International students

St Catharine's is a vibrant and cosmopolitan community including over 100 international students from more than 40 different countries. The College works closely with the University's International Student Office (ISO) to support our overseas students and the International Students website offers comprehensive advice to students before, during and after applying to Cambridge.

St Catharine's is a welcoming and supportive environment for a diverse group of students, many of whom come from outside the UK. International students are enthusiastically welcomed into the College community, and you will also find that across the University there are clubs and societies run by and for students of particular ethnicities and countries of origin.

St Catharine's certainly welcomes applications from candidates from outside the UK. There are no limits on numbers (maximum or minimum) of such applicants we can admit, so you would be assessed equitably alongside all other applicants. 

Guidance for postgraduate applicants

We are used to assessing applicants whose previous academic experience has been in schools and universities all across the globe. If you are unclear about what academic qualifications we accept, you should view the University’s Postgraduate Admissions Office website for advice. 

English language requirements for postgraduate applicants

It is possible that during the admissions process, the department/faculty to which you have applied will decide that an additional qualification in English is required (reading, writing, speaking, listening). St Catharine’s will not set any language requirement in addition to this.

Settling into life in Cambridge

The International Student Office has produced a guide for all international students coming to study at Cambridge. It contains wealth of practical advice about living and studying in the UK and at Cambridge as is essential reading. It is available here.

Welcome to Cambridge events

Welcome to Cambridge events take place around the world and allow incoming undergraduates, mature students and graduate students to:

  • meet other newcomers, current students and alumni
  • gather advice on living and studying in Cambridge
  • benefit from some useful tips from others from their area/country
  • make some new friends before they arrive in Cambridge.

Hosted by Cambridge alumni groups, these events are a great opportunity to prepare yourself for university.

Visit to find your nearest event. New events are still being registered, so the timetable will grow over the next few weeks.

Orientation Information

A pre-arrival and orientation guide has been produced for students who are coming to study at Cambridge from outside the UK. It provides practical guidance on coming to live and study in Cambridge from an international student perspective and information on some of the University’s central support services. Its intention is to complement other sources of guidance you are likely to receive as part of your induction from your College and other bodies such as the Cambridge University Students’ Union

Essential arrival information for International Students

Responsibilities under Student Visa Guide

If you are being sponsored to study full-time at Cambridge on a student visa, it is important you read our guide, Your responsibilities on a student visa.These apply if you are studying on a Tier 4 student visa or a visa granted under the student route after 5 October 2020. Part-time students on a student visa should read the Tier 4 responsibilities guide for part-time students.

Prior to arrival 

  • Check your immigration document and contact the International Student Office if you think it contains any errors.
  • Keep your passport safe. Take copies of your passport and other paperwork before travelling and keep secure in a different place to your passport.
  • Inform your College if your arrival in Cambridge will be delayed.
  • Ensure you travel to the UK within the validity of your student visa to activate your immigration permission as a student.
  • Check the information on the Government website about entering the UK.

On arrival

The UK Border Force has produced a '10 Top Tips' information leaflet providing guidance on getting through the UK border controls as efficiently as possible.

Nationals of the following countries may be able to use the eGates on arrival in the UK if they are open: EEA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and the USA. As long as you enter the UK through the eGates on or after the start date of your student vias, you will be admitted on your student visa. As your passport will not be stamped by a Border Force officer, you will be required to provide your College with evidence of your date of entry (e.g boarding pass) in addition evidence of your student visa. Students of all other nationalities should have their entry vignette stamped by Border Force on arrival. 

On arrival in Cambridge

  • Collect your BRP if you have been issued an entry vignette in your passport.
  • Provide your passport and immigration documents to your College Tutorial Office. They will send you instructions on how to do this.
  • Ensure your UK contact details are up to date on your record in your self-service.
  • Register with the police if required.

When your entry clearance student visa has been granted, you will be issued a time-limited entry vignette in your passport which will enable you to travel to the UK. You must arrive in the UK within the validity of the entry vignette to enter on your student visa.

Your actual visa, in the form of a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), will need to be collected on arrival in the UK. Your BRP is the documentary evidence of your UK immigration permission.

