Visas and immigration

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

You can apply for your Student Visa up to six months before the course start date. It is expected that you will receive a 90-day entry clearance vignette to provide you with flexibility in arranging your travel. 

We're currently planning for all students studying on-campus programmes to return to campus from September 2021. 

Some students may find it difficult to return in September, due to ongoing travel restrictions or other safety measures. Please check your CAS for your latest arrival date or contact your Admissions Team to discuss your situation. If you decide (and your course permits it) to study Semester One remotely, your CAS will be issued to you by your Admissions Team in October 2021. 

All students planning to travel to the UK should be aware of the current rules and requirements relevant to your circumstances before travelling. The situation is changing on a regular basis  for the latest information check our FAQ for EU/international applicants and offer-holders

In some countries, visa application processing times are slower than usual. You must wait for your Student Visa application to be processed. You can't arrive as a visitor and switch status once you arrive here. If your visa application is very delayed, please contact the Student Immigration Team for advice. 

If you currently have a Student 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 course start date of your course as your previous visa is not transferrable. 

If your Visa Application Centre (VAC) is closed due to coronavirus restrictions, you have the option of submitting your biometrics in another country to allow you to continue with the visa process. We cover how this could work for you in our FAQ for EU/international applicants and offer-holders

Bringing your family

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

If you are 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 on 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 Office (FCO). 

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

  • aren't an EU/EEA national or other exempt nationality, and;
  • you've 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, 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 FCO to process ATAS clearance applications is currently six weeks. If it has been more than six weeks since you applied for clearance, please email and include your student ID number, ATAS application date, and ATAS application reference number in your email.

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 feel good because you’re giving back, or getting paid, you’re achieving something and you’re expanding your circle of friends.

In the UK, for certain roles where you're working regularly with children or vulnerable adults you'd need to complete a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. This enables organisations to check the criminal records of employees and volunteers, in order to ascertain whether or not they are suitable to work with adults at risk and children. If you're coming to the UK from another country, you'll not be able to be DBS checked because the UK police forces wouldn't be able to access your records.

There is a way though of proving that you are suitable for these kind of roles, by obtaining a Certificate of Good Conduct. Each country actually 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.