Birmingham International Academy Presessional courses: Frequently Asked Questions

You might have lots of questions about our presessional courses. Here are some of the most common questions and some helpful answers.

The application process

How do I apply for a Presessional English course?

To apply, please follow the links provided:


 For more information on How to Apply, please visit:

When should I apply for a Presessional English course?

The deadline for receipt of applications is five to six weeks before the start date of the Presessional English course you wish to attend.

The following deadlines for applications apply in 2019-20:

  • 20-week course - 19th March 2020
  • 15-week course - 12th April 2020
  • 10-week course - 4th June 2020
  • 6-week Course - 2nd July 2020

Please note that the University reserves the right to close applications earlier in the event that the course is full.

Due to high demand for Presessional English courses you are advised to apply as early as possible.



I am an EU student - can I apply for the Presessional English course?

We welcome applications from EU students. You can demonstrate your level of English with IELTS. Please contact for further information about alternative qualifications.

How do I pay my tuition fees?

You can find information on the payment information for all presessional courses here.

I will have Official Financial Sponsorship - what do I need to do?

If an organisation is paying some or all of your tuition fees, you are required to provide a copy of your course specific sponsorship letter. You are not required to provide these details where:

  • Your course is being paid for by a family member or friend
  • You are paying for your course with a bank loan

Once the details of your sponsor have been received an invoice will be issued for payment. Please note that if we fail to receive payment from your financial sponsor you will be liable for payment of the tuition fees.

Do EU students pay the same tuition fees?

The tuition fees for Presessional English courses are the same for international students and EU students.

How do I get my CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies)?

Your CAS statement will be sent directly to the email address you supply on application, and your agent’s email if applicable, by our admissions department. This will usually be sent at least 5 weeks before the start of the Presessional course. Any further enquiries regarding your CAS should be directed to

Can I request an integrated CAS for both my Presessional English course and my main programme of study?

10-week and 6-week Presessional English courses

If you are applying for the 10-week or 6-week course, in certain circumstances the UKVI regulations allow for an integrated CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) to be assigned to cover both the presessional course and your main programme of study.

4-week intensive Presessional English course

If you are an unconditional student applying for the 4 week course, you will receive an integrated CAS statement for the presessional course and your main programme of study. 

I am under 18 years of age - can I still apply for a Presessional English course?

Provided you are 16 years or older and meet our entry requirements, you can apply for the presessional course. If your application is successful, we will ask you to complete a parental consent form. If you are under the age of 18, the University needs your parents or your guardian to fill in this form.

Entry requirements

I do not have a UKVI IELTS - what should I do?

As part of your UK Tier 4 (General) student visa application you must prove your knowledge of the English language when you apply.

If you are studying a pre-sessional course then you must hold a Secure English language test (SELT) in reading, writing, listening and speaking at CEFR level B1 or above.

In April 2015 legislation changed, and presessional applicants now need to evidence a Secure English Language Test or SELT by having an IELTS for UKVI in order to apply for a Tier 4 visa. The IELTS test must be taken under UKVI conditions and your scoresheet must include a UKVI Number to reflect this.

If you are intending to study with an integrated CAS, you can apply for the Presessional course with an academic IELTS and this does not need to have a UKVI number.

Please see the link below giving more information about IELTS for UKVI purposes and details of where and how to book a test.

Note: At the University of Birmingham, we require all students studying on the Presessional courses to have a Tier 4 visa, as short term study visas cannot be renewed from within the UK and therefore students would not have enough time to travel to renew their visa and arrive back in time to start their main programme of study.

Do I have to retake IELTS at the end of my Presessional English course?

Please note that students who attend our presessional Courses do not retake IELTS but do have to achieve a final minimum mark for their coursework (please see our progression requirements for further details).

I do not have an offer for the University of Birmingham. Can I attend one of the Presessional English courses?

The Presessional English Courses at the University of Birmingham are only open to and appropriate for someone who has already received an offer for an academic course at the University of Birmingham. Once you have this offer, please find the right presessional course for your IELTS score apply for the presessional here

Can I attend a longer length course?

It may be possible to consider you for a longer course if there are sound academic reasons for doing so. You will need to send supporting information of why you want to attend a longer length course with your application form. This information will be considered by the Academic Course Director.

Can I still join the presessional course if I don't meet the minimum English Language requirements?

You must meet the minimum English language requirements before joining the presessional course.

Should I apply for the BME or EAP course?

If your academic offer letter for your future course is taught in the Business school you should apply for the BME (Business Management English). For all other courses you should apply for the EAP (English for Academic Purposes) course. Please note that all Economics students need to apply for the EAP course.

If I retake IELTS can I change my offer to a shorter course?

You are not able to move to a shorter course so we strongly reccommend that you do not apply for a presessional course if you have a new IELTS test booked. 

In exceptional circumstances only, if you have not already recieved your CAS statement, we may be able to move you to a shorter course.




How do I apply for accommodation?

To apply for student accommodation, please contact

More information on summer accommodation for the 20, 15, 10, 6 or 4 week courses, including the cost and how to apply can be found in our Accommodation section.

Does the cost of my presessional course include accommodation?

The presessional fees are for the course, the materials and some day trips. The fees do not include accommodation.


Can you help me with my visa application?

