When to apply for a visa

Simon Channing leading a session with RCM musicians
In order to apply for a Student Visa you will require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number. You must have met all your conditions of entry and have an unconditional offer before you can request a CAS number and begin the visa application process. 

If you are applying for your visa outside the UK, you can apply for your Student visa up to six months before the start of your course. If you are applying in the UK, you can apply up to three months before your course starts.

Obtaining a visa can take some time. Wherever possible you should allow enough time to apply for your visa so you can start your course on time. Leaving it until the last minute may delay or even prevent you taking up your place at the RCM. The RCM’s International Team will do everything we can to support students to begin their courses on time.


Please note you should not plan to travel overseas while your visa application is being processed.

We normally write in June to all students starting new courses inviting them to apply for a CAS once they have an unconditional offer. Unconditional offers are only made when applicants have submitted to the RCM all the required academic and English language qualifications and their offer status has been changed to GU (guaranteed unconditional).

Many students will have unconditional offers by June and should request a CAS straight away. Others will be awaiting school or degree qualifications in July or August, and should apply as soon as they receive these. We will not normally issue a CAS to new students after 31 August unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Find out about requesting a CAS

If you are not sure whether your offer is unconditional yet, or you need to send in proof of your qualifications, please contact our Admissions team.


Admissions and general audition enquiries

+44 (0)20 7591 4362


Students already studying at a university who receive their results in early July

Students already studying at a UK university, and universities in a few other countries, will normally expect to receive their degree results and transcripts in early July. Students in this position should send their qualifications and submit their CAS request form as soon as possible after receiving their results.

Students awaiting A Level results

A Level results day in 2024 is currently expected to be Thursday 15 August, which is relatively late to apply for a visa. However, the RCM is used to supporting students in this situation. We recommend preparing all your supporting documents and financial evidence in advance so you are ready to apply for your CAS and visa as soon as possible after you receive your results.

Visa processing times

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) aims to process applications to the following service standards:

Applications made outside the UK

Within 15 working days. In some locations a five working day priority service may be available (check details for your local UK Visa Application Centre before applying).

Applications made inside the UK

Within eight weeks (standard service). Faster priority services (typically 5 working days) are normally available. Please also allow 10 days for BRP delivery. 

More detailed information about visa processing times and the various services available is available on our How to apply for a Student visa page.

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