The Home Office has recently published a newsletter with updated information on Tier 4 and visa application process.      We have summarised the information and we hope that this will help you understand the new visa system.

On Monday 22 February 2010 the final phase of Tier 4 of the Points Based System (PBS) will be implemented.

This means that:
Visa Letters will no longer be accepted by UKBA - From 22 February 2010 it will be mandatory for all Tier 4 Sponsors to use the Sponsorship Management System (SMS) to issue Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) to potential students applying from inside or outside the United Kingdom for General Student Visa (GSV—more than six months).

Applications from potential students for leave that do not contain a CAS number after the 22 February will be refused.

Schools  will need to provide potential students with a CAS number and the sponsor licence number. Schools should also provide the potential student with the following information:

  • Course title
  • Course start and end date
  • Details of any financial sponsorship/deposits taken
  • Documents that should be included as part of an application to prove qualifications

The Home Office and, as a result, the school will charge £15 for each CAS number issued. CAS will be issued based on the start and end date of the course.

As a result, if a student decides to change the dates of the course or the type of course after the CAS was issued, he or she will have to apply for a new CAS and another pay £15.

If the student decides to attend a course at a different school, he or she will have to apply for a new CAS, which would have to be issued by the new school.

The CAS will be issued by the school after the payment is received. This payment will not be a part of the deposit and will not be refundable. You can pay for your CAS number by clicking on the Buy Now button below. Alternatively,  make a payment at the educational agent's office, in which case the agent should get in touch with the school to arrange the payment


In order to obtain the a CAS number from the Home Office, the school must supply essential information about the student and details of the course. We have attached a form which you should fill in and send back to the school, before you can obtain a CAS number.

What this means for Tier 4 potential students?

  • From 22 February 2010 potential students must be in possession of a CAS number from their prospective Tier 4 sponsor in support of their application for leave

  • Potential students in possession of a Visa Letter from their sponsor can only use it if they apply for leave before 22 February 2010, irrespective of whether the decision on that application is made after 22 February 2010.

  • Any application submitted on or after 22 February 2010 that does not contain a supporting CAS number will be refused.

The link below will give you more information about the specific duties of a school as a sponsor of students:

Other Key changes

  • If you are applying for a UK ‘General Student’ Visa we will issue you with a CAS number rather than a confirmation letter. You will then present this number when applying for their visa.
  • Information will be entered on the new UKBA Sponsorship Management System (SMS) plus on our regular database

Beginner students

If you are a Beginner, you will not be allowed to enter on a ‘General Student’ Visa.  You must be at LEVEL A2 of the European Common Framework of Reference for Language :

  • UKBA believe that students should start learning English before leaving their own country to prove their choice of course
  • AES suggest that if you are unsure of your  level you must enter the UK on a ‘Student Visitor’ Visa which beginners are allowed to enter on
  • Remember that if you test as a beginner on arrival and are on a ‘General Student’ Visa we will not be able to teach you and will report you to the UKBA who may ask you to leave the UK

What is the new Points Based System?

  • From March 2009 all UK language schools and universities will need a UKBA licence to enrol non EU/EEA students
  • Students who want to come to the UK on a ‘General Student Visa’ will need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number before they can apply for their visa (this will not apply until 22 February 2010)
  • The CAS number will replace AES’s Student Acceptance Letter.  Students coming to the UK for 6 months or less will not need a CAS if they enter on a Student Visitor Visa (these students will still be issued with AES’s Acceptance Letter)

Why introduce a new system?

The PBS has been introduced:

  • To streamline UK immigration procedures
  • To ensure that only accredited and regulated institutions are able to bring students into the UK
  • To ensure that all Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs) at UK embassies know which schools and universities have met the required standards
  • To inform agents and students which educational institutions have reached the standards that the UKBA require

What action has AES taken?

  • AES has applied for a UKBA licence that will allow our school to continue recruiting international students from March 2009
  • AES have reviewed all enrolments and school procedures so that we are sure we comply with the new regulations

How the system will help you?

  • The CAS number will be unique to you and once generated by AES it will be sent to you
  • You will be able to complete an online self-assessment to determine if your visa application is likely to be successful (note – this will include questions to determine if you can financially support themselves in the UK)
  • AES will be on the Register of Sponsors and so the school and course your student enrols on will be recognized and accepted by Entry Clearance Officers (ECOs)

We will keep you informed of any further changes

However if you have any questions please contact:

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