Virtual Pre-Departure Live Chat: South Asia

Welcome to our virtual pre-departure briefing event. Our team will be online on the 12th of July from 2pm until 5pm (BST/GMT+1) to answer any questions you may have about the University of Birmingham.

Your questions will be posted on this feed once it has been answered, which might take a little time if we receive a lot of questions. Please don’t worry if you don’t see your question and its answer immediately – you only need to submit each question once and keep an eye on the feed for when the answer is posted.

During this Pre-Departure Briefing you can get specific information about travelling to the UK from your country. Each country also has its own dedicated page on our website. There is also some information available on practical matters (such as what to pack and starting your university life in Birmingham).

Speaker profiles

  • Carl Adaway

    Regional Manager (Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Americas)

  • Joelle Maurice

    International Officer (North America and South Asia)

  • Zuzanna Lazowy-Bassi

    International Recruitment

  • Hannah Farquharson

    College of Arts and Law

  • Charlotte Dangerfield

    College of Life and Environmental Sciences

  • Kat Grover

    College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  • Nina Morris

    College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

  • Raxona Khanum

    International Students Advisory Service

Q&A Archive

These were the questions asked during the Virtual Pre-Departure Live Chat: South Asia live event.
Joelle asked:

Thank you for attending the webchat today and for all your great questions. The session is now closed. If you’ve got any further questions please email us:

Joelle replied:
Bala asked:

Hello, I recently got my Scholarship and so now I applied for ATAS. I know that I am a little late for the entire process but do you think this will affect my arrival to the University of Birmingham?

Raxona Khanum replied:

Thank you for your question, Bala. I presume that this question is in relation to your visa but please let us know if it is not.

Your ATAS application may take up to 20 working days to receive a decision.

Once received and you have the remaining visa documents, including a Financial Sponsor letter, you should apply for your Tier 4 visa (see Tier 4 Policy Guidance for more information about the format of your supporting documents:

As it can take up to 2 months (or sometimes more) to receive your visa decision, you should consider whether you will arrive in time for your course start date. If not, you need to apply for a priority visa service, which means that you will a visa decision quicker.

Kiran asked:

I apologise if I annoy you by reposing the similar question, Can I expect the CAS by the end of next week, that is July 21?

Zuzanna replied:

Hi Kiran,

As Carl mentioned,  CAS can be issued relatively quickly once all conditions have been met and your status has been changed to be unconditional.

Our Admissions are currently dealing with a large volume of applications and CAS requests, so if may take a little longer for CAS to be issued.

If you are getting concerned or it has been more than a week since you have been issued an unconditional offer, please get in touch with me directly on with your student ID number, and I will be able to look into this for you.

Many thanks,


Dmitry Lakvin Kahandawa asked:

Hello, I’m curious as to how quickly I’d be able to- as an international student- open a student bank account in the UK. As a second question; how could I go about purchasing health insurance for myself as a student at Birmingham? Any specific recommendations for the latter question? I’d like to know what the procedure for obtaining health insurance is, as well as how else to take care of any health issues I may contract whilst studying in the UK. Thank you for your time!

Joelle replied:


Opening a bank account once you arrive is relatively easy and should be done within a few days or a week. We have a few banks on campus (Barclays, Lloyds, Santander) who are used to international students opening accounts with them, so you’ll be in good hands.

For health insurance, as part of your visa process you’ll pay a surcharge for the NHS (National Health Service). This will mean that you are able to use the NHS as a UK citizen would. The NHS is free at the point of service (and UK citizens pay for it through their taxes). Shortly after you arrive you should register with a doctor (also known as a GP). There will be assistance in Welcome Week with this and we have a doctor’s surgery located on-campus who you can register with, if this is the most convenient doctor for you. You will then be able to book appointments with your GP, who will be able to recommend and prescribe treatments or refer you to specialists as needed. You will need to pay a set fee for prescription medication, currently £8.60. The NHS provides a large number of hospital treatments for free.

Most conditions will be covered by the NHS, however if you think you might have a very rare condition it is worth checking if you would need private health insurance.

You might need to consider insurance for dental treatments as these are not fully covered by the NHS.

Kiran asked:

I have been given BRIHC scholarship for PhD in African studies but I am still waiting for my CAS which is needed to make my visa application. When can I expect that?

Carl replied:

Hi Kiran, thanks for your question.

The admissions team are still processing the CAS and will issue you with one as soon as possible. Please don’t be concerned if you haven’t received one yet – if you have firmly accepted your offer and you are now at unconditional stage, we will be processing them in due course and you should receive it in plenty of time to process your visa.