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International Students

 

If you are already in the UK on a Tier 4/student visa, or in certain other visa categories, you may be able to apply to stay in the UK on a student visa.

  • If you currently hold valid permission in an immigration category other than Tier 4/student, you will be able to switch into a student visa unless you have a status as a visitor, short-term student, parent of a Tier 4/student child, seasonal worker, or have permission outside the immigration rules.
  • In order to make your application inside the UK there should not be a gap of more than 28 days between your current visa expiring and your new course start date. If the gap is more than 28 days, contact the International Student Office for further guidance.
  • When applying from within the UK you must make an application before your current visa expires. The date of your application is the date that you paid for and submitted your online application.
  • You can only apply to extend your Tier 4/student visa from inside the UK if you fulfil the academic progression requirements.
  • If you hold a current Tier 4/student visa sponsored by another institution, you must make a new student visa application, using the CAS issued by Cambridge, before commencing your studies. You will need to provide evidence of either a new student visa for Cambridge or proof of submitting an application for further permission to stay in the UK prior to your current visa expiring. If you provide the latter, you can start your course at your own risk whilst the decision on your application is pending. You are required to keep your College informed of the progress of your application. You should plan when to make your new student visa application, taking into consideration the completion of your current studies and the start date of your course at Cambridge. 
  • If you hold a current Tier 4 visa/student visa sponsored by the University of Cambridge and you are continuing onto a new course at Cambridge, you can start your new course on your current visa. You will need to make a new application for permission to stay in the UK within 6 weeks of the official start date of the course or prior to your current visa expiring, whichever is earlier. You will need to provide your College with proof you have submitted an application within the relevant timeframe.This only applies where you successfully completed the course for which you current visa has been granted.

 

Obtain ATAS if required

Most students undertaking a PhD-level research degree or Masters course in certain science and technology subjects require an ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate to support their visa application. Students who hold an EEA nationality or one of the following nationalities are exempt from this requirement: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, USA, Singapore, Japan, South Korea.

Postgraduate students who are required to apply for ATAS will have this included as a condition of offer and will be able to view an ATAS summary of research and the course CAH3 code, required for the ATAS application, in their applicant self-service. Undergraduate students undertaking an integrated Masters which requires ATAS clearance will receive instructions from the International Student Office by email. Current students should contact the International Student Office.

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) manages the ATAS scheme. You must apply online to the FCO. The application is free and you can apply once you have a ATAS research statement. You will be sent the ATAS certificate via email and must have received it prior to being issued your CAS and applying for the student visa. The FCO advises that it considers complete applications within 20 working days but this can be extended to 30 working days during peak periods.

If you require ATAS clearance for your course, you must upload the certificate issued by the FCO as a mandatory supporting document with your visa application.

Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Your student visa application must be supported with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). 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 are not required to provide a physical copy of your CAS when you apply for your student visa. You must enter the CAS reference number in the relevant section of the online application form. 

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 making your visa application.

How to apply

You will need to complete an online application form which includes paying the relevant fee. The application can be accessed via the gov.uk website. 

As part of the application you will need to prove your identity. Most applicants will be able to do this using the ‘UK Immigration: ID Check’ app and their current Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). Once you have created a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account, you will be asked to download the app to a smart phone. You will need either an iPhone 7 or newer or an Android phone. The app will be used to scan your BRP and confirm your identity. Once you have used the app, you can continue the application on your computer or another device. 

If you use the app, you will not need to book an appointment to enrol your biometrics.

If you are applying together with your family which includes children under 18 years old, you will not be able to use the app and will need to book appointments to enrol biometrics together. Please see the information below on locations.

If you can’t use the app

If the app does not work on your phone, you could ask a 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 book an appointment to enrol biometrics at a UKVCAS Centre. The application will provide instructions on how to do this if applicable. Appointments are subject to availability. The nearest location is in Cambridge Central Library in the Grand Arcade.

Application timeframe and costs

The application processing time and cost varies depending on the service you opt for and whether you use the 'UK Immigration: ID Check' app to apply:

  • £475if you use the standard service and use the app. The decision takes up to 8 weeks. 
  • £975 if you use the priority service and use the app. The decision takes up to 5 days after you have enrolled your biometrics. This can vary and is not guaranteed.

