The University of Southampton
Student ServicesVisa and immigration

Applying from outside the UK

Who needs a visa?

Applying from outside the UK.
This page provides information about applying from outside of the UK.

International students on a full-time programme of study of six months or more in duration are usually required to have a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK. 

Students commencing one of our Pre-sessional English language programmes of study are advised to apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.  It is not possible to switch from a Short-Term Study Visa to a Tier 4 (General) student visa in the UK.  Please visit our Pre-sessional visa extension page for further details.

If you are currently studying at our Malaysia or Dalian campus and you are applying to come to the UK to complete your programme of study, please refer to our Transitioning to the UK webpage.

International students do not need a Tier 4 (General) student visa if:

• they have a full British passport

• they have a passport from Switzerland, the European Union or the European Economic Area

• they have a visa in another immigration category which has no restrictions on study, and the permission will be valid for the length of their programme of study

If you are visiting the University to study for a period of 6 months or less (or if you are returning to attend a viva or exams) you may only need a Short-Term Study Visa.


How do I apply?

If you are making a Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application then you will need to apply from the country where you live, unless you are already in the UK with an immigration status that will allow you to switch to Tier 4. Information on who can switch into Tier 4 from inside of the UK can be found on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website.  If you are unsure, please contact us using our online enquiry form.  If you are in the UK and you are eligible to apply to extend your visa in the UK then please visit our renewing your visa from the UK webpage.

Please take time to read through and prepare all of the documents that you need before you make your Tier 4 visa application.

If your programme of study is longer than 6 months in duration, you will be given a short term entry vignette visa to allow you to travel to the UK.  On arrival you will collect your visa card or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).  For your convenience we advise students to have their Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card delivered to the University.  You can opt to have your BRP delivered to the University by entering our Alternative Collection Location (ACL) code during your visa application.

The ACL code for the University of Southampton is 2HE382

When can I apply?

You can apply up to three months in advance of your course start date.

What do I need?

To make your Tier 4 visa application you will need:

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

The Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is a number that links to an electronic data record on the Home Office UKVI website. You must have a valid CAS to make a Tier 4 visa application.  

As soon as you are unconditionally accepted onto your chosen programme of study you will be sent an email by the CAS Team requesting that you complete and return a CAS questionnaire. You will not be issued with a CAS until this form is completed and returned to them.

If you are a continuing student at the University of Southampton, for example, returning to your studies from a period of suspension outside of the UK, you will need to complete a continuing student CAS request form and send this to your Faculty Student Office. You can find the continuing student CAS request form in the Useful Downloads section at the bottom of this page. 

You will be sent your CAS number by email as part of the 'CAS Statement'; this cannot be sent more than 6 months before the start of your programme of study. Your CAS will list the documents used to obtain offer (academic qualifications), how you have met the UKVI minimum English language requirements, whether or not you have studied in the UK previously and also if you require ATAS clearance (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) for your programme of study.

If you do need ATAS clearance for your programme of study then you should read the ATAS guidance on the UKVI website.


You will need the following documents to make your Tier 4 visa application:

  • a current passport/travel document (with a page that is blank on both sides for the insertion of a visa vignette)
  • a passport sized colour photograph
  • if you are under 18, parental consent (or legal guardian consent) to travel to and study in the UK
  • a TB certificate if you are from a country where a test is required
  • ATAS certificate (if applicable)
  • academic qualifications (original certificates) listed on your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement
  • evidence that you can pay your tuition fees and support yourself in the UK (see our Maintenance page)

If you are eligible to apply under the Tier 4 pilot scheme, you will not need to submit the academic qualifications listed on your CAS and financial documents to evidence that you meet the financial requirements.  Further information can be found here.

All documents supplied must be originals and, if any of them are not in English, you must provide original certified translations.  Certified translations must include the date of the translation, the translators full name, signature, their contact details and their qualifications as a translator; it must also confirm that it is an accurate translation of the original document.

Please see the UK Visas and Immigration guide to supporting documents.

Money Please ensure that you have enough money to pay for the visa application and Immigration Health Surcharge (if applicable).  The amount of money you will need will depend on the visa application service that you opt for but you must make sure that there are no single transaction spending limits on the debit/credit card that you plan to use.
Apply online

Once you are sure that you have prepared all of the documents that you need, go to: 

For full guidance on the visa application process please go to our podcasts page.

Entering the UK and collecting your BRP (if applicable)

When you arrive in the UK to commence your programme of study, you will need to attend registration.  If you are arriving at the start of the academic year or at the beginning of semester 2, you will be sent an email inviting you to the event.  If you arrive at any other time of the year then please see the VISAS Team in Registry as soon as possible after your arrival (Registry, Room 2035, Building 37, Highfield Campus).  If you have chosen to have your BRP delivered to the University you will collect it at registration.


Alternative Collection Location (ACL) for Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card

The University is an Alternative Collection Location (ACL). We recommend that you use the University as the ACL if you are applying for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) card. It will allow you to collect your BRP card directly from the University. 

The ACL code for the University of Southampton is: 2HE382


Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

The UK government introduced the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) on 6 April 2015. The IHS is paid by non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who apply to come to the UK to work, study or join family for a period of more than six months. See the healthcare for non-UK students website for more information. 




On your Tier 4 application, you will usually be required to prove maintenance (money to support yourself during your stay in the UK). Please see the UKVI Policy Guidance and our Maintenance webpage for more information.


First time student arrivals advice from the UK Border Force


The UKVI provides extensive advice on arriving in the UK; this can be found on the following link.  The UK Border Force also provide a helpful 10 top tips student arrival guide.

Studying in the UK


We aim to make your experience in the UK as rewarding as possible, therefore we make sure important information regarding life and study at University of Southampton is available for you to access on our website. The following page provides very useful information for international students coming to study with us:

Useful Downloads

Need the software?PDF Reader

Useful external links

Please note: The University of Southampton cannot accept responsibility for the content of external websites.

Tuberculosis Tests for Visa ApplicantsImmigration Healthcare Surcharge InformationUKCISA - Guidance for Applying Outside of the UK

Useful internal links

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

If you are uncertain about anything or you have a query, then our comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page may have the answer.

Visa drop-in and appointments

Visa drop-in and appointments

We offer a drop-in service for quick questions regarding your visa or you can book an appointment to speak, in depth, with one of our Visa Advisors.

Enquiry form

Enquiry form

You can contact us through our online Enquiry Form. We strongly encourage people to contact us through the online Enquiry Form rather than to directly email us.

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