These are some frequently asked questions from prospective and current international students.
Q. What does ‘collegiate University’ mean?
Cambridge is a ‘collegiate University’. This refers to the University, which includes Departments, Faculties, Schools, central administrative offices, libraries and museums, and the 31 autonomous Colleges. Students are members of a College where they receive pastoral and academic support.
Undergraduate students apply to a College.
Graduate students are accepted by a College after the academic decision on whether to recommend you for a place is made by the relevant department.
Q. Do I need a visa to study at Cambridge?
You do not need a visa to study if you are a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country, you will need a visa before you can study. A Tier 4 visa allows students to study a particular full-time course at a particular institution in the UK.
Q. What documentation do I need to submit as part of my visa application?
The documentation you are required to submit to the Home Office in support of your visa application varies depending on your personal circumstances. All applicants have to submit their passport and passport photographs and, depending on your nationality and chosen course, you may also be required to submit financial evidence to prove that you can cover your course fees and living costs, evidence of your qualifications, ATAS certificate, TB certificate and police registration certificate. See Tier 4 visa pages for further information.
Q. When and how do I get my CAS to support my Tier 4 visa application?
Q. Can someone at the University check my visa application and supporting documents before I submit them to the Home Office?
The International Student Team’s visa advice service provides free, confidential advice on a range of student-related immigration matters. This includes checking visa application forms and supporting documents.
Q. How do I collect my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) after I arrive in the UK?
We advise you to select collection of your BRP from the University when completing your visa application. To do this, you will need to use the relevant ACL code in the relevant part of your visa application. Once you arrive in the UK, the collection location will depend on when you are starting your studies. Further information is outlined at Collecting your BRP.
Q. What is ATAS?
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) requires all students who will be studying for a postgraduate qualification in certain sensitive subject areas on a time-limited visa, which includes a Tier 4 visa, to apply for a clearance certificate. The relevant subject areas are based on whether knowledge gained could be used in programmes to develop weapons of mass destruction or their means of delivery.
ATAS applications are administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It is a free online application. The standard ATAS processing time is 20 working days although this can increase to 6 weeks during the peak period July – September.
Q. I am an EEA student. Can I access healthcare services for free in the UK?
The UK's Department of Health has produced a leaflet on HealthCare Information for students from the European Economic Area who may wish to use the National Health Service (NHS), the UK’s state healthcare system.
Non-UK European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals, and their family, should obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before coming to the UK to access NHS services for free in the UK.
Q. I am a Tier 4 student. Can I access healthcare services for free in the UK?
Students applying for a Tier 4 visa to study at Cambridge for 6 months or longer will pay an immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application. This will entitle them to access the National Health Service (NHS).
Q. How can I visit the University of Cambridge?
You may find some useful general information at Visiting the University.
Most of the Colleges are open to visitors during weekdays and at the weekends, and will allow you to stroll around independently during visiting hours (with the exception of some restricted areas). College websites provide information on exact opening hours. If there are any particular Colleges that you would like to visit during your stay in Cambridge, we would recommend that you contact them in advance to check that they will be open to the public on the day of your visit.
You may also like to contact the Department or Faculty you wish to visit directly and see if they can assist you.
Q. How do I open a bank account?
All the major UK banks have branches in Cambridge. Different banks offer different benefits and services to international students so it is advisable to check your options before making a choice. Most students open a current account which provides a visa debit card, which can be used to make payment in shops and online as well as take money from cash points (ATMs) up to a daily maximum limit, and is usually combined with an online banking service. The banks advise students to visit one of their branches to discuss opening an account. You may need to book an appointment to make your application depending on how busy the bank is at the time you visit. This is particularly likely at the beginning of the academic year.
To open an account you will need to take your passport, UK visa (if applicable) and a letter from your College.
Further information on opening a bank account and orientation guidance on other aspects of living and studying in Cambridge is outlined in our International Student Guide.
Q. I am interested in doing an (Erasmus) internship at the university.
The University does not have a centrally organised application procedure for internships/Erasmus training placements so you will need to contact the Department or Faculty or University Office where you are interested in undertaking work experience to see if they are able to assist with your request.
Q. I am interested in coming to the university as a visiting student.
Some Colleges will consider applications from overseas students wishing to undertake a short course of undergraduate study in Cambridge as a visiting student.
If you are a postgraduate student, application procedures will vary depending on the Department or Faculty. You will need to contact the relevant Department/Faculty directly for further information.
Prospective incoming Erasmus students who wish to undertake a traineeship / work placement at the University, should contact the relevant Department/Faculty directly for further information.
The University has a number of partnerships with overseas institutions under Erasmus+ which facilitate student exchanges in certain subject areas. See information for incoming students.
You may also be interested in our International Summer Programmes.