Can International Students be Sabbatical Officers? Yes!


The Lent elections are a great opportunity for students to put themselves forward to represent and work on behalf of Cambridge University students. We’ve recently heard some students ask, can international students run to be a full-time Sabbatical Officers, and the answer is short is, yes! We’ve compiled a list of of frequently asked questions that comes up duing the elections period. 

I am an international student on the Student (previously known as Tier 4) visa, can I become a sabbatical officer?

  • Yes, we encourage international students to become sabbatical officers. You are eligible to become a sabbatical officer under the Student/Tier 4 visa if you take a break from your studies to undertake this position. You can also become a sabbatical officer as a new graduate in the academic year immediately following the completion of your studies at the University. The SU can provide financial and practical support with this. 

What visa status do sabbatical officers have?

  • If you were a student studying on a Student/Tier 4 visa, you will be working under that visa. The University of Cambridge will be your sponsor. Your employer will be Cambridge Students’ Union.

Can I study full time and become a sabbatical officer?

  • No, the sabbatical officer role is full-time employment. Therefore, you will be required to work for 35 hours a week for the Cambridge Student Union. Your visa will allow you to work a further 25 hours per week in addition to the 35 hours a week of full-time work. We would advise you to disclose your 25 additional hours of engagement to Cambridge SU prior to undertaking it.

I currently have a Student/Tier 4 visa, do I need to apply for a new one to start working as a sabbatical officer?

  • You can start work as a sabbatical officer on your existing visa if it is valid. If your visa expires before the completion of your term as a sabbatical officer, you will be required to apply for an extension to your visa.

Who will bear the cost of my visa application to work as a sabbatical officer?

  • Cambridge SU will cover all the cost of your Tier 4 visa application, including the NHS surcharge. Your visa application requires you to show requisite funds maintained in your bank account for 28 consecutive days. The SU will arrange for these funds to be available to you should you require it.


We hope this has been helpful. If you require any additional information or want to talk to someone more about what’s involved with being a Sabbatical Officer, please don’t hesitate to get in contact at



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