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International Students


Do I need a visa to study?

You do not need a visa to study at Cambridge if you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. The countries in the EEA are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

If you are a national of any other country, you will need to obtain a visa before you can study at Cambridge.

What type of visa do I need?

It is important to ensure you have the correct visa which permits study in the UK. The type of visa you require depends on the type of course you are coming to study:

  • If you are coming for a course or period of study that is for less than six months, you may be able to come as a Short term student.
  • If you are coming to study a course that is longer than 6 months, you should apply for a ‘Tier 4 (General) Student’ Visa. The only exceptions to this are students with a Chevening Scholarship or Fellowship, a British Marshall Scholarship, a Fulbright Scholarship or a Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan who should apply under visa subtype ‘Tier 4 (Scholarship)’
  • If you already have UK immigration permission under a different visa type you may be able to study on that visa without needing to apply under Tier 4. You will have to provide evidence of this permission before starting your course. Please read our pages on using an alternative visa for study purposes.
  • If you are attending a pre-sessional course, such as the English for Academic Purposes programme, you will need to take extra precautions to ensure they have the correct visa before the pre-sessional course begins. If you cannot present a valid visa for study purposes upon arrival at Cambridge, you will not be permitted to start the pre-sessional course.

If you are entering the UK for the purpose of study, a standard visitor visa will not allow you to undertake this study at Cambridge.

Tier 4 visa

The UK operates a points-based immigration system underpinned by the principle of visa sponsorship. A sponsor for Tier 4 student purposes is the educational institution who supports your visa application to study in the UK. A Tier 4 visa is attached to a specific institution and course. You must apply for a Tier 4 visa prior to travelling to the UK unless you are already in the UK on a Tier 4 visa or in certain other visa categories. These pages provide detailed information on applying for a Tier 4 student visa:

Applying for a Tier 4 visa overseas

Applying for a Tier 4 visa inside the UK