If you are required to complete a CAS & Visa application process with International Student Support, please carefully read this information. This CAS Policy has been created and is regularly updated in accordance with the UKVI’s Student Route guidance and Appendix ST.
The Service Agreement explains the duties and responsibilities of International Student Support.
1. As a UK institution listed on the Student Route Visa Register of Student Sponsors, the University of Sunderland is licensed to assign Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to migrant students who wish to study in the UK under the Student Route of the Points Based Immigration System. A CAS is a unique reference number which connects a student to the University of Sunderland for a specific course and their duration of study in the UK.
2. New international applicants will require a CAS from the University of Sunderland if they intend to apply for the Student Route Visa so they can travel to the UK for study. This process will be administered by the Student Administration International Admissions team. This process will include the assigning of CAS to students currently in the UK who can progress from previous studies in the UK to a new course at the same or higher level of the Regulated Qualification Framework (RQF) in the UK. Included in this category of international students will be University of Sunderland graduates who wish to continue their studies here with the University of Sunderland in the UK.
3. Continuing students may request additional time to complete their current programme of study which results in extended Student Route leave. Examples of this include a student:
4. ISS must comply with the UK Visa and Immigration’s (UKVI) Student and Child Student Route Visa Casework Policy Guidance, the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner’s (OISC) Code of Standards and the UK Council for International Student Affair’s (UKCISA) Code of Ethics when supporting a student with a CAS and visa application.
5. Before the CAS process can begin, a Student Care Letter (SCL) must be completed and emailed to the student. This letter confirms the requirements the student must successfully complete in order to be assigned a CAS. The student must agree to the terms and conditions of this letter before an ISS Adviser can proceed with the CAS process. The SCL complies with OISC Code of Standards’ requirements for a client care letter. Agreeing to the SCL’s terms and conditions includes granting ISS consent to contact the UKVI and act on behalf of the student.
6. All communication regarding the CAS process will be administered via Compass, the University of Sunderland Enquiry Management System. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they check their emails and Compass portal for updated communications on a regular basis when working through the CAS process.
7. The student will be required to provide documents from the following list in order to be assigned a CAS:
8. An affidavit will not be accepted in place of a birth certificate or court document. This is because an affidavit, even one sworn before a court, is simply a claim to a relationship, but not evidence of that relationship.
9. 30 days is the minimum period of leave that a CAS will be assigned for.
10. A CAS will only be assigned up to the approved expected course end date that is provided by your faculty.
11. If a student’s CAS process factors the requirement of approved ATAS clearance, this CAS check will only be completed upon ISS seeing evidence of either the ATAS clearance certificate or the electronic approval notice.
12. If a student is required to include financial evidence in their visa application, they need £1,023 for each month of their course, up to £9,207 for a course lasting nine months or more. The visa application must be completed and submitted to the UKVI within 31 days of the bank evidence’s date of print or within 6 months of the financial sponsorship letter’s date of print. The financial documents must show that the full amount of money that a student needs has been in the account for 28 consecutive days up to the date of the closing balance. This means that the account must not have dropped below the amount that the student must show at any time during the 28 day period. If it does, the immigration application is likely to be refused. In addition, the final date of this 28 day period must not be more than 31 days old on the date that the application is submitted.
13. If the currency of the bank evidence used is not British Pound Sterling, a currency conversion assessment can only be made via the online currency converter on the OANDA website. To calculate the validity periods of Student Route Visa financial evidence, the date to date duration calculator on the timeanddate.com website must be used. These are online tools approved by the UKVI and used by the Student Route caseworkers.
14. As per pages 39-40 of the Student and Child Student Route Visa Casework Policy Guidance, students will automatically meet the financial maintenance requirement if (i) they are applying for permission to stay in the UK having been in the UK for at least 12 months with valid permission on the date of application, and (ii) where they are applying for permission as a Student Union Sabbatical Officer
15. Students from countries listed on Appendix ST paragraph 22.1 can apply for a Student Route Visa via the differential evidence requirement. This means they are not required to supply ISS with bank evidence or financial sponsorship evidence for maintenance and tuition costs for their CAS application, however they must agree (i) they understand the Student Route Visa maintenance requirements and the risk of not supplying Student Route Visa maintenance evidence for ISS to assess, (ii) they are aware the Student Route caseworker can request financial evidence at their own discretion, (iii) they have maintained the required funds in their account and can supply the required financial evidence upon the Student Route caseworker’s request, and (iv) they are liable for a visa refusal decision based on failure to provide the correct maintenance evidence. Students wishing to apply via the differential evidence requirement must confirm this preference and their awareness of the associated risk on their Compass ticket. Students must pay their full tuition fee before CAS assignment if they decide to apply for their Student Route Visa via the differential evidence requirement
16. Any documents not printed in English Language must be accompanied by an official translated version from a qualified professional translator.
