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International Students


Find information on how to apply to be a visiting student at Cambridge at Types of Study.

If you are a national of a country in the EEA or Switzerland, you do not need a visa to study. However, if you are a national of any other country you require a visa for study purposes. Do not assume that you can study without a visa, even if you are allowed to visit the UK for a short period. Study is not permitted as a visitor (tourist) or business visitor in the UK.

If you believe you already hold immigration permission which will allow you to study at Cambridge as a visitor, please provide evidence of this to the International Student Office who will confirm. 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.

Visiting for more than 6 months

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 sponsor licence 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.

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 Office's ATAS process web pages.

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.

Visiting for six months or less

If you are coming to Cambridge for less than six months, then the appropriate immigration option is entry to the UK under the short-term study route.

Once accepted as a visiting student, the University provides a letter of support to those from outside the EEA who will be visiting Cambridge for less than six months in order to undertake study or conduct research as part of a course overseas. Please note, this is different to the acceptance letter you may receive from your supervisor or Department at Cambridge. A short-term study letter can only be provided to those undertaking research if your home University can confirm that this research is part of, or relevant to, your course overseas. A letter from the home institution confirming that the study at Cambridge is part of, or relevant to, the overseas course must be provided in the visa application in addition to the letter from the University of Cambridge.

Visiting students undertaking postgraduate-level research in certain science and technology subjects will require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate to support either their visa application, if you are required to apply for the short-term study visa in advance of arriving in the UK, or entry to the UK at immigration control. You will be informed as part of your acceptance as a visiting student if this applies to you. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) manages ATAS. You must apply online to the FCO and applications are normally decided within 20 days. You will be sent the ATAS certificate via email and will need to print it out to support your visa application, or carry in your hand-luggage to show on entry to the UK

Please note that an immigration status as a standard visitor / tourist does not permit the holder to enter the UK for study purposes.