If you are unable to use the app, you will be charged an additional £19.20 to have your biometric information taken. You may be charged an additional amount at the time of booking your biometric appointment if you select a premium appointment.

When you make an application in the UK, you will not be able to travel overseas until you have received the decision. If you leave the UK whilst the decision is pending, UKVI advises the application could be withdrawn.

Immigration Health Surcharge

In addition to the visa application fee, applicants are required to pay a mandatory immigration health surcharge as part of their visa application in order to access healthcare services in the UK. Payment is made online as part of the visa application.

This is charged at £470 per year for the full duration the new visa will be granted. If the period includes part of a year that is 6 months or less, the amount payable for that year would be £235.

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.

 

Financial requirements

If you have been in the UK with a valid visa for at least 12 months on the date of your permission to stay application, you do not need to provide evidence of finances as supporting documentation. You must be applying in the UK. The Home Office advises that the requirement is to have held your current visa for at least 12 months at the point of application, rather than have been based in the UK for the full period. However, if you have been outside the UK for a significant part of the previous 12 months, and the Home Office gives an example of at least 3 months, you may be asked to provide evidence you meet the financial requirements during the application process. 

If the above does not apply to your circumstances, you are required to hold sufficient funds to cover 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. You are advised to read through the guidance on the gov.uk website for further information on the financial evidence required. This also includes a list of nationalities who are subject to differentiation arrangements where financial documentation does not need to be submitted with the visa application but funds should be held in the manner required and UKVI reserves the right to request the evidence.

Other supporting documents

All applicants will need to provide a current passport. You may need to provide other supporting documents depending on your circumstances:

  • An ATAS certificate (if you require it for your course);
  • Police registration certificate (if you were required to register);
  • A letter of consent from your financial sponsor to continue your studies in the UK if, in the last 12 months before the date of application, you have completed a course of studies in the UK for which you received funding from a Government or international scholarship agency covering both fees and living costs.
  • If you are under 18 years old at the time of application, proof of parental consent and proof of relationship (a birth certificate or equivalent). A template letter will be provided by the University for proof of consent.

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) 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 you are either a national of a majority English speaking country (as defined by UK Visas and Immigration) or the University, as a Higher Education Provider, has assessed your English language ability and it is at the required level.

Translations
Any document not in English or Welsh must be accompanied by a fully certified translation from a professional translator or translation company.

Decision

You will receive an email confirming the outcome of your application.

If you use the app to make your application, your new visa will be granted as a digital status, also called an eVisa.

Only certain nationalities will be issued a new Biometric Resident Permit (BRP). Nationals of these countries will likely need to show the BRP in order to travel to the UK so are advised to wait until this is received before making travel plans. Those nationals of countries who are only issued with an eVisa will not be required to show hardcopy evidence of their permission when travelling to the UK and their digital status can be checked on return to the UK at the Border. UKVI advises it can take up to 10 days after receiving the decision on the application for the BRP to arrive. The BRP will be sent by courier to the postal address you use in the application.

If you cannot use the app as part of the application, and need to enrol your biometrics at an appointment, you will also be issued a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

If your visa application is refused, inform the International Student Office immediately and provide a copy of the decision letter. This Office will advise you of your options. Please note that the University will not issue another CAS to support a new application until evidence is provided that any issues identified in the refusal notice have been resolved.

Checking your new visa

Once you have received the decision, you should check to ensure the details are correct and include:

  • The correct start and end date (you should receive the length of the course plus 4 months for courses of more than 12 months or, length of course plus 2 months for courses between 6 and 12 months);
  • Either the University’s Sponsor License number (4NUV7KB58) or your CAS number.
  • Your correct personal details.

If you identify any errors on your BRP, these will need to be reported to UKVI. Contact the International Student Office for further guidance.

Once you have received your decision, you should notify the International Student Office who will provide instructions on how to provide evidence of your status.

Other responsibilities

Some students will be required to update their police registration certificate when they have received their new visa.

You will need to cut up and send your old BRP to the Home Office. Your decision letter will give instructions, and an address, to do this. 

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

 

Dependant family members

If you have dependant family members with you in the UK, read the section on dependants.

Information about visas for dependant family members is currently being updated and information will be available shortly.

Further sources of information

You are advised to read the information on the student route 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.

Contact us

The University's International Student Office provides a visa advice service and can assist with queries in relation to your Tier 4 visa application.