Academic progression for visa purposes


Specific immigration rules apply to students who are progressing from one UK postgraduate course to another UK postgraduate course, and who intend to apply within the UK for a visa for their new course. This includes where the new course is at a higher level (for example masters to PhD).

Before issuing a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for the new course, the UKVI require either:

  • A certificate/final transcript confirming the award of the qualification associated with the previous course

Or, where a certificate/final transcript is not yet available:

  • Confirmation from the awarding institution that the student is 'highly likely' to successfully complete the previous course

The relevant rules issued by the UKVI are as follows:

5.32 A student can demonstrate having successfully completed their course by having received the award or, where the formal award has not yet been issued and the student is studying a course at degree level or above at a sponsor which is a HEP with a track record of compliance, through formal written confirmation.

5.33 In order to provide formal written confirmation, the current sponsor must make an assessment of the student's academic ability to complete their current course successfully. The confirmation provided should state that, based on the assessment and the student's performance throughout the course, the sponsor considers that the student is highly likely to complete their course successfully. It should also give an indication of when the qualification will be awarded.

5.34 The sponsor assigning the CAS should note on the CAS that their offer is based on formal written confirmation from the current sponsor. In the event that the student does not successfully complete their first course, the sponsor assigning the CAS will be required to notify UKVI and withdraw sponsorship of the student.

If you have not received your final award by the time you apply for your CAS, you will need to provide a letter confirming you are highly likely to successfully complete the course.

This letter must:

  • Include the date the letter was issued
  • Be on letter-headed paper
  • Be signed by an appropriate staff member at your original institution, and include contact details for them or their department
  • Confirm that your current institution has assessed your performance and considers you highly likely to complete your current course successfully
  • Include the month and year when your qualification will be awarded

Your current institution will be able to provide you with this letter. Please contact them to request it. You can send a link to this webpage to show the requirements.

If you have any questions about these arrangements, please contact the Admissions Service's PBS Team (

A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.