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Prior to Arrival

The following section gives information on the preparations that visitors will need to undertake prior to arrival in the Department.  Whilst much of this is self-explanatory, this section highlights areas in which the Department can help visitors in their preparations, as well as those that it requires visitors to fulfil before they arrive.

How to apply

In the first instance find an academic in the department of Land Economy who has similar research interests and would like to support you in your work whilst you are in Cambridge. You can find the staff list here.

Send them your CV and research interests.  If they say they would like you to come as a visiting scholar send the following to this address, or complete the online form

  1. a copy of your CV and research interests
  2. the dates you would like to visit
  3. facilities you would like whilst here (see below for the different bench fee rates)
  4. Your title Prof/Dr/Ms/Mr/Mrs/Miss and full name
  5. your full postal address
  6. The name of the academic who will support your work

The final decision will be made by the Head of Department and if your request is successful you will be sent a letter of invitation.  You will be responsible for arranging the appropriate visa to enter the county.

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Letter of invitation

A letter of invitation is issued by the Head of Department to all Visiting Scholars. The letter of invitation will be forwarded by email and by post, and a copy will be sent to  the visitor’s supervisor/contact within the Department as appropriate.

The letter of invitation is used by the Department as a record of:

  1. The dates and duration of the visitor’s stay in the Department.
  2. The monthly ‘bench fee’ that the visitor is expected to pay.
  3. Whether the visitor will be provided with a personal desk space.
  4. The other facilities that the Department offers to visitors.

It is important that upon receipt of the letter of invitation visitors check these details to ensure  that they are happy with them.  Questions regarding any element of the  invitation letter and the facilities available to visitors should be addressed prior to arrival in the Department. Confirmation that visitors are able to meet the cost of the bench fee  stipulated in the letter of invitation is required.  Details of this are given below.

The letter may require signing by the recipient and their Dean, Academic Supervisor or Manager, it will need to be returned before the visitor can be accepted.

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The ‘bench fee’

The purpose of the ‘bench fee’ is to cover overheads  incurred by the Department as a result of activities carried out by visitors  during their stay and to help improve the facilities that we can offer.  The Department’s standard ‘bench fees’ are  listed below. 


£250 inc vat (with shared office and Wi-Fi)

£230 inc vat (with shared office)

or £200 inc vat (without office)


£300 plus vat (totalling £360 per month) (with shared office and Wi-Fi)

£280 plus vat (totalling £336 per month)(with shared office)

or £250 plus vat (totalling £300 per month)(without office)

All ‘bench fees’ entitle visitors to:

  • access to communal computing facilities in the Department (Managed Cluster Service MCS);
  • £50.00 print credit from the Department’s networked printers;
  • access to the Land Economy Library;
  • access to other cognate and collage Libraries including the University Library;
  • access to Departmental seminars and lectures;
  • access to seminars run by other University Departments.

Not included in the ‘bench fee’ are:

  • costs incurred on any other consumables;
  • travel or other expenses incurred during activities run by the Department/University;

Confirmation of fees

It is important that visitors make themselves fully aware of  the costs involved in living in Cambridge and in doing so, that they ensure  they have enough funds to cover the period of their stay. The Department requires confirmation prior to arrival, either in  writing or by email, that visitors are able to meet the cost of the ‘bench fee’.


Ideally, visitors are requested to pay the bench fee in full  and in advance of arrival.  However, we  understand that due to the nature of sponsorship and the way funds are released  that it is not always possible for visitors to pay the full amount in one  go.  In these circumstances payments may  be broken down into instalments in line with the programme of sponsored funds.  Visitors  who find it necessary to pay the bench fee in instalments should make this known to the Department.  

Once arrangements for payment have been agreed visitors will  be invoiced accordingly.  In some instances it may be more appropriate for the Department to invoice a visitors  funding body or institution directly, and visitors should inform the Department if this is the case.

In all cases arrangements for payment of the bench fee should be finalised, as far as possible, prior to arrival  in the Department.

