The University of Sheffield
Prospective international students

Visa applications – CAS number application process

We have been made aware that there is a telephone scam targetting students. The caller informs the student that there is a problem with their original visa application and requests a payment of approximately £675 to solve the issue. Please be aware that these telephone calls are not from members of the UK Visa and Immigration Service or the University of Sheffield. Further information on how to deal with such calls is provided on the UK government website.

In 2009, the UK introduced a Points Based System (PBS) for visa applications. Tier 4 of this system relates to International students (ie those from outside the EU/EEA) applying to study in the UK. Under the Points Based System, applicants must be sponsored by an institution, such as the University of Sheffield, which is registered with the UK government's Home Office as an "approved education provider" (please note that this is not the same as financial sponsorship).

To confirm their sponsorship, anyone who applies for a visa to study in the UK must include with their visa application a unique Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number, linking them to the institution where they intend to study.

Please be aware that when students who have applied to study in the UK are issued with a CAS number, they become subject to Home Office rules on monitoring international students. This means that we will have to report you to the Home Office if you don’t register at the University, or if you don’t attend your course.

The following table describes the process of applying for a CAS number to use in your application for a visa to study in the UK. Sections in bold text indicate where you need to do something. Please note that we will only apply for your CAS number 1) when it is less than five 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.

Stage What will happen Estimated timescale
1 We will send you a CAS Application Email. This will contain a link to our online CAS Application Portal where you will be able to confirm the information that the Home Office requires before it can allocate you a CAS number. Within 7 working days of you accepting an Unconditional offer of a study place at the University of Sheffield (and paying any associated fee deposit) or five months before your course is due to start (whichever is later).
2 You should follow the instructions in the CAS Application Portal. You will be asked to confirm whether or not your information is present and correct (as it appears on your passport and other documents). If any information is missing or incorrect, you will be able to enter the correct information.  
3 We will submit your CAS Application Information to the Home Office. Within 5 working days of you confirming your CAS Application Information.
4 The Home Office will process your information and, if it is all correct, they will allocate you a CAS number. They will send this number to the University (not to you). Within 1 working day of the Home Office receiving your CAS Application Information.
5 We will send you a CAS Confirmation Email confirming 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. Within 2 working days of the Home Office informing us of your CAS number.
6 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.  

Frequently asked questions

You can also read our answers to frequently asked questions about the process of applying for a CAS number.