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This section provides information on the preparations that Visiting Scholars will need to make before their "arrival" in the Department. 

Please also see the Visiting Scholar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document at the bottom of this page

Whilst much of this is self-explanatory, this section highlights areas in which the Department can help visitors in their preparations, and those responsibilities that visitors MUST fulfil themselves before they start their visit.

Due to ongoing non-Covid related health and safety issues within our department, our building remains only partially open to visitors, and this may still be the case at the time of your visit.  There are no individual offices available for Visiting Scholars, however, visiting scholars do have access to some shared workspace and use of the PhD Common Room.  If you wish to use these facilities during your visit, you will be issued with a University ID card and pay a higher bench fee (see below).

During your visit, we will be able to provide you with access to the University’s excellent online facilities, including both our LE Library, other important specialist collections in other faculties, and of course the huge University library itself.  We will be pleased for you to participate in any seminars and other activities in the LE Department and across the wider University (virtually or face to face, depending on restrictions) that may be of interest to you while you are here.

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.

Academic Researcher:

£300 plus vat (totalling £360 per month) with shared office and Wi-Fi (Option not currently available)

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

PhD Student:

£250 per month with shared office space and Wi-Fi (Option not currently available)

or £200 per month without office space

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 (when the department is open)
  • access to the Land Economy Collection at the Seeley Historical 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
  • accommodation costs, 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 contact Laura Cave in Accounts for prior agreement at

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.

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.

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

Please note that  payment may NOT be made in cash.

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

Post to:  Mrs Laura Cave, Accounts, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, 19 Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EP, United Kingdom

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Visas and British Residence Permits

Overseas Visiting Scholars MUST have the correct visa to enter the UK

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 adequate time to complete any necessary visa or work permit applications.

Academic Researcher

A visiting researcher should be eligible to apply for either a Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange (T5) visa or a Standard Visitor visa (academic visitor category) to enter the UK, depending on the nature of their visit.

Ordinarily for a GAE (T5) visa, the research would be carried out under the direction of a Cambridge Supervisor.  Also the individual must be in receipt of at least the UK National Minimum Wage for the period they are in Cambridge (if here in-person).  This funding can come from any source other than personal/family savings

To apply for a Tier 5 GAE visa, visiting researchers MUST first be issued with a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) by the University's Visas and Immigration Compliance Team.

Full details about the Tier 5 visa and the application process for requesting a CoS can be found on the University's Visas and Immigration Tier 5 GAE webpage

To be eligible to come to the UK as an academic visitor, via the Standard Visitor visa route, the individual would need to be highly qualified in their field of expertise and working in that field of expertise in an overseas institution. Also, the research would ordinarily be classed as their own private research which would be directed by themselves and not by a supervisor at Cambridge.

They would not be permitted to receive any funds from a UK source (except for reasonable expenses).

Details about the Standard Visitor visa can be found

PhD Student

Those wishing to visit for less than six-months may be able do so on a standard passport accompanied by a visa letter from the hosting department.  Applicants will need their check their eligibilty with the Visiting Scholar Coordinator before applying.

Postgraduate students wishing to visit for six-months or more are eligible to enter the UK on a Student visa

To apply for a Student visa from the UK Government, visiting students MUST first be issued with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) by the University's International Student Office (ISO).  Full details about the student visa and CAS application process can be found on the University's International Student Office webpage

Full details and the application form for a student visa can be found on the UK.GOV website

All Visiting Scholars

It is important you read the necessary visa information carefully. The Department of Land Economy is NOT responsible for the application/issue of your visa.     

Further visa and immigration information can also be found on these websites:

University of Cambridge Visas and Immigration

UK Government Visas and Immigration

English Language Proficiency

There are specific University requirements for English language proficiency.  Visiting Scholars (especially PhD Students) are expected to be able to communicate so they can integrate into the Land Economy Department at postgraduate research level and make effective use of their time here.

Academic Researchers are not required to provide copies of English Language proficiency (e.g. TOFEL/IELTS certification) unless you wish to do so.  Alternatively, you should prove you have the necessary English Language proficiency to conduct your visit and research in the UK, when you seek support from your Land Economy supervisor at the initial application stage.

Occasionally, we might request a reference from your home institution supervisor/line manager to confirm your language ability is sufficient for you to successfully complete your visit.

PhD students visiting for six-months or longer (via the CAS student visa route) MUST provide English Language proficiency as part of their CAS application.  Students visiting on a short-term visitor visa are not required to provide language proficiency.

You should have an overall IELTS score of 7.0 or above and achieve 7.0 in each of the four individual parts of the test:  Listening, reading, writing and speaking.  For TOEFL, an average score is around 90.  It may vary from 85 to 95, and anything above 100 is considered a good score.

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If you do not meet the minimum scores required, the ISO will refer you to the University’s Language Assessment Centre to sit an additional test.  You must cover the charge for the assessment (£90) yourself, it’s not paid for by the Land Economy department.  The Assessment Centre will then confirm to the ISO and LE Visiting Scholar Coordinator if you have passed the assessment or not.  If not, they may recommend that you enrol on their ADTIS course during your visit.

Full details about the University’s Competence in English requirements can be found here:



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The Department of Land Economy does NOT supply or take responsibility for finding accommodation for Visiting Scholars 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.


Other accommodation information can be found on the following websites:

The type and standard of accommodation available in Cambridge is varied and can be expensive so it's important that visitors take into consideration all the costs involved of living in the UK.

Please note that visiting scholars (both academics and students) are NOT exempt from UK Council Tax.

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