Difference: Conditional vs Unconditional Offer Letter

Difference: Conditional vs Unconditional Offer Letter

8 mins read1L Views 61 Comments
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Jul 9, 2024 18:04 IST

After you are done applying to the universities of your choice, the next step is to get an offer letter from those Universities. There are two types of offer letters that universities can send to both domestic and international students: conditional offer letters and unconditional offer letters

conditional vs unconditional offer letter

An offer letter or a letter of acceptance serves as evidence regarding the confirmation of your admission to a university. In simple terms, this letter means that you have been accepted for the program you applied to. Check out the article below for more details on Conditional vs Unconditional offer letters. 

Check: What are Academic Transcripts and How to get it?

What is a Conditional Offer Letter?

Although a conditional offer letter, also called a restrictive offer letter, has some conditions attached to it that the students need to meet they shouldn't be disappointed in receiving the same. It would still mean that the university considers you fit for enrollment, but just needs you to meet certain criteria which are crucial for admission into that particular university.

A conditional offer letter is a success as the university authority found you a worthy candidate. Still, they offer you a conditional offer letter due to a lack of some qualifications. 

Common Conditions in Conditional Letter

The most common and usual conditions applied in a conditional offer letter are received which are described below:

  • There may be issues with the academic documents submitted by the applicant. Either they are missing or the grades don't match with the already submitted details on the application.
  • The test score reports may not align with the application or scores that were not submitted may be required by the university. 
  • Financial information may be missing hence, more details can be requested from the applicant.

The application's conditional status varies on a case-by-case scenario, thus, applicants should ensure that they submit their applications with all possible details and not just submit them incomplete.

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What is an Unconditional Offer Letter?

An unconditional offer letter is a green signal for applicants to go ahead with their student visa applications. This letter ensures that students have submitted all documents and that they can proceed with further steps. Once the applicant gets an unconditional offer letter, he/she cannot submit additional documents or test scores of standardised tests in case they have taken it again after applying. 

Common Conditions in Unconditional Offer Letter

The reason why applicants can get an unconditional offer letter is because of the following reasons:

  • The applicants are talented and show an exceptional academic background.
  • They are fit to live in the country of study plus, have all their expenses covered easily without much ado.
  • Finally, they have a clear character and no major leaks can be found in the background. 

Based on these conditions, international applicants are eligible for getting an unconditional offer letter for admission. 

Difference Between Conditional and Unconditional Offer Letters

Here we will discuss a few differences between the two.

  • A conditional offer letter has specific conditions with it. It means you need to have certain grades or marks for the same, whereas an unconditional offer letter has no conditions with it, and reflects that your grades, whether high or low, have been accepted by the University.
  • An unconditional offer letter is given to international students who have already met the entrance requirements to the university and have already been accepted as a student at the university. If you have submitted all the required documents and have paid the fees, the university would give you an unconditional offer letter. This type of letter is required for the purpose of acquiring a student loan from a bank.
  • In the case of a conditional offer letter, it is offered when there are some pending documents left to be submitted. These could be a copy of their passport, last semester's mark sheet, or scores of IELTS / TOEFL. Due to lack of time, some students may not be able to provide all documents and details to the admissions department. In these cases, the university will confirm its interest in the student based on the condition that all the formalities be completed within two to three months.
  • Sometimes, conditional offer letters affect the visa procedure. If the conditional offer letter has requirements that have to be completed after entering the country, then the visa application can proceed normally. However, if there are requirements that have to be fulfilled before the student leaves India, then the visa procedure may get delayed.

Check: How To Plan Your Study Abroad Application Process

Once all the conditions are met, a conditional offer letter can be converted to an unconditional offer letter. It should also be kept in mind that an unconditional offer letter will be required in case a student loan is required from any bank. In short, all required formalities have to be completed before you apply for the visa or leave India. That is a good way to ensure the student visa issuing process goes smoothly.

For the unversed, usually, the processing of an offer letter in the UK takes 2 weeks for an undergraduate or a post-graduate program. In the case of a PhD degree, it may take up to two months. Some universities also exist which send the offer letter within two days. 

Additional Reads:

Visa Guide to the US

Visa Guide to Canada

Visa Guide to Australia

Visa Guide to UK

Which is better - a conditional or unconditional offer letter?

