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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

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.

The process of arranging your CAS number will begin after you have accepted your offer, uploaded all required documents 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.

Please note that you may only apply for a Student Visa three months prior to your programme's start date if you are currently in the UK, or six months prior to the start date if you are applying for the visa from outside the UK. We will aim to issue your CAS in line with these dates. In order to get your CAS, you must have accepted your offer, uploaded all required documents and paid your deposit payment. If you have not received your CAS within 10 days of doing this, please let us know be emailing [email protected]

If the email address you used in your application is no longer valid, please let us know your new address by emailing [email protected]. Please include in your email your name, your applicant number, and the title of the programme you have applied to study.

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.

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.

No, you can only apply for your visa with the CAS number arranged by the College.

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.

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.

When the Home Office has assigned you a CAS number, we will email you to confirm this.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

No. Your CAS number is unique to you and cannot be used by anyone else.

No. Applicants must meet all the other requirements of the UK's immigration rules. You can find more information about this on the Home Office website: https://www.gov.uk/student-visa.

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 protected]. 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.

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

Information about other aspects of the visa application process can be found on the Home Office website. Advice is available from the UKCISA website: https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/

Contact us

If you have any outstanding questions around your CAS number, contact the Admissions team

Email us at
[email protected]
RCA Kensington cafe