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CAO Handbook
Page 4 of 23


Step 1 – Register on the CAO system in advance of the closing date to obtain your CAO application number

  1. Go online at and click on ‘Apply’.

  2. Enter your personal details.

  3. Select the qualifications and assessments section(s) that are relevant to you (there may be more than one relevant section – see page 5 for more information).

  4. Select your payment method – if you are paying by credit or debit card you will be redirected to a payment screen. All payment card transactions are handled by Realex Payments - no payment card details will be stored on the CAO system. Once your payment has been processed you will be brought back to the CAO website to complete the remaining steps.

  5. Create a password. If you forget your password you can use the forgotten password facility. You will need your CAO application number, date of birth and the registered email address for your account to be able to automatically reset your password. If you experience difficulty resetting your password contact CAO using the ‘Contact’ facility.

  6. Supply a valid email address. Please note that the HEIs to which you apply may wish to communicate with you about your application and they may contact you by email, post or SMS text message.

  7. You must then click on ‘Proceed with application’ to obtain your CAO application number. Your application details will appear on screen and you will also receive an email containing your CAO application number. If you do not receive an email with your application number, your application has not been processed successfully.

Please note: You should enter your name as it appears on your Birth Certificate or Passport. If you wish to apply under a different name HEIs will require proof of identification at registration.




Early online application (discounted)


20th January 2017 at 5:15pm

Normal online application


1st February 2017 at 5:15pm

Late online application – restrictions apply


1st May 2017 at 5:15pm

Change of Mind


1st July 2017 at 5:15pm

Exceptional online late application – see page 14


22nd July 2017 at 5:15pm

Table 1.1 Application dates and fees

You should avoid submitting an application close to a closing date. No extensions to closing dates will be allowed and all application fees are non-refundable.


Late Applications are those which are received after 5:15pm on 1st February 2017 and will be accepted up to 5:15pm on 1st May 2017, subject to the restrictions listed on page 3 of this handbook.