The Student Route

From 1 January 2021 if you intend to study a full-time course that is longer than six months in duration and you are not a UK/Irish national you will need to gain permission to enter to study in the UK.  You must obtain a visa under the Student route before you travel to the UK.

If you are already studying in the UK you may be able to apply to extend your current visa in the UK:

For information on the Student route read the RCS’s guide to Studying in the UK – 2023.2024

Further information about the Student route is also available on the Home Office website:  UK Government – Student Route

Student Route Visa Requirements

When you apply for a Student route visa, you’ll require several documents, including your passport and evidence of qualifications and finances.

Items required by all applicants:

  • A valid passport
  • one passport-sized photograph which meets the UKVI requirements
  • A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS – 14 digit alpha-numeric code unique to you) – RCS will send this to you by email once you have accepted an unconditional offer, emailed RCS a copy of your passport, paid your deposit and submitted a Student Route Evidence Request Form
  • Evidence of English language level
  • Financial requirements
  • Evidence of qualifications
  • Translations

Applicants from certain countries are required to submit:

Differential evidence requirement:

  • If you are a national of one of the exempt countries listed here, UKVI states that you can be considered under the differential evidence requirement (previously referred to as low-risk nationals).  This means that you do not need to submit points-scoring evidence (financial and educational qualification documents) with your visa application.  You will need to sign a declaration in the Student route visa application form to confirm that you have the required evidence available to you, should UKVI staff request to see it.  You will still have to send your original passport and all other relevant supporting documents.

Applying for a Student Route Visa

Please refer to the UK Home Office website for further details.  You cannot start an application without having been issued with your CAS.  The earliest point at which you can be issued a CAS is 6 months prior to the start of your course, provide you have met the requirements listed in the section Student Route Visa Requirements above:

However, RCS chooses to issue CASs at the end of April at the earliest.

Immigration Health Surcharge

Student route visa applicants are required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge as part of their visa application.  It gives applicants access to the National Health Service in the UK and costs £470 per year for students.  For more information go to:

Further queries can be directed to the International and Student Experience team via