17. Students who have previously completed an academic qualification equivalent to a UK degree that was taught in a ‘majority English-speaking’ country listed in Appendix B: English Language - Table 2 paragraph 7 of the UKVI Immigration Rules can provide a copy of their qualification and/or transcript and a supporting letter confirming the qualification was taught in the medium of English in place of a SELT.
18. Students who are nationals from ‘majority English-speaking’ countries listed in Appendix B: English Language – Table 2 paragraph 6 of the UKVI Immigration Rules are not required to provide evidence of English Language proficiency.
19. ISS will only issue the CAS once all the requirements described above have been satisfied. In addition to this, where applicable, the student must:
Failing to complete any of these additional checks will result in a CAS not being assigned.
20. In addition to the above, the University will carefully consider a CAS request from a student who has previously had their sponsorship withdrawn by the University, and the reasons why the sponsorship was withdrawn.
21. As per page 72 of the Student and Child Student Route Visa Casework Policy Guidance there is no maximum study requirement for applicants who are studying a course above degree level. The five-year cap does not apply to students studying at RQF 7 or above.
22. The University will assign a CAS within five working days from the date of receipt of all required documentary evidence which has satisfied the necessary checks.
23. It is the responsibility of the student to fulfil the conditions identified and set out by ISS staff and the SCL before the CAS deadline. Failure to meet these requirements will result in ISS refusing to assign a CAS.
24. Issuing a CAS does not guarantee that an applicant will be successful in securing a visa. The University is not responsible for any decisions made by the UKVI and cannot accept any liability in a student failing to obtain a valid visa, or the associated costs or consequences of any failure to secure leave to enter/remain in the UK.
25. All UK based visa applications for current students must be supported by ISS. In addition, ISS encourage the student to use the University’s address as their correspondence address so all documentation and literature from the UKVI is sent to the university. Copies of the Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) will be taken and provided to the Student Administration team and the original documents will be given to the student.
26. Once a CAS has been assigned it will be valid for a period of six months. After this date the CAS will be marked as expired and the UKVI will not accept the CAS as part of a Student Route Visa application. Furthermore, a CAS can only be used once.
27. You cannot make your Student Route Visa application more than three months before the start of your course. Therefore, your CAS will only be assigned within three months of your new course start date.
28. Any students who are assigned a CAS must make every effort to apply for their visa and arrive in the UK by their course start date. Arriving after this date may result in the UKVI refusing entry to the UK. Any student who is going to arrive late should contact the University at the earliest opportunity and confirm their likely date of arrival. University staff will then confirm if this late arrival is approved.
29. A current student can request to complete their studies from overseas however this can only be approved by the faculty. If the student cannot complete their repeat studies from overseas, their student record will be processed for closure and they will be awarded the total credits accumulated.
30. ISS must act in the best interests of the University of Sunderland and the student balancing both the legal and ethical framework. Any conflict of interest must result in ISS signposting the student to an immigration solicitor, OISC or UKCISA.
International Student Support (ISS) is a team that helps international students with immigration queries and with providing guidance and expert information. We offer advice on Student Route and Start-up visa applications. We check supporting documents to ensure that your visa application fulfils the necessary criteria to be granted a visa within the rules of the UKVI. We are trained by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) and are regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).
Services provided by the International Student Support team include:
The service that ISS provide is free of charge. Any additional costs will be paid by the student. Examples of these costs are:
These costs will be confirmed on your Student Care Letter.
Complaints Procedure If at any stage you have any concerns regarding the conduct of your case please raise them International Student Support in writing. If you are still not happy with the response and any proposed solution you can take your complaint further through the formal Student Complaints Procedure.
Please contact our University Academic Services or the Students’ Union for advice on the process and advocacy and support. You can find the formal Complaints Procedure here. If you wish you can complain directly to OISC you can find full details of their complaints procedure at www.oisc.gov.uk.
You are welcome to contact the International Student Support team via the University’s student enquiry management system Compass.
Bethany Campbell & Ross Downs
University of Sunderland
International Student Support
Prospect Building Gateway
Sir Tom Cowie Campus at St Peter’s Sunderland
Tyne & Wear
Office Opening Times
Please note that our office is open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays. This excludes public and bank holidays.
The OISC require ISS to keep a copy of your student file for up to 6 years. After these 6 years your file will be destroyed.
Mark Colman, Deputy Manager, The Gateway
Bethany Campbell, International Student Support Adviser, The Gateway
Ross Downs, International Student Support Adviser, The Gateway