International Freshers

Tier 4 Visa

Please note that all students without EU or EEA citizenship must apply for a Tier 4 Visa to study here. Information about how and when to apply for this is available on the Cambridge International Students website.  Applying for a visa can be an expensive and time consuming process - as such, we would like for you to only have to go through the process once.  The International Students Team run a visa advice service, including free checks to ensure that you have everything you need to get your Tier 4 Visas, from meeting the medical requirement to meeting the financial requirement.

Please pay close attention to the Arrival checklist which the International Student Team have uploaded, to ensure you are prepared for your arrival in Cambridge and the UK.

Pre-arrival information

Please follow this link for practical guidance on coming to study in the UK and at Cambridge, including the International Student Guide.

International Students Union

This website from the CUSU (Cambridge University Student Union) has some great information for International Freshers.

The iCUSU have produced a guide for all new international students which will hopefully answer some of your queries about Cambridge:  iCUSU Freshers' Guide

The iCUSU will organise events before the beginning of term for all undergraduate and postgraduate freshers (click here for info of last year's timetable for an example). 

The International Student Team will be able to advise you on obtaining your visa (should you need one) before your arrival, and will organise events to help you meet other international students at the University.


From Tuesday 25th September to Friday 29th September, and Monday 2nd - Tuesday 3rd October, Biometric Residence Permits will be available to collect by appointment only.  Please read below for further info.

On these dates international students will also need to register with the Police.  Please read below for further info.


Orientation sessions (optional)

These will take place on Friday 29 September. This year there are separate ‘Feeling at Home in Cambridge’ sessions for undergrads and grads as well as a session on ‘Developing Academic English Language Skills’. Students should register online if they wish to attend.

Responsibilities under Tier 4 Guide
The ‘Responsibilities under Tier 4’ guide has been updated.  Please download this document and read through it carefully.

Collecting your BRP

This will be available at the University Centre from Tuesday 25 September – Friday 29 September, and Monday 2nd - Tuesday 3rd October, for those students who have selected collection from the University (and not the Post Office) on their visa application.   Appointments must be booked.  Please read the guidance carefully on the linked page.

Students will need to take their BRPs to College for scanning after collection. For courses starting earlier, IST will be attending inductions and uploading visas onto CamSIS (ADTIS, MBA, MFin and Economics preparatory course).

You must visit College reception to register and make a copy of your passport photo page and your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) by 14th October.  If you are unable to attend the College at the start of the term within this timeframe please contact us, in advance where possible, to explain the situation.  If you do not do this and your absence is not expected, there may be implications for your immigration status.

When registering, you are confirming that you are currently engaged with your studies as expected, and that you have informed the University of any changes in your immigration status, study circustances or contact details including UK residential address and telephone number.  Please check your CamSIS account and update your UK contact details as soon as possible.

Registering with the Police

This will be available in the University Centre on the same dates as BRP collections.  Appointments must be booked in advance.

UK mobile phones/SIM cards

There are many operators and plans available so you may wish to research them online before getting here. The main operators are EE, Three, Vodafone, O2 and Giffgaff.

Setting up a Bank Account

You cannot set a student bank account up remotely, nor can you set it up before you become a member of the College.  Therefore freshers' week is the time that you will likely be arranging appointments with your chosen bank to set up your student account.  You will need your passport and a letter from college (addressed to the bank) confirming your course and address details. The main banks with offices in Cambridge are Santander, Barclays, NatWest, HSBC and Lloyds TSB