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International Students


Students starting their course early because their studies include an in-person pre-sessional course need to ensure they make the necessary plans to have the correct visa in place 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 where this is being undertaken in peson.

Students who are required to take a pre-sessional course which will be delivered remotely (i.e. without a requirement to be in attendance in person) will not be eligible for visa sponsorship to support earlier arrival for this. The start date for CAS and visa purposes will be the start date of the main course. The information on this page would therefore not be applicable. If you apply for your visa sufficiently early, it can be valid for up to one month prior to the official start date of your main course.

Steps to take to ensure your visa is issued in time

Your CAS cannot be issued until you have met all of the conditions of your offer, and after your admission has been confirmed. It is therefore important to consider the following:

  • You cannot start your course on a visa issued for another institution.
  • Aim to meet all of the conditions of your offer as early as possible.
  • Apply for ATAS clearance if required. This process takes at least 20-30 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 all the necessary documents prepared.

Additional Information for Academic Development and Training for International Students (ADTIS)

The information below is for those applicants who will be undertaking the Academic Development and Training for International Students Pre-Sessional course.

  • We recommend that you try to meet all of the conditions of your offer as early as possible so that we are able to issue one CAS for both the ADTIS pre-sessional course and main course of study. If you are issued one CAS to cover both the pre-sessional and your main course, you do not need to submit any evidence of English language proficiency with your visa application. In the relevant section of the visa application form you should select 'Your sponsor is a Higher Education Institution and has made its own assessment of your English language ability'.
  • If you believe that you cannot meet your conditions early enough to obtain your visa and arrive in time for the ADTIS pre-sessional course then it may be possible, in exceptional circumstances, for us to issue you one CAS for the ADTIS pre-sessional programme (an ‘ADTIS-Only CAS’), and then later, once you have met ALL the conditions of your offer, for us to issue you with another CAS for the main course of study. This would normally only be issued where there is one academic condition outstanding that cannot be met until after the ADTIS pre-sessional starts. A single CAS will not be issued if the outstanding condition is ATAS or financial. If you receive a CAS for the ADTIS pre-sessional course only, you are required to have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) showing that you are at level CEFR B1 in all four language components and will need to submit this document with your visa application.

When to contact the International Student Office

Contact the International Student Office 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 Postgraduate Admissions Office.
  • You need advice about your student visa application.
  • You hold a non-Tier 4/Student visa and would like to check whether you can study on that visa.