All international students from outside the European Economic Area or Switzerland will need a visa (entry clearance) to come to study in the UK. If you have not already done so, you need to prepare your Tier 4 Visa Application, and if you have dependants coming with you, their visas too.

If you are in the UK and already hold a visa for another institution you will need to apply to switch visa sponsor. If you hold another type of visa please send a scanned copy of your current visa along with a copy of your current offer of study to When we have received your scanned documents we will email you with further advice.

You should aim to submit your visa application for entry to the UK approximately 3 months before the start of your course. This will ensure that you have enough time to make your application to arrive at the University for the start of your course. Please do not submit your application any earlier than 3 months before the start of your course.

Remember, different Embassies and Visa Application Centres across the world have different processing times. Find out about the processing times of applications in your closest Embassy or Visa Application Centre and select your country for further information.

This advice is provided by the International Student Team (IST). All visa enquiries about applying for your entry clearance visa to come to the UK, or extending your visa to continue your studies once you are here, are dealt with by the International Student Team (IST). Before making your journey to Birmingham, the IST recommend that you read the information online about collecting a Biometric Residence Permit on arrival in the UK. You can contact IST via the website

The staff in IST will be very happy to provide advice about new visas, visa renewal and visas for dependants (husbands/wives and children) of students.

You can also visit the IST website for general immigration information.

You may also find the following helpful:

How do I apply for my visa?

Please note that changes to the visa process for students making an application outside of the UK mean that if you are applying to come to the UK for more than 6 months you will receive:

  • A decision letter which explains that your visa has been granted and explain that you need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP)
  • A visa vignette in your passport which is valid for 30 days. This visa allows you to travel to the UK and on arrival you must collect your BRP card which will show you have valid leave for the full period you were granted.

When making a Tier 4 application you will be able to enter an Alternative Collection Location code which means that you will be able to collect your BRP card from the University of Birmingham.

To make an application you should complete the online application form for applications made outside of the UK and pay the appropriate fee. Your Tier 4 application will also direct you to correct an account on the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) portal and pay the required charge. Once you have done this you must include your IHS reference number on your Tier 4 application.

You need to book an appointment with a visa application centre where you may be interviewed and you should be prepared to explain:

  • Why did you decide to study in the UK?
  • Why did you decide to study at Birmingham?
  • Why did you choose your particular course?
  • What do you know about the University campus and facilities?


When should I arrive in the UK?

Please make sure you arrive in the UK no later than the day before the course is due to start, so that you are ready to come and register on the first day.

An email will be sent to you 4 weeks before your course starts, which will include a request for your travel details, and information on where you need to arrive on your first day.  Please ensure you have provided us with your current email address on your application, so that we can send this to you.

Do you arrange an airport pick up?

We provide a free airport pick up service for students on the 15, 10, 6 and 4 week courses. We provide 2 or 3 coaches per day from Birmingham International Airport to University accommodation on the weekend before the course starts. Further details will be provided nearer the time.


When can I register with the University of Birmingham?

Once you have been sent your CAS for the presessional English course you will need to register online.

You should register with the University online in advance before your arrival to the UK.

Online registration: To register online you will need your University username and password. You will receive your username, password and programme title by email. This email will be sent to your personal email address. Please check your ‘Spam’ folder to ensure that any safeguards you may have will not block this message. You will need to have your passport and visa (if applicable) checked upon arrival and will then be provided with a student identification card.

What is the city of Birmingham like?

Birmingham is England’s second city, and is a European centre for retail, commerce and culture. It offers entertainment for all tastes, including leading theatres, music venues, art galleries and museums. It is also home to one of Europe’s largest city centre shopping malls, The Bullring, which has over 160 shops including Selfridges, Abercrombie and Fitch, Apple and Top Shop. The city's newest cultural attraction, opened in September 2013, is the state-of-the-art Library of Birmingham, one of the largest and most modern libraries in the world. It’s a truly cosmopolitan city whose residents come from many diverse countries and cultural backgrounds. This is reflected in its restaurants, shops and cultural activities. Wherever you are from, you should have no problem finding food from your home country in the city’s restaurants, its Asian or European supermarkets or its large fruit, vegetable, fish and meat markets.

Read more information about the city of Birmingham

What is the transport like in Birmingham?

The city is at the centre of England and at the hub of its transport network, making it a great base from which to explore the UK and mainland Europe. London is only one and a half hours away by train. Birmingham International Airport is just 25 minutes by taxi from the Edgbaston campus and offers direct flights to the USA, North Africa, Dubai, and European destinations with connections worldwide via Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Istanbul.

The University of Birmingham is located in the heart of England with campuses in the Edgbaston and Selly Oak areas of the city of Birmingham.

Direction and travel advice to our campuses

Is there a good selection of food in Birmingham?

Birmingham is a truly diverse city with a mix of ethnicities in both its permanent residents and student population. This character is reflected in its restaurants, shops and cultural activities.

In the city centre alone, more than 200 restaurants serve food from 27 countries. You will find food that suits your tastes in Birmingham's many cafés and restaurants and, if you feel like cooking for yourself and for friends, you can visit and buy from the large fruit, vegetable, fish and meat markets, or Asian and European supermarkets, where specialist food is available.

Further information

How can I find out more about the presessional course?

If you have any further questions about the presessional English course, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at