How to pay

The preferred method of payment is by cheque.  Cheques should be made payable to ‘University  of Cambridge’ and forwarded to:

Mrs Laura Cave  


Department of Land Economy

University of Cambridge

19 Silver Street

Cambridge CB3 9EP

United Kingdom

However, where necessary it is possible to pay the fees by  transfer.  If payment is to be made by transfer visitors should ensure that all  bank charges are covered and that the full bench fee is received by the  Department. The appropriate account details for making a bank transfer will  be provided upon request.

Please note that  payment may NOT be made in cash.

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Visas and British Residence Permits

We recommend that where appropriate visitors contact their ‘local’  British Embassy as soon as possible after acceptance to the Department to  ensure that they have time to complete any necessary visa or work permit applications.

Visiting scholars are required to make sure they have an  appropriate visa to enter the country. The Department is not involved in this  process.

Visiting students are required to make sure they have an  appropriate visa. If they require a Tier 4 visa as their sponsor the University  will need to provide them with a CAS number. This can be done by contacting the Land Economy Visitor Administrator or the academic host. Information on the  requirements for a Tier 4 visa can be found here:

When your visa application is successful, you will be issued a 30 day entry permit in your passport which will enable you to enter the UK. 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.

Further information for visa’s for Visiting Students can be found here:

It is important you read this information carefully. The  Department is not responsible for the application of your visa.         Students  with enquiries about their visas should follow the procedure below:

  1. Consult the information, forms and procedures provided on our website and the website of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA). The answers to most queries – particularly those relating to extending your visa and other standard procedures – can be found here.
  2. If you cannot find an answer to your query make your enquiry using our Online Visa Advice Enquiry Form: Online Visa Advice Enquiry Form

You will then be contacted by the International Student Team. The team would expect to answer within 7 days. However, at times they receive a high volume of queries and are not able to respond within that time. Please note that currently they are not offering a drop-in service for visa enquiries. Thank you for your understanding. In certain circumstances, they will refer you to  UKCISA or recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

  1. If you are requesting a CAS or a correction to your CAS statement, please send an email to the general mailbox after you have read the information on their website.
  2. If your query relates to Tier 2 or Tier 5 please contact the Human Resources Compliance Team at

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The Department does  not supply or take responsibility for finding accommodation for visitors  and where possible, we strongly urge that they make arrangements prior to  arrival in the UK.  The University has its own accommodation service who hold a list of available properties and who can give advice on current rents. Visit:

The type and standard of accommodation available in Cambridge is varied and it is important that visitors take into consideration all the costs involved.

Please note that visiting students are not exempt from UK Council Tax.

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Notification of Arrival

When visitors have finalised their travel arrangements it is  requested that they let the Department know the date of their intended arrival in  Cambridge.  This enables us to have the  correct paperwork ready for when they first arrive.

Visiting students with a Tier 4 visa need to adhere to the requirements set out by the UK Border Agency. They will need to provide a copy of their passport photo, visa pages and British Residence Permit (BRP) to the Visitor Administrator. They must visit the office within 7 days of arrival. If this is not done the University must report their non-arrival to the UK Border Agency. If the student knows they are unable to arrive within 7 days of the agreed date, they must inform the office of their new arrival date. During their stay at the Department they must sign in to the office at the beginning of each term of their stay. These dates will be agreed with the office on their arrival at the Department. If the student fails to make these appointments and does not ask beforehand for them to be rescheduled, the University is obliged to inform the UK Border Agency. This could affect their stay in the UK. 

Visitors should note that the main activities of the  Department and the University are limited to three, eight week terms:

Michaelmas Term: October to Mid-December Lent Term: Mid-January to Mid-March Easter Term: End-April to Mid-June.

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English Language

Please note that there are specific University requirements for English language training. Visitors are expected to be able to communicate to such a level that they are able to integrate into the Department and make effective use of their time here. Visiting students also need to check the specific language requirements as detailed in their visa application. 

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