confirm my CAS Application Information. What should I do?

You can access and amend your CAS Application Information as many times as you want before confirming your information. Please note, however, that we won’t be able to submit your CAS number application to the Home Office until you have confirmed that all your information is present and correct.

What happens if I don't confirm my CAS Application Information?

It is very important that your information is all present and correct. Therefore we will not apply for your CAS number until you have confirmed it. Without a CAS number, you will not be able to apply for the student visa you need to study in the UK.

Where will you send my CAS Application Email?

We will send your CAS Application Email to the email address you provided when you submitted your application. Please make sure that the email address you used in your application is still valid, and that your account is set to trust emails from @sheffield.ac.uk and @shef.ac.uk addresses.

My email address has changed. What should I do?

If the email address you used in your application is no longer valid, please let us know your new address by emailing shefapply@sheffield.ac.uk.

I don’t have an email account. What should I do?

If you don't have an email address, we will contact you on the telephone number you entered on your application.

What happens if my contact email address is my agent’s and not my personal email address?

If your email address is your agent's, then they will receive your CAS Application Email. They will need either to confirm the information themselves if they can, or to contact you for you to confirm your information.

I have deleted my CAS Application Email before confirming my information. What should I do?

Please email us at pbsapply@sheffield.ac.uk with your name and application number and we will resend your CAS Application Email.

Why is my nationality shown by country name and not as the standard nationality name?

Your nationality is written as a country name because this is how we record this information at the University of Sheffield. The Home Office accept a nationality as a country name, so this will not affect your CAS application.

I have been awarded a scholarship. Will this appear on my CAS Application Record?

If you have already been awarded a University of Sheffield scholarship, this information has now been forwarded to the Home Office and will appear on your CAS Application Record. If you are awarded a University of Sheffield scholarship in the future, we will inform the Home Office and let you know when we have done this. If you are awarded a scholarship from any source other than the University of Sheffield, please note that this will not appear in your CAS Application Record. In this case you will need to include the scholarship documentation when you submit your visa application.

We automatically inform all applicants if they are eligible for any scholarships immediately after they have been made an offer.

More information on scholarships for International students

I have paid a deposit on tuition/accommodation fees. Will this appear on my CAS Statement?

If you have already paid a deposit on your tuition or accommodation fees, this will appear on your CAS Statement within 48 hours of the payment being received in the University. Any future payments will appear on your record within 48 hours of the time your payment is processed.

I have been awarded a tuition fee discount for paying my tuition fees in full. Will this appear on my CAS Statement?

We do not always know that you have been awarded a tuition fee discount for paying your tuition fees in full. Please email us at pbsapply@sheffield.ac.uk to let us know if your discount is not on your CAS Statement and we will add this for you.

Why is the course start date in my CAS Application Information different to the start date in my offer letter?

The start date in your CAS Application Information has changed from the date in the offer letter to include the University’s Intro Week, when you will be expected to register at the University. This does not affect your CAS application.

Intro Week is a programme of welcome events for new students. We strongly recommend that you arrive for the start of Intro Week.

More information on Intro Week

What happens if I have a problem using the CAS Application Portal?

If you have a problem using the CAS Application Portal, please let us know by emailing pbsapply@sheffield.ac.uk with 1) "Problem With CAS Application Portal", 2) your name and 3) your application number as the Subject. This address should only be used to inform us of a problem, not to confirm your information. Please note however that we won’t be able to submit your CAS number application to the Home Office until you have confirmed your information using the CAS Application Portal.

The Home Office charge £14 for issuing a CAS number. Will I have to pay this?

No. The Home Office do charge £14 for issuing a CAS number, but the University of Sheffield will pay this.

Visa letters

I have already been issued with a Visa Letter by the University of Sheffield. Can I still apply for my visa using this?

No. The Visa Letter system ended on 22 February 2010. Even if you were issued with a Visa Letter before this date, you will now need a CAS number to apply for a visa.

I was issued with a Visa Letter by the University of Sheffield before 22 February 2010, but have not yet applied for my visa. Will you still send me an email about CAS application?

