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International Student Office


The International Student Office advises on immigration requirements for visiting students from outside the EEA under two categories - short-term study and Tier 4 - and provides the relevant support to the student and host institution within the University.

Is a visa required?

If an institution is willing to host a particular visiting student, the nationality of that student determines whether a visa is required.

Nationals of countries within the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland do not require a visa to study in the UK.

All non-EEA nationals require a visa to undertake study in the UK. If a visiting student presents a visa which they already hold as evidence of permission to study - for instance an Ancestry or dependant visa - please contact the International Student Office for confirmation of whether this permits study.

ATAS clearance

If the course requires ATAS clearance and the visa was issued on or after 6 April 2015, ATAS is a requirement for study purposes for all visas valid for more than six months, whether Tier 4 or otherwise, and is now also required for less than six months under the short-term study route.

Note regarding Tier 5

For a visiting student coming to Cambridge to undertake research as part of their overseas degree, the University will sponsor under Tier 4. This approach is to ensure that visa sponsorship for these students can be managed consistently within established procedures.

A visiting student is defined as a student who is registered for a degree at another institution and who attends Cambridge for a short period of study, supervised research or a placement as part of their course. The University's visiting student guidelines would apply: 

For a research visitor that does not meet this definition, host institutions should liaise with the HR Compliance Team to confirm whether Tier 5 sponsorship can be used.

Non-EEA nationals

Students attending organised short courses of study, such as summer schools, at the University of Cambridge can do so on a short term study visa. Students must not enter the UK on a standard visitor visa for the purpose of attending these courses.

Students registered full-time at an overseas institution can undertake other study in the UK, and at Cambridge, providing that they are accepted by the University and that the relevant immigration requirements are met. The study undertaken in the UK must be part of an overseas qualification which is equivalent to, or above, a UK degree. If an intended visit is six months or less, the student will require a short-term study visa. For visits greater than six months, the student would be sponsored by the University for a Tier 4 visa and the immigration requirements of this route would need to be met before the visit can be confirmed.

Visiting postgraduate students, undertaking full-time supervised research in Cambridge for more than one year, normally apply through the Posgraduate Admissions Office. The admissions process and applicable fees in these cases is identical to that for all postgraduate applicants.

The International Student Office will guide you through the immigration regulations and routes open to visiting students. Initially, ISO will need to know:

  • The purpose of the visit;
  • The period of the visit;
  • The activities the student will undertake whilst in the UK;
  • The financial arrangements; and
  • The student's current study status.