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International Students


The following guidance is provided to help EEA and Swiss nationals prepare a student visa application from outside the UK (applying for entry clearance). It is intended for students at the University of Cambridge. 

If you are not applying for your visa using an EEA or Swiss passport you should read the information on applying for a Student visa - entry clearance as the process is different. 

You must wait for your student visa to be issued before using this visa to travel to the UK.

CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies)

Your student visa application must be supported with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This confirms the University wishes to sponsor your student visa. It is an electronic record outlining the information about you and your study at Cambridge. 

The Postgraduate Admissions Office issues CAS for new postgraduate students and postgraduate students continuing to a new course. The International Student Office issues all other CAS. Your CAS Statement will be sent to you by email. You must enter the CAS reference number in the relevant section of the student visa application.

The ‘Your CAS Explained’ document outlines the information that is included in the CAS Statement. When you receive your CAS, check it against this document. You should make sure that all of the details in your CAS Statement are correct and let the office who issued your CAS know if you identify any errors. These will need to be corrected prior to you submitting your visa application.

For visa purposes, the University is a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance. You will be asked this in the visa application.

When to apply

You must apply and obtain your student visa before you travel to the UK and commence your studies at Cambridge. You can only submit and pay for your application once you have been issued your CAS.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) advises that decisions on applications using the standard service aim to be made in 15 working days but the timeframe can vary depending on when and where you make your application. A priority service may be available at additional cost and aims to make a decision on the application in 5 working days, but this should not be relied upon in planning when to make your student visa application. 

How to apply

You will need to complete an online application form which includes paying the relevant fee. Make sure you are aware of the costs associated with applying for a student visa.

As part of the application process you will need to prove your identity. As an EEA or Swiss passport holder you can do this using the UK Immigration: ID Check app. Using the app, you will need to scan your passport and upload a photo of yourself. You will need either an iPhone 7 or newer or an Android phone to use the app.

Start by clicking the link to apply outside the UK on the student visa website. Then, if you select to confirm you are planning to live in the UK and have a current EU, EEA or Swiss passport with a biometric chip, you will be given instructions to verify your ID using the phone app. Guidance on using the app is also provided on the website

If you can’t use the app

If the app does not work on your phone, you could ask a family member or friend to use their phone. You only need to use the app to verify your ID. No information is stored on the app and you can delete it from the phone after you have completed this step.

If you are still unable to use the app, you will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre as part of your application.

If you don’t have a biometric passport

You will need to book an appointment at a visa application centre as part of your application.


As an EEA or Swiss national, you qualify for differentiation arrangements when you apply for your student visa. For most students this means you do not need to provide documents to support the application except for your passport, which will be used to verify your identity via the app. Further clarification is outlined below: 

Qualification evidence

Your CAS will state any qualifications used as part of the assessment for your admission to your course. As the University is a Higher Education Provider (HEP) with a track record of compliance and you will be studying at degree level, you are not required to provide evidence of your qualifications in accordance with student visa policy.

English language ability

No evidence of English language ability needs to be submitted as part of the visa application, even if this was a condition of your offer to study at Cambridge. The exception is students who are applying for a visa to attend the ADTIS pre-sessional course only.

Your CAS will confirm that the University, as a Higher Education Provider, has assessed your English language ability and it is at the required level.

Financial requirements

As an EEA and Swiss national, you are not required to provide any financial evidence to support your student visa application.

UK Visas and Immigration advises that you should still make sure you have the required funds and they reserve the right to ask you to provide evidence of this. You are expected to have sufficient funds to cover your course fees as stated in your CAS plus £1023 in living costs for each month of your course up to a maximum of 9 months. The guidance on the website has further information about financial requirements.

Under 18s

If you are under 18 years old at the time of your visa application, you will need to provide proof of parental consent and proof of relationship (a birth certificate or equivalent). A form will be provided by the University for your parent/s to complete and should be used as evidence of parental consent with the visa application. You can upload these as supporting documents to your application.

TB Screening

If you have only lived within the EEA and Switzerland in the last 6 months, you will not need to have a Tuberculosis (TB) test as part of your student visa application.

If you are coming to the UK for more than 6 months and have lived for at least 6 months in one of the countries specified by UK Visas and Immigration on their website in the period prior to making your application, you will be required to provide a TB clearance certificate with your application. You must be tested at a clinic that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The test will involve having a chest x-ray and, if clear, you will be given a certificate which is valid for 6 months and must be uploaded as a supporting document to your visa application. UKVI approved clinics are only located in countries where TB testing is usually required for the visa application. If you are no longer living in a country with an approved test centre, contact the International Student Office for further guidance.

Healthcare surcharge

You will need to pay a healthcare surcharge (called the 'immigration healthcare surcharge' or IHS) as part of your student visa application in order to access public healthcare services in the UK. 

The amount charged is based on the duration of the visa to be issued, taking into consideration your course dates and the short post-study period granted on the end of your visa. If your visa application is not successful, you will automatically be refunded the immigration health surcharge (but not the visa application fee).

Students from the EU and Switzerland may be eligible for a full or partial refund of the immigration health surcharge if they have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued in an EU country or Switzerland. Further information about this reimbursement scheme is outlined on healthcare in the UK webpage.  


You will receive an email confirming the outcome of your application. The visa will be granted as a digital immigration status which you can view online if you used the verification ID app.

The earliest your student visa will be valid is one month prior to the start date of your course, in line with student visa policy.

Check your digital status to make sure the information is correct. Contact the International Student Office if you identify any errors or want to check the information is correct.

If you do not use the app and therefore enrol your biometrics at a Visa Application Centre, you will initially be issued a 90 day entry vignette if the total length of your visa is over 6 months or more. A vignette is a sticker placed in your passport which will enable you to enter the UK. Once you arrive in Cambridge, you will need to collect a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). You do not have to collect a BRP if you use the app as part of the application process as your student visa will be issued digitally. 

Length of visa granted

Your visa will be granted for the course duration as outlined on your CAS plus a post-study period as outlined below:

  • the length of the course plus four months for undergraduate and PhD courses;
  • the length of the course plus two months for Masters courses of 12 months or less;
  • the length of the course plus four months for Masters courses lasting 12 months or more;
  • the length of the course plus two months for other courses lasting less than 12 months, e.g. exchange students.

The earliest your student visa will be valid is one month prior to the start date of your course, in line with student visa policy. 

Travel to the UK

You cannot travel to the UK to commence your studies until the visa application process has been completed and you have received a successful outcome.

You must enter the UK within the validity of your student visa permission. You cannot enter on your student immigration permission before the ‘valid from’ date. In addition, you cannot enter the UK earlier as a standard visitor (tourist) and then 'switch' inside the UK to your student visa. If you enter the UK as a visitor, you will need to leave the UK and re-enter within the validity of your student visa to activate your immigration permission as a student.

You should ensure you understand and comply with the conditions of your student visa and your responsibilities as a student with visa sponsorship at Cambridge.

Your College will require you to provide evidence of your immigration status after you arrive in the UK and before you start your studies. This will include evidence of when you entered the UK (e.g. flight ticket or boarding pass). Instructions will be sent by your College prior to you starting your studies.

Further sources of information

Visa advice service

The International Student Office provides a visa advice service to assist with queries in relation to applying for a student visa.

Other sources of information 

You are advised to read the information on the UK Visas and Immigration website, prior to applying for your visa. It is your responsibility to ensure you understand and meet the UK immigration requirements.

UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)  provides information on applying for a student visa from outside the UK.

Dependant family members

Read the information on eligibilty for a dependant visa if you intend to come to Cambridge with family.