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There is a lot of support available to help your move to Cambridge go as smoothly as possible.

The following sections provide details of some of the most important aspects of moving to Cambridge – especially where there is particular assistance for postdocs.

Have a look at the Life in Cambridge section of the Accommodation Service website for further information to help you settle into the city.


Visas and Immigration

Your department should instruct you as to what you need to do to obtain the right to work in the UK.

The University has an Immigration Compliance Team within the HR department. They can assist you with immigration applications, including applications for spouses, partners and families – contact them on

More information is available on the HR website.

We hold regular briefings for postdocs with visa experts from the Compliance Team which provide information on different types of visas and how to switch or extend these to remain in the UK - check the Postdoc Calendar for upcoming briefings.


Rental accommodation

The University of Cambridge has a dedicated Accommodation Service to help you find both short- and long-term accommodation in Cambridge.

Visit their website to find out how they can assist you in finding accommodation.

They provide listings of both temporary accommodation for short visits to Cambridge, and long-term homes to rent. This includes houses and flats, as well as rooms in Colleges and shared houses.


Subsidised homes for staff

Postdocs employed by the University, Colleges, and partner institutes can apply to rent key worker apartments at Eddington with subsidised rents.

Priority on the waiting list will be given to new members of staff, particularly those coming from overseas.

You can find information about these homes, eligibilty criteria, and how to apply to rent them on the Accommodation Service website.


You can find out more about how the healthcare system in England works on the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website – including what is available via the National Health Service (NHS) and information about private healthcare.


Registering with a doctor

As soon as you arrive in the UK and find accommodation, it is important to register with a doctor in the area where you live.

In the UK, doctors are often referred to as ‘GPs’, which stands for General Practitioner, so expect to hear both terms used. You can find a local GP here.

You can also look up your nearest pharmacy, dentist, or urgent care service on the NHS website.


Emergency medical care

If you require emergency medical assistance and are unable to travel to the hospital, dial 999 from any phone and ask for the ambulance service.

If you need urgent treatment and can travel there yourself, go to the nearest hospital’s Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.

You should only go to the A&E department for serious injuries or conditions which require urgent medical attention.


NHS 111

If you have an urgent medical problem and aren't sure what to do, or which service to seek help from, contact NHS 111.

You can do this via the NHS 111 website, or by phoning 111 from any phone.

Schools and Childcare


Admission to state primary and secondary schools is governed by Cambridgeshire County Council. Their guidance regarding admissions sets out the procedures that you need to follow to obtain a school place for your child.

You can find more information about types of schools in the UK here.


Nurseries and Childcare

The University's Career Support Fund provides funds to support professional development for those returning to work after a career break or period of leave for caring responsibilities.

The Childcare Office oversees the University's three day nurseries: at Edwinstowe Close, West Cambridge and Eddington, for children from three months to school age.

They also run a holiday playscheme for school-age children, and provide a range of information and support around childcare and parental leave.

You can search for registered providers and find information about different types of childcare on the Cambridgeshire County Council website.


Children’s centres and activities

Child and family centres provide health and family support services, and information for families with children up to 5 years old. 

Libraries have a wide range of children's books, activities and services – they can also be a good source of information for what activities are happening locally.

Newcomers and Visiting Scholars run a programme of child-friendly events and activities.

Support for Partners and Families

Newcomers and Visiting Scholars (NVS)

NVS is a volunteer group that welcomes all those who are new to the University, as well as their families.

While postdocs are settling into their new working life, supported by colleagues, NVS is here to help their partners and families.

NVS organises social meetings every Tuesday morning, which include English Language Conversation, coffee and a children's play area, and a weekly talk on a range of topics.

They also organise activity groups which all members are welcome to join.

Find out more about the group and their programme of activities


Finding work in the University

If your partner has permission to work in the UK, they can register with the University’s Temporary Employment Service (TES). TES provides temporary work opportunities throughout the University and its Colleges.

These are typically short-term cover for staff absences or temporary additional work, and can be in the areas of secretarial, administrative and library work, IT, finance, event planning, catering, cleaning and general maintenance.


Volunteering in the University

The University of Cambridge hosts a wide range of volunteering opportunities, including:

Staff Benefits

Employees of the University have access to a substantial list of benefits.

These include childcare and family leave, a cycle to work scheme and transport discounts, and shopping discounts.

Make sure you register for the SmartHub, the employee benefits portal, to see your benefits and access discounts.