We have emailed all applicants who were sent a Visa Letter between 1 January 2010 and 21 February 2010 and asked them to contact us if they have not yet applied for a visa and will need a CAS number. Where applicants have done this, we will send them a CAS Application Email. Anyone who was sent a Visa Letter and has not yet applied for a visa, but who has not already informed us about this, should email us at pbsapply@sheffield.ac.uk as soon as possible.

What happens after you confirm your CAS Application Information

What will happen after I have confirmed my CAS Application Information?

When you have confirmed your CAS Application Information, we will submit this to the Home Office, who will allocate you a CAS number. The Home Office will contact the University when this has been done, and we will email you to tell you that your CAS number has been allocated. You will then be able to view this by logging back in to your record in the CAS Application Portal.

How will you tell me my CAS number?

When the Home Office have allocated you a CAS number, we will send you a CAS Notification Email telling you that this has happened. You will then be able to view this, together with a copy of the information about you held by Home Office, by logging back in to your record in the CAS Application Portal.

We will send the CAS Notification Email to the email address you provided in the CAS Application Portal.

How long will the application for a CAS number take?

The University and the Home Office process thousands of student cases each month, so it can be 10 working days between when you confirm your CAS Application Information and when we email you with your CAS number. If you have not received your CAS Statement Email within 20 working days, please let us know by emailing pbsapply@sheffield.ac.uk.

I won't meet the conditions of my offer until shortly before my course starts. Will there still be time to arrange my CAS number and visa?

Applicants often receive their results in late August and still manage to arrange their CAS number and visa in time to start their course in September. If you receive an Unconditional offer only a few weeks before your course is due to start, we should be able to arrange your CAS number within approximately a week, and visa offices are aware of the deadlines applicants are working to and try to accommodate this where possible.

What should I do when I receive my CAS number?

After you have received your CAS number, you can find details of how to make your visa application on the Home Office website. Please note that you will only be able to apply for your visa a maximum of three months before the date your course is due to start.

When can I use my CAS number to apply for a visa?

You can use your CAS number up to three months before the date your course is due to start.

Do I need a paper copy of my CAS Statement Email?

No. The CAS number links to an electronic record on the Home Office database, and so you will only need to enter the number on your visa application.

How long will my CAS number be valid for?

You CAS number will be valid for six months. This means that you should apply for your visa within six months of being issued with a CAS number. Please note that you will only be able to apply for your visa a maximum of three months before the date your course is due to start.

Can I use my CAS number to apply for a visa to study on another course or at another University?

No. CAS numbers are linked to the specific course you have applied for. This is why we only apply for a CAS number when you have accepted an Unconditional offer.

Can my friend use my CAS number?

No. Your CAS number is unique to you.

Does receiving my CAS number mean that I will definitely get a visa?

No. Applicants must meet all the other requirements of the UK's immigration rules. You can find more information about this on the Home Office website. Please note that you will only be able to apply for your visa a maximum of three months before the date your course is due to start.

If my visa application is unsuccessful, can I use the same CAS number to re-apply?

No. If your visa application is unsuccessful, you will need a new CAS number to re-apply. Before a new CAS number can be assigned, you will need to email a scanned copy of your refusal notice to the University's International Student Support team at international.students@sheffield.ac.uk. An immigration adviser will then confirm whether a new CAS can be assigned. If a new CAS is assigned, you should use this new number when you re-apply for a visa.

What are the legal implications of having a CAS number?

Once you have been allocated a CAS number, the University is required to report you to the Home Office if you break the terms and conditions of your visa. This requirement applies to all universities, not just the University of Sheffield. You can ensure that you comply with the terms and conditions of your student visa by doing the following:

  • Enrol for every year of your studies. If you are unable to enrol, you must inform the University so that we know where you are.
  • Keep good attendance at all teaching sessions. If you are in the UK on a student visa you must study full time.
  • Do not take a break from your studies unless this is absolutely necessary
  • Do not work more hours than permitted during term time. You can work full time during the vacation periods.

The University will notify the Home Office if:

  • You do not register
  • You are absent, without authorisation, from teaching sessions
  • You withdraw from your course
  • You take an authorised leave of absence
  • You change your course of study
  • We know that you have broken the terms and conditions of your visa

Where can I find information about other aspects of the visa application process?

Information about other aspects of the visa application process can be found on the Home Office website. Guidance is also provided by the University of Sheffield's International Student Services.