You will need to collect your BRP either from your College or the Post Office as outlined below. The decision letter you will receive with the outcome of your visa application will confirm the collection point. Your decision letter will advise you need to collect your BRP within 10 days of arrival OR by the expiry of your entry vignette, whichever is later. If you are required to quarantine after arrival to the UK, you should not collect your BRP until after the required quarantine period. If you apply for your student visa with an EEA or Swiss passport and use the app for the application process, your status will be issued digitally and you will not need to collect a BRP after arrival in the UK.

Collecting your BRP at your College

As a University of Cambridge student you will be able to collect your BRP from your College but in order to do this, you must enter a particular code, called an ACL code, in the relevant section of your visa application form. New students starting their studies in Michaelmas Term 2021 will be provided with the ACL code in an email from the International Student Office following the issuance of your CAS. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) advises students to use the University as the collection point for their BRP.

If you use the ACL code in your application, you will be able to collect your BRP from early October. It is not possible to collect it earlier than this. Your College will contact you directly to make arrangements for you to collect your BRP once available. You should not require your BRP for activities such as registering with the doctor, opening a bank account with most banks, registering with the police where required, or renting accommodation.

As the MBA, MFin and PGCE programmes have an earlier start date, students are advised to collect their BRP from the Post Office. 

Staff and academic visitors will need to collect their BRP at the Post Office.

Collect your BRP at the Post Office

If you do not use the ACL code and instead enter your accommodation postcode in Cambridge or the University’s postcode (CB2 1TN), you will be instructed to collect your BRP from the Post Office in Cambridge, 57 – 58 St Andrew’s Street. You are advised to collect your BRP from the Post Office as soon as possible after arrival in the UK. However, if you are required to quarantine after arrival to the UK, you should not collect your BRP until after this period.

Planning your travel and ensuring you enter the UK on your student visa

Before arranging your travel, you must check the dates on your entry vignette and ensure you will not arrive in the UK before or after the validity period.

You cannot:
• enter on your student immigration permission before the ‘valid from’ date on your entry vignette, or
• enter the UK as a standard visitor (tourist) before the start of your entry vignette and then ‘switch’ inside the UK to your student visa even if the entry vignette is already in your passport.
If you enter the UK as a visitor, you will not be able to start your course. You will need to leave the UK and re-enter to activate your immigration permission as a student and take into consideration any quarantine requirements upon re-entering the UK.

Decision letter

You will receive a decision letter following a successful visa application which will outline the conditions of your immigration leave. The letter will also confirm the collection point for your BRP. 

Police Registration

  • Some students need to register with the police after arriving in the UK depending on their nationality and a booking system is available on the ISO website:
  • Appointments will take place at the Police Station. Students should book an appointment after arriving in the UK, selecting a time for when they will have completed the 10 day quarantine period if required. As long as they book an appointment, they do not need to worry about the timeframe to register. 

The following passport holders are required to register with the police after they collect their BRP in the UK and also update their details as required:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, Hong Kong SAR, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Palestine, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Stateless or travelling on a non-national document (i.e. Travel Document).

When you register with the police, you will be issued a police registration certificate. It is important you keep this document in a safe place. You do not need to carry it around with you in Cambridge. 

Police registration is undertaken in Cambridge at Parkside Police Station (postcode CB1 1JG). 

For further information on Police Registration, please use this link ISO - Police Registration Information

Previously studied in the UK but new to Cambridge

If you have previously studied in the UK but are new to Cambridge, you will need to update the police with your new details at the Police Station within 7 days of arriving. The reception is normally open Monday to Friday, 09.15 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00 (not including bank holidays). If you have arrived from overseas and are required to self-isolate, you should only attend the Police Station after you have completed any required period of quarantine and you are not showing any COVID-19 symptoms. You do not need to make an appointment. You need to take your passport, Certificate of Registration, your decision letter and BRP. 

During your studies

Once you have registered you will need to inform the police of the following changes in your circumstances within 7 days: change of address, change place of study, if you renew your passport, you are issued a new BRP or vignette in your passport, marital status or if any other details on your Police Registration Certificate change. Take your passport, Certificate of Registration and BRP to the Police Station. An appointment is not necessary for this but police registration certificates can only be updated when the reception is open, normally Monday to Friday, 9:15-12:00 and 14:00-16:00 (not including bank holidays). 

If you lose your Certificate of Registration or it has been damaged, you should email the Police Station at for an appointment for a replacement registration document. Please include in your email your residential address, name of the Department/Faculty you are studying with, a photo or scan of your UK entry vignette and the front of your BRP card.

Contact details

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