CAS stands for Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies. UK immigration rules require the Royal College of Art (RCA) to sponsor your application for a student visa (this is not the same as financial sponsorship). A CAS number confirms that we have made you an offer of a place to study with us, and that you have accepted this.
You will need a CAS number to apply for a visa to allow you to study in the UK.
The College will apply to the UK Government's Home Office for your CAS number, confirming that we have made you an offer of a study place, and that you have accepted this. The Home Office will then issue a CAS number for you, which we will send to you.
Once you receive an offer to study, you should complete the CAS checklist available in the Offer Holder page and upload to the Admissions Portal to request your CAS.
In order to apply for a CAS number, we will need a copy of your passport, degree certificate and, in most cases, confirmation of your English Language capability (normally your IELTS certificate). 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.
Frequently asked questions about CAS numbers
I have previously studied in the UK on a student visa. Will I be eligible for a CAS number for a second student visa?
Yes, providing you meet the UK Government's requirements relating to 'academic progression'.
The qualification you have applied to study should normally be at a higher level than any qualification you have previously studied on a UK student visa. For example, if you have previously studied a Bachelor's degree in the UK, the next qualification of study here should be at Master's level or higher. In some circumstances, it is possible to study at the same academic level as a previous course. We will let you know whether this is possible after you submit your degree course application.
When will the RCA arrange my CAS number?
The process of arranging your CAS number will begin after you have accepted your offer and paid your deposit, but also depends on whether you are inside or outside the UK.
We strongly advise that you do not book flights or accommodation in the UK until you have received your visa.
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If the email address you used in your application is no longer valid, please let us know your new address by emailing email@example.com. Please include in your email your name, your applicant number, and the title of the programme you have applied to study.
Do I have to pay a fee deposit before the University applies for my CAS number?
If we have asked you to pay a fee deposit, we will only apply for your CAS number when you have paid your fee deposit.
I have already accepted an offer for a programme starting in September, but you have not yet emailed me about applying for my CAS number. Why?
You can only apply for your visa a maximum of six months (if you are outside the UK) or three months (if you are currently in the UK) before your programme starts.
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 College.
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 with them. The RCA is an approved education provider.
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 visa application very carefully.
How will you tell me my CAS number?
When the Home Office has assigned you a CAS number, we will email you to confirm this.
How long will applying for a CAS number take?
We aim to provide you with your CAS as early as possible, but the CAS number cannot be provided more than 3 months before the start of your course if you are in the UK (up to 6 months if you are outside the UK). We aim to provide it to you within 20 days of this three-month deadline, or within 10 working days of receipt of the necessary documentation (whichever is the later). If you have not received your CAS within these time frames, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
I won't meet the conditions of my offer until shortly before my programme 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 programme in September. If you receive an offer only a few weeks before your programme is due to start, we should be able to arrange your CAS number within approximately a week. Visa offices are aware of the deadlines applicants are working to and try to accommodate this where possible.
I have been awarded an RCA scholarship, can this be included on my CAS?
The Registry office will be able to include this information on your CAS. If you receive your CAS and it is not noted please reply to the CAS email and ask for it to be added.
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: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa/apply.
When can I apply for my visa?
This depends on whether you are able to apply within the UK, or are applying from outside the UK. If you are able to apply in the UK you can submit your application the earliest three months before the start date of your programme. You must also meet the 28 day gap rule.
If you are applying from outside the UK you can submit your application the earliest six months before the start date of your programme.
What is the 28 day gap rule?
It is important to check that the start date of your new programme of studies (as stated on your CAS) is no more than 28 days after the end of your current visa. If the start date is later, you must leave the UK and apply from your home country.
Do I need a paper copy of my CAS Statement?
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?
Your 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.
Can I use my CAS number to apply for a visa to study on another programme or at another institution?
No. CAS numbers are linked to the specific programme you have applied for. This is why we only apply for a CAS number when you have accepted an offer.
Can my friend use my CAS number?
No. Your CAS number is unique to you and cannot be used by anyone else.
Does receiving my CAS number mean that I will definitely get a visa?
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 notify the College’s Admissions team by emailing email@example.com. An adviser will then let you know whether a new CAS number can be assigned. If a new CAS number 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 College 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 Royal College of Art. 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 College so that we know where you are.
- Keep good attendance at all teaching sessions. If you are in the UK on a full-time 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 College 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