If you intend to visit the University of Cambridge for a study period of greater than six months and have been accepted by a Faculty or Department, the appropriate immigration route is Tier 4. The University holds a Tier 4 licence, administered by the International Student Team, which allows it to sponsor eligible students for a Tier 4 visa. For Tier 4 sponsorship, the visit to Cambridge must be for the purposes of study or research that is part of your overseas qualification. This qualification must be at the same level as, or above, a UK degree. If you are not a registered student elsewhere then sponsorship under Tier 4 cannot be provided.
The University requires all students, including those visiting for six months or more, to meet the English language conditions. The standard of English language needed for admission to the University is higher, normally equivalent to an overall band score of 7.5 in IELTS, with 7.0 in each element. Some nationalities are exempt from the requirement, where English is deemed to be the majority language, and alternatives to an English test certificate are possible depending on nationality and academic background - the Graduate Admissions Office provide full detail of the English language requirements.
Certain courses will require you to obtain Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance from the FCO before a CAS can be issued for your Tier 4 visa application. The requirement for ATAS clearance is determined by the JACS code of the course. An ATAS application has a processing time of 20 working days and a CAS cannot be issued until the FCO have issued your certificate. Departmental staff intending to host visiting students can find further guidance on the International Student Team's ATAS process web pages.
If you are intending to come to Cambridge for more than three terms, one year, you should make an application via the Graduate Admissions Office; this provides College membership and normal fees apply.
If you are coming to study for less than six months but your study requires you to undertake a work placement (e.g. Medical Elective) then you also require a Tier 4 (General) visa.