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A-Z Glossary of information



ATAS stands for 'Academic Technology Approval Scheme'. It is a clearance certificate issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and is only required for certain courses.

See our page on ATAS for further details.



A BRP stands for a 'Biometric Residence Permit'. This is a small credit card sized card which is the visa of the holder. All Tier 4 visas are issued in the form of a BRP.

More information on BRP cards can be found here.



A CAS stands for 'Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies'. It is a virtual document required for Tier 4 visa applications which confirms the details of the course the student will be studying, the level of the course and the dates of Tier 4 sponsorship.

See our CAS FAQs for further information.



DES stands for the 'Doctorate Extension Scheme'. This is a scheme that allows PhD students who have completed their PhD studies to apply for additional 12 months in the UK for the purpose of work.

See our webpage for more details on DES.



FCO stands for the 'Foreign and Commonwealth Office'.



IELTS stands for 'International English Language Testing System'. The IELTS UKVI is the only acceptable English language qualification accepted for Tier 4 visa applications.

IELTS homepage can be found here.

British Council information on IELTS can be found here.

Information on IELTS UKVI can be found here.


Leave to Remain

A 'Leave to Remain' application is an application made from within the UK. It is only possible to make this type of application if you already have valid leave i.e. a current Tier 4 visa.

See our page for further information on Leave to Remain.


Schengen visa

A Schengen visa is the visa required for travel throughout Europe. More information can be found here.


A SELT stands for 'Secure English Language Test'.

Information on the IELTS UKVI SELT can be found here.

Home Office approved english language test centre can be found here.


SMS stands for 'Sponsor Management System'. This is the Home Office computer system used for creating CAS and notifying them of any changes to a student's circumstance, including reports of the ceasing of sponsorship or the change of a student's study location or change of course details.

See here for more information on SMS.



UKCISA stands for 'UK Council for International Student Affairs'. This is an advisory body based in the UK that serves the interests of international students and universities.

More information on UKCISA can be found here.


UKVI stands for UK Visas and Immigration. This is section of the Home Office responsible for visas and immigration related matters in the UK.

A link to the UKVI pages can be found here.