Visa and Immigration

The Immigration Support Service office provides a professional immigration advice service to international applicants and current international students of the University.

For any further information email Immigration Support Service at

Official information

  • Points Based System (PBS) Tier 4 (General) Student Visa

    The Points Based System (PBS) reflects the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) rules and includes the concept of Sponsorship, in which education providers must be licensed by the UKVI. Queen's University is a Tier 4 Sponsor and has a UKVI Sponsor Licence. Under PBS students who wish to enter the UK apply under Tier 4 (General) Student Visa.

    The leaflet - 'Studying at Queen's: Visas and the Points Based System' outlines the procedures in more detail. However, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Immigration Support Service on

    These immigration rules are subject to change and it is your responsibility to check the UK Visas and Immigration website:

    As a Tier 4 visa applicant and visa holder, it is your responsibility to be aware of, and comply with, the requirements of your visa. When you apply for a Tier 4 visa you must include a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number.  The University will assign your CAS number through the UKVI system. In advance of issuing your CAS, the Admissions and Access Service will send you a form for you to provide details of any previous study in the UK, including copies of previous visa stamps. This form must be returned before a CAS can be issued.

    The CAS number will be included in a letter called a ‘CAS statement’ which will be sent to you by the Admissions and Access Service.  This will have important information that you need for your visa application.

    Important note:  A CAS statement (including a CAS number) will only be sent to those applicants who have firmly accepted an unconditional offer of a place.  It is important therefore that you inform the Admissions and Access Service as soon as possible whether you wish to accept or decline your offer.

    How do I obtain my CAS?

    • You must have firmly accepted an unconditional offer before your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) can be issued. This means that we must be in receipt of your final transcripts and certificates confirming the award of your qualifications and, if applicable, English language results. For postgraduate applicants, these documents should be scanned and uploaded to the Direct Applications Portal.  Please make sure you include your Application number and full name in any correspondence with us. This will help us to administer your application efficiently.
    • Once you have met all the admission requirements for your chosen course of study, you will receive an unconditional offer letter. You will then be able to accept your your place through the Direct Application Portal - to confirm that you intend to take up your place.
    • You must also complete the UKVI CAS Assessment form. This form will ask you to confirm if you have previously studied in the UK. Download UKVI form, complete and email to You should include scanned copies of any previous UK Visa permission stamps.
    • All applicants who are required to obtain ATAS clearance must provide evidence to the Admissions and Access Service that they have already submitted an application for ATAS clearance.  This should be in the form of a screenshot from your application record on the ATAS online application system.
    • And finally, please scan and email a copy of the photographic page of your passport to

    Once in receipt of all the above, we will be able to proceed to issue your CAS.

    Check your CAS statement carefully when you receive it. If you notice any errors with any element of your CAS statement, please inform the Admissions and Access Service as soon as possible. This includes errors with course start and end dates, course titles and level of the course.

    Find more information on Visa and the Points Based System at the Immigration Support Service website.

    Information on the PBS is also available at UK Visas and Immigration website.

    These immigration rules are subject to change and it is your responsibility to check the UK Visas and Immigration website.

  • Extension of Leave – Students who are currently studying at Queen’s

    If you are currently studying at Queen’s and need to extend your visa you should contact the Immigration Support Service Office at who will advise on the procedures and the appropriate forms to complete.  If you have completed the course for which your visa was granted and will be moving to a new course at Queen’s, please contact Immigration Service Support before your current course ends so we can provide you with information about applying for a visa for your new course, including the amount of money you will need to show in maintenance, and the timeline for making an application.

  • Extension of Leave – Students who are currently studying elsewhere in the UK

    If you are studying at another educational institution in the UK and you want to extend your visa to study at Queen’s University, you will need a CAS.  A CAS statement will be sent to those applicants who have firmly accepted an unconditional offer of a place.

