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International Students


Students attending pre-sessional courses 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 upon arrival at Cambridge, you will not be permitted to start the pre-sessional course.

A 'pre-sessional' course might include the Academic Development and Training for International Students programme offered by the Language Centre, or an MPhil programme that begins with a Preparatory Course in September.

It is important to consider the following:

  • You cannot start your course on a visa issued for another institution.
  • Meet the conditions of your offer as early as possible,
  • Apply for ATAS clearance if required. This process takes 20 working days and you can apply when you have a conditional offer.
  • Prepare for your visa application early. You can submit your application as soon as you receive your CAS if you have the necessary documents prepared. We often find students who could have applied for the visa are prevented from doing so because they have not prepared the required financial documentation in advance.
  • Do not book your flights to the UK - or any other travel - until you have obtained your Tier 4 visa.
  • Look at the Tier 4 processing times for applications made in your country. Have you allowed enough time?

When to contact the International Student Team

Contact the International Student Team in the following circumstances:

  • You believe you will not meet your conditions before the pre-sessional begins. We are not directly involved in the admissions process but can discuss your options with you and the Graduate Admissions team.
  • You need advice - for instance on the financial aspects of the visa application.
  • You hold a non-Tier 4 visa and would like to check whether you can study on that visa.