University Admissions Centre

International applicants and visas

Student Immigration Compliance FAQs

The Immigration Compliance team will issue your CAS for study at the University of Portsmouth.  We are also here to provide support and advice on the visa application process, and to assist all University of Portsmouth students in matters relating to student immigration.

Below are some of the questions most frequently asked by international applicants.

Do I need a Tier 4 (General) Student visa?

All international students studying a full-time, on-campus course require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK unless they have an EEA passport or an alternate visa which allows them to study in the UK.  If you are a part-time or Distance Learning student you do not require a Tier 4 visa.

How do I get a Tier 4 visa?

In order to submit a Tier 4 visa application you will need a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies), which contains a unique number.  Your CAS will be issued by the Immigration Compliance team once you have met all the academic and non-academic conditions of your offer.  You should use your CAS to submit your Tier 4 visa application. Tier 4 visa applications are submitted online.

In order to submit your Tier 4 visa application you will need:

  • Valid passport
  • CAS
  • Original qualification certificates and transcripts
  • Documents to prove you have the correct funds available in your, or your sponsor’s, bank account
  • 2 passport-sized photographs with your name written on the back
  • Parental/guardian consent if you are under 18
  • ATAS clearance certificate if your course requires this
  • Tuberculosis test results, if you are from a country that requires this

Once you have submitted your visa application online you will receive email confirmation from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). 

After a short period of time you will be asked give your biometric information (fingerprints and photographs) at a visa application centre.  The UKVI will contact you to tell you which visa application centre you should go to.

You may be asked to attend a short ‘credibility interview’.  Credibility interviews are conducted by an Entry Clearance Officer at the time you give your biometric information, and will take place face-to-face or on the phone.  The interview will focus on your course details and your reasons for wishing to study with us, and is an important part of the visa application process. 

Your visa application will then be considered by an Entry Clearance Officer.  If you are successful, you will then receive your Tier 4 visa.

If you are already in Portsmouth you may wish to ask one of our International Student Advisers to help you submit your Tier 4 visa application.  The ISAs can be contacted by emailing

Please click here for further information about the visa application process.

When will I receive my CAS?

Your CAS will be sent to you automatically by email once you have met all of the following criteria:

  • Hold an unconditional firm offer with the University of Portsmouth
  • Paid your tuition fee deposit of £2000 or provided evidence of financial sponsorship
  • Completed your PBI questionnaire

Details of fees and funding can be found on the International Office website

If your course requires ATAS clearance this must also be emailed to before your CAS can be issued. 

What is ATAS clearance?

ATAS clearance is an extra check made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on students studying courses in certain Science and Technology subject areas.  If your course requires ATAS clearance you will be sent information on how to apply with your offer.  ATAS applications are submitted online and take approximately 20 working days to be completed.

For further information on ATAS clearance please click here.

What is the PBI questionnaire?

The PBI questionnaire is an online questionnaire that assesses an applicant’s immigration history. This information is not collected on your application form, but it is extremely important that we collect details of your immigration history.  Without a completed PBI questionnaire we are unable to issue you with a CAS as we will not be able to make the necessary checks on your immigration status.

The PBI questionnaire is found as a link in your offer email, or can be accessed here.

I already have a Tier 4 visa from another institution in the UK. Do I have to apply for a new visa with the University of Portsmouth?

Yes. A Tier 4 visa is only valid for study at the institution named on the visa. If you meet all your offer conditions, and all other criteria, you will be issued with a CAS to apply for a University of Portsmouth visa. When you arrive for Registration you will be asked to provide ID, and at this point you must show your University of Portsmouth visa, or proof that you have submitted an application for a University of Portsmouth visa.

I have another type of visa. Can I study with this?

You may be allowed to study with another type of visa.  If you would like us to check whether your current visa is eligible for study at the University of Portsmouth please send a scanned copy to

I am a part-time student but I need to enter the UK occasionally for study. Which visa do I need?

You may be able to enter the UK on a Student Visitor visa. This does not require a CAS, but a letter of support can be issued by your academic department to support your visa application.

If you cannot find the answer to your question here, or would like some further information, please contact the Student Immigration Compliance team and we will be happy to help you.

Phone: (+44) 023 9284 3414
Twitter: @UoP_PBITeam