Applicants who get a conditional offer letter can rest assured that they have admission and can apply for a student visa. However, those who have received an unconditional offer letter will have to first clear the issues pertaining to the offer letter and then wait for the university to offer acceptance. The students who get an unconditional offer can proceed with other formalities like looking for accommodation and other areas that include attention. Whereas, those with a conditional offer letter will still have to wait for the official confirmation from the university in question. 

In all cases, an unconditional offer letter is far better than a conditional offer letter because the applicant has the confirmation and they can apply for a student visa as well. 

Have admission-related queries? Sign up for free Shiksha Abroad Counselling or drop us your queries in the comments below. 

Difference between Conditional vs Unconditional Offer Letter FAQs

Q. What should I do if I've received a conditional offer letter?

A. If you've received a conditional offer letter, firstly make sure you go through it carefully and understand all the specified conditions which you are supposed to meet before the offer can be finalised. Accept the offer in case you are satisfied with the stated conditions in it and accept the same before the provided deadline. Try to work in a manner that help you meet the conditions mentioned in the letter. On encountering any issues or questions regarding the same, contact the institute's admission executives for clarification.

Q. What should I do if I've received an unconditional offer letter?

A. It's a good news if you've received an unconditional offer letter from your targeted university. The moment you receive the same accept the letter formally. Go through the instructions stated by the university on the letter as the same may guide you regarding filling out the acceptance form or paying the fee or deposit. Read all the terms of the letter carefully. These may include your course details, commencement date, and any kind of condition which you may be required to meet before your admission is finalised.

Q. Can I apply for a visa with a conditional offer letter?

A. Whether one can apply for a visa with a conditional offer letter or not majorly depends upon the country where your institute is located and its specific requirements. In many cases, it may be allowed to apply for the same with a conditional offer letter from a reputed university/college. If you've obtained a conditional offer letter it means that the institute is ready to accept you into a programme provided you fulfil some of the set conditions by the university/college. So you may be asked to present language proficiency evidence, complete some courses before getting enrolled for the main course or meet any other academic requirements.

Q. What is a CAS after unconditional admission letter?

A. A CAS or Confirmationa of Acceptance of Studies is a letter which UK's recognised educational instititutes issue in order to confirm your acceptance into a course offered by a university/college. Majority if the overseas students who have to apply for a Tier 4 (general) student visa for pursuing higher education in the United Kingdom need CAS. Once you receive an unconditional letter, you will be required to give extra details to the institution, such as financial ability proof for covering your study cost and stay in the UK. You will then obtain a CAS after the institution has analysed the details provided by you and agrees that you meet the requirements.

Q. In how many days would I receive an unconditional offer letter?

A. How many days or weeks would it take to obtain an unconditional admission letter will depend upon the institute you're applying to and also on the course selected by you. The time can be different for different university/colleges. There a few universities which may process your application in a few weeks' time, whereas some of the institutions may take months to issue the same. In case you have any queries regarding the timeline for obtaining an unconditional offer letter, please reach out to the institute's admission office for in-depth information.

About the Author
Written by
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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shanky rapstar

a year ago

i have applied for health and science in canterbury university and got a conditional offer letter requires parsonal statement . and submitted on the next day its been 5days no revet back from uni.. am i selected by the uni . or they are still have 2nd thoughts about my application .. as i applied f


Reply to shanky rapstar



2 years ago

Hi Srishta, i got a condional offer letter from the university of exeter to provide my English language proficieny (ELP) and pay the initial school fees by 29th April.. i am having delay to provide ELP however i am also waiting for the feedback from the Scholarship i applied. Does this mean i will b


Reply to Kiwanuka

Is a "reviewed conditional offer of admission" same as an "unconditional offer of admission"? Thank you!

Reply to precious oguntusi

No, it is still a conditional offer letter.



2 years ago

I received conditional offer from Cardiff Met Uni, UK. I was requested to provide a letter of English language proficiency from my school. I’m having delay to get that but can make my tuition deposit since the deadline for my tuition deposit is Dec 10tg 2021

Reply to Dayo

Hi, your query is unclear here. You should make the deposit. Since you already have an offer letter, you can pay the tuition and confirm your seat. When you get the English proof, then submit it immediately to the univesity.


Deepak Arora

2 years ago

I received unconditional offer from university now interview is still necessary

Reply to Deepak Arora