    Please note that the UKVI has very specific guidelines relating to the length of time an applicant may study in the UK, and what types of ‘academic progression’ must be demonstrated when starting a second course in the UK. Please see the most up to date Tier 4  Policy Guidance for details.

  • Extension of Leave – Migrants already in the UK who wish to study at Queen’s

    Depending on the type of visa you currently have, it might be possible for you to study without switching (changing) to a student visa.  If you are not sure about your visa and whether you can study please contact

  • Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

    The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) applies to non-EU/EEA nationals undertaking research in Science, Engineering or Technology disciplines or postgraduate taught Masters courses (but not postgraduate Diploma) in Materials Science, Materials Technology, Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or Physics. For students covered by the scheme, an ATAS clearance certificate will be required before application for a visa or entry clearance can be made i.e. it will be a mandatory part of the immigration process.  

    This is a requirement for most immigration categories, even those who do not require a Tier 4 visa, but who may have been granted another form of time-limited leave to remain eg. as a dependant, family member, or refugee.  The only exception is for applicants holding Indefinite Leave to Enter/Remain or other form of unlimited leave.

    In order to be issued with a CAS, all applicants who are required to obtain ATAS clearance must provide evidence to the Admissions and Access Service that they have already submitted an application for ATAS Clearance.  This should be in the form of a screenshot from your application record on the ATAS online application system.  

    An ATAS clearance certificate is valid for 6 months from the date of issue by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. You can apply for an ATAS certificate up to 6 months in advance of the beginning of your programme. For example, if your programme begins on 11 September 2019, you should not apply for your ATAS clearance certificate until after 11 March 2019.

    If you require ATAS clearance, you should apply in good time and provide a screenshot from the ATAS online application system to Admissions at the earliest opportunity. Please do not wait until your offer becomes unconditional, as this will delay the issue of your CAS.  A printed copy of your ATAS Certificate must be included with your visa application.  

    If you require an ATAS clearance certificate, an attachment will be provided with your offer letter. This will include confirmation of your personal and programme details, the JACS code for your area of study (used by the immigration authorities to determine if ATAS clearance is needed or not) and a brief description of your proposed research topic or in the case of taught programmes, a list of the modules you will be studying. It is important that you retain this attachment as it is required when you are completing your application for ATAS clearance and also later when applying for a visa/entry clearance. The University reference number which you will be asked for is your application number provided in the offer letter and on the attachment.

    For applicants to areas where ATAS clearance is not required but where we feel there may be some doubt on the part of entry clearance officers, a short attachment will be provided and the JACS code for your programme of study will be included on this. This should help to simplify the entry clearance process for you.

    Full details about the scheme, including the ATAS application, can be found at

Working in the UK with a Student VISA

Can I work in the UK?

If you have been granted permission on your visa immigration status and you are enrolled on a full-time course of study you are permitted to work in accordance with your visa conditions. However, the University recommends that if you are studying full time, you work no more than 15 hours per week. If you bring your passport and visa (or Biometric Residence Permit) to Immigration Support Service we can confirm whether or not you can work.

I have found a job but have been asked for a National Insurance Number – what is this?

If you are going to take paid employment in the UK, you will need a National Insurance (NI) number. Every NI number is unique and made up of letters and numbers like this example: AB 12 34 56 C (example only). You can start work while you are waiting for your National Insurance number. For further information on applying for a National Insurance Number, please see here.

Voluntary Work

Voluntary work is unpaid work which gives you the chance to meet local people of all ages and backgrounds and to learn more about Belfast and your local community. Voluntary work helps you develop employability skills such as leadership, communication and team-working while taking part in fun activities. It also enables you to provide a valuable service to the local community.

You can volunteer for just a few hours, or make a more long- term commitment. Voluntary work and your visa If you are in the UK on a student visa, voluntary work counts towards your 20 hours per week term-time working limit. If you have a student visitor visa, you cannot do voluntary work, as your visa prohibits all work, paid or unpaid. Contact Immigration Support Service for further information.