The University does permit students to undertake their courses on immigration permission that is not sponsored under Tier 4, providing this permission allows study. There are a number of points which you should consider before deciding whether to study using a different immigration route.
Length of the course and visa expiration date
Ideally, you should complete your course within the leave granted on your current visa (i.e. the expiry date of your current visa). If you do need to extend your current visa or to switch into the Tier 4 student category during your course, you should be aware of the requirements for making this application. Only a very limited number of visa holders can make the switch to Tier 4 inside the UK. If your current visa type is not listed by the Home Office, you would need to leave the UK to make a Tier 4 application. You will have to fulfil the maintenance requirements that this category demands. Please see our webpages on applying for Tier 4 leave in the UK.
If you do need to apply for a new Tier 4 visa during your studies, contact the International Student Team at least three months before your current visa expires. The University will provide you with a CAS as sponsorship and you may need to apply for ATAS clearance.
It is your responsibility to determine whether your current visa might be curtailed as a result of your change in circumstances.
If you are applying for a new visa, possibly under Tier 4 or another immigration route, inside the UK before you start your course, you need to present this new visa at your College on arrival. If you have not received the new visa by your start date, you need to provide proof of application to your College and keep them updated on the progress of this application.
Employment and study
If you intend to commence your studies on a non-Tier 4 visa, you will need to be aware that students at Cambridge are only able to undertake very limited employment during their course. More information is available in the Working and Studying section.
If your course requires ATAS clearance and your visa is issued on or after 6 April 2015, you will need to obtain this clearance before starting your course on your current visa. If you are applying via the Graduate Admissions Office, this ATAS clearance will be a condition of your admission.