Visas and immigration

Obtaining the correct immigration permission is essential before you start your studies in Manchester.

You can apply for your Student Route visa up to six months before your course start date. It’s expected that you’ll receive a 90-day entry clearance vignette to provide you with flexibility in arranging your travel.  

Please check your CAS for your latest arrival date. If you are experiencing travel difficulties, contact your Admissions Team to discuss your situation. 

In some countries, visa application processing times can take longer. You must wait for your Student Route visa application to be processed. You can't arrive as a visitor and switch status once you get to the UK. If your visa application is extremely delayed, please contact the Student Immigration Team for advice. 

If you currently have a Student Route visa that hasn't yet expired from a previous course of study, you must check whether you're eligible to make your new visa application in the UK, or submit your visa application overseas. If you're eligible to apply for your visa in the UK, you must submit your visa application before the official start date of your course, as your previous visa is not transferrable. 

If your Visa Application Centre (VAC) is closed, you should check the UKVI guidance on whether you can submit your biometrics in another country to allow you to continue with the visa process.

Bringing your family

Some undergraduates and many postgraduates bring their families with them to Manchester for the duration of their study.

If you’re thinking of bringing your family, make sure you understand all of the immigration rules and find out exactly what is required before you and your family travel to the UK. You may find it helpful to consult the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website for further information, depending on when you plan to arrive in the UK. If you have any questions about bringing your family to the UK, please contact

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is designed to provide additional security checks on students who study certain science and engineering courses. The scheme is managed by the ATAS Team based at the Foreign and Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). 

Your offer letter will tell you if your programme requires an ATAS certificate. You’ll need to apply if you: 

  • aren't an EU/EEA national or other exempt nationality, and;
  • you have limited leave to remain in the UK as a dependant, as a student or work visa holder, or you are an asylum seeker or refugee, and;
  • you're studying certain science and technology subjects at a postgraduate level (including most integrated master's courses such as MEng, MPhys and MSci).  

 If you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK or you're the family member of an EEA national, you don't require ATAS clearance. 

The average time for the FCDO to process ATAS clearance applications is currently six weeks. It is not possible to expedite applications for ATAS clearance.

The ATAS team will sometimes email applicants for additional information. Remember to check your email account regularly and respond promptly with the requested details.  

Further information regarding ATAS certificates can be found on our Student Support pages.

Certificate of good conduct

Volunteering or getting a part-time job is one of the best ways of making a successful transition to a new country and community. You can make money, achieve something and expand your circle of friends.

In the UK, certain roles that include working regularly with children or vulnerable adults require you to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. This allows organisations to check the criminal records of employees and volunteers, in order to ascertain whether or not they are suitable to work with children or adults at risk. If you're coming to the UK from another country, it won't be possible to complete a DBS check because the UK police forces won't be able to access your records.

Instead, you can prove your suitability for these kind of roles by obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct. Each country gives a different name to this process, with common names including ‘Certificate of Good Conduct’, ‘Certificate of No Criminal Conviction’ and ‘National Police Check’. The process for applying for one of these checks is different in every country. For some countries you can obtain the certificate from abroad or through your Embassy but there are many places where the application needs to be made in person. This means if you're interested in volunteering or working part-time in these kinds of settings – schools, youth groups, hospitals, care homes – you should check whether you need to get the document before you leave.