Applying outside the UK: document checklist
You will need a valid passport and Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number to apply for a visa from outside the UK. You may also need to submit additional documents depending on your circumstances.
Documents all students need to gather
Everyone applying for a new Student visa needs a valid passport. You must submit it to UKVI as part of your application.
Make sure that:
your passport has 1 full page that is blank on both sides so there is room for a vignette (visa sticker) if you need one
your passport won’t expire before you travel to the UK
If your passport is due to expire after you arrive, it may be possible to renew it within the UK. If you can’t renew it in the UK, you should renew it before you apply for your visa. Renewing your passport can take several weeks, although you may be able to pay for a priority service to speed the process up.
To find out more, consult the passport issuing authority in your home country.
Everyone applying for a Student visa needs a CAS number.
A CAS is a digital document created by the University, which shows we have given you an unconditional offer to study. Your CAS contains information about your programme, fees and qualifications.
We will create a draft version of your CAS for you to check. Once this has been confirmed, you will receive a CAS number which you must use to make your visa application.
We can issue your CAS number up to 6 months before the start of your programme. However, if you are starting an undergraduate programme in September you will not receive your CAS number until July at the earliest.
How long it takes to get a CAS number
How long it takes to receive your CAS number depends on your level of study and the time of year.
See our CAS pages to get a better idea of how long it would take to receive your CAS number after requesting it.
The financial requirements element of your visa application involves gathering official documents that show UKVI you have enough money to study and live in the UK. The amount you need to show depends on your programme fees and how long you’re studying in the UK.
The documents you need to gather depend on how you will be funding your studies. For example, if you have a scholarship you will need to show a letter from your scholarship provider with the amount of money you’re receiving.
You should gather financial documents before you start your visa application. Not all nationalities are required to submit financial documents with their application. However, UKVI might ask to see the documents during the application process and they will refuse your application if you do not provide them in the specified timeframe.
How long it takes to gather financial documents
How long it takes to gather financial documents will depend on how you are funding your studies. For example, you may be able to download bank statements yourself, or you may have to wait for a funding provider to send you a letter confirming your funds.
See our financial requirements pages for more information on what documents you will need.
If your documents are not in English
Any documents that are not in English must be translated by a professional translator. You must submit a fully certified translation that includes:
the date of the translation
the full name of the translator
the signature of the translator or an employee of the translation company
the translator's contact details or the translation company's details
a confirmation that the document is an accurate translation
If you are studying a science and technology programme
Selected science and technology programmes may require you to have an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, and this will depend on your nationality.
You can find out if this applies to you in your offer letter from the University.
You can apply for an ATAS certificate 6 months before you submit your visa application. ATAS certificates are valid for 6 months. They must be used in a Student visa application in this timeframe.
How long it takes to get an ATAS certificate
Usually, ATAS decisions take at least 4 to 6 weeks. But a decision can take longer, especially during peak times in July and August.
You should apply as soon as you get a conditional offer, but no more than 6 months before the day you submit your visa application.
If you live in a country that requires tuberculosis (TB) testing
You will need a medical certificate to prove you have had a negative tuberculosis (TB) test if you:
have been living in a country that requires TB testing
are coming to the UK for more than 6 months
If you have been living in country that does not require TB testing for at least 6 months before you submit your visa application then you do not need a test.
On arrival in the UK, you may need to show your TB certificate to an immigration officer.
If you have received a full scholarship
If you have a full scholarship (all fees and living costs) from a government or international scholarship agency within the last 12 months, and have completed your programme, you will also need written unconditional consent for your visa application from your scholarship provider.
If you have a full scholarship from the University of Edinburgh, you do not need to provide evidence of consent.
If you study the International Foundation or pre-sessional English programme
If you have applied for a programme of study which is below degree level, you will need to submit certificates or official transcripts of the qualifications used by the University to assess your suitability for the course.
Your qualifications will be listed on your CAS.
You need to prove that you can speak, write and understand English to a standard that will allow you to study your programme.
You can do this by showing one of the following:
a certificate that shows you passed the Secure English Language Test (SELT)
a certificate showing you have a degree from a majority English-speaking country (along with a certificate from UK ENIC which confirms the level of your degree programme)
a passport that shows you are a national of a majority English-speaking country
How long it takes to gather English language documents
If you need to take a SELT, you should be able to take a test within 28 days of booking, but it may not be at the location nearest to you.
If you need a certificate from UK ENIC, they will complete your assessment within 15 working days. 24-hour or 48-hour fast track services are available at an additional fee.
If you are under 18
If you are under 18 when you apply for a Student visa, you must include a letter from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to show that they support your application. This letter must confirm all of the following:
their relationship to you
that they consent to your application as a student
that they consent to your living arrangements in the UK
If one parent or legal guardian has legal custody or sole responsibility for you, the letter must confirm this and be signed by that parent or legal guardian. Otherwise, both parents or legal guardians must give their consent and sign the letter.
Have a question about which documents you need?
If you are unsure about any of the documents you will need to provide, contact us through our enquiry form. We can review the documents you need to provide for your application.
Now that you know which documents you will need to apply, find out what the Student visa application and process is like.