How to get a CAS number 

what is a cas number

This article was written by the Great British Mag content team on 26 January 2021.

There’s lots to organise when you’re moving to the UK to study and one of the most important is your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies number, CAS for short. Here we explain what a CAS number is and how to get one.

What is a CAS number? 

A confirmation of acceptance for studies number, or CAS for short, is a 14-digit reference number that’s unique to you and is proof that you have accepted an offer on a course at a UK university. It’s crucial for obtaining your student visa and is required by UK immigration in order for them to process your application.

Who has to get a CAS number?

If you have accepted a place on a full-time course and will be entering the UK on a student visa you will need to have a CAS number. Your CAS number will be exclusive to the student visa you have applied for. For example, if you are entering the UK to complete a pre-sessional course but then want to stay for an undergraduate course, you will need to apply for a new student visa and CAS number.

How do I get a CAS number? 

To get a CAS number, you’ll need to have secured an offer from a UK university and officially accepted it. In some cases, you’ll also need to pay your deposit for the tuition fees and/or provide proof of previous qualifications and a copy of your passport. The university will let you know what it needs from you.  

Once you have followed the instructions given to you by your agent or the university admissions team (if you are applying directly to the uni) they will take things from there, contacting the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) department at the Home Office. Then, the UKVI will issue your CAS number directly to the university, who will pass it on to you.

How long does it take to get a CAS number

You can expect to get your CAS number three to six months before your course start date, giving you plenty of time to organise your visa, accommodation, UK bank account and other things for your move.

It’s worth noting that the CAS number you’re issued is only valid for the university who requested it, and for the  course that you have accepted a place on. If you change your mind about the university or course, you’ll need a new number. 

It is also worth noting that if you need to extend your studies past the date on your current student visa, you will need to get a new CAS number. 

What do I do with my CAS number? 

You’ll need your CAS number to apply for your student visa, so don’t book your visa appointment before you’ve received it.

How long is the CAS number valid for?

Your CAS number is valid for six months, from the date it was issued, so you have plenty of time to organise your student visa. However, it is recommended that you arrange your student visa at least three months before the start of your course. 

Your CAS number will be valid for the curation of your course, However, there is a time limit for international students studying undergraduate courses though, which is five years. You won’t be able to get a CAS number if your new course will take you past this five-year limit. There is no time limit for postgraduate masters courses, though. 

Who cannot get as CAS number

You also may not be able to obtain a CAS number if you plan to return to study at the same level as you have studied in the UK before – to come and do a second bachelors course, for instance. 

You may also want to read: 

UK student visa for international students explained 

Pros and cons of applying to a UK university through UCAS?

Pros and cons of applying to a UK university through an agent