Academic Visit

Academic Visit to UK

Academics visit the UK so as to undertake a variety of activities. Entry clearance applications from visiting academics should usually be made less than 1 of 4 categories: Academic Visitor, Sponsored Researcher, Visitor or Business Visitor.

The Academic visitor type is a concession outside the Immigration Rules allowing academics to visit the United Kingdom for 12 months to undertake certain academic activities. An individual seeking leave under this concession must be well qualified within their own field of expertise. They should, therefore, be able to produce proof that they have been working as an academic in an institution of higher education overseas, or in the field of their academic expertise, immediately prior to seeking entry clearance for entry in the category. Recent graduates, especially those who gained their degrees in the UK, would not normally qualify.

Postgraduate researchers entering the UK to study for an credited UK academic qualification (rather than for the purpose of academic research work that does not lead to a UK academic qualification) should enter as students if they meet the relevant requirements of the Immigration Rules. If they do not, then a work permit as a Sponsored Researcher is needed.

Eligibility Criteria

A person on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution who wants to make use of their leave to carry out research here (to do research for a book e.g.); or

  1. Academics (including doctors) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts; or
  2. Famous senior doctors and dentists coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.

Those who are on sabbatical leave from private research organizations are not eligible for leave under the academic visitor provisions.

Academic visitors must also:

  • Not receive financial support for their work from any UK source (payments of expenses or sensible honoraria may be unnoticed, as may payments on an exchange basis)
  • Be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey from the UK.
  • Not connect in any work other than the academic activity for which they are being admitted
  • Not stay in the UK for more than 12 months
  • Not intend to take job in the UK
  • Intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit
  • Be able to maintain themselves and any dependants without having recourse to public funds (or be sufficiently maintained and accommodated by relatives or friends)
  • Not be filling a normal post or a legitimate vacancy

There is no compulsory entry clearance requirement attached to this category, but all visa nationals and anyone coming to the United Kingdom for longer than six months will need to obtain entry clearance before traveling.

Candidates should be advised that 12 months is the maximum duration of stay under this concession. The Home Office will not grant extensions of stay beyond this.

Spouses / civil partners and dependants
Spouses / civil partners and dependant children intending to accompany or join an academic visitor may be granted entry clearance in line with the principal applicant, providing they meet the requirements for entry as a visitor. The requirement that a person must not intend to study at a maintained school may, however, be waived.

Switching into work-permit employment
A person who obtains leave to enter or remain as an academic visitor under these provisions is not permitted to switch into work permit employment.

A person who wishes to come to the United Kingdom solely to undertake a series of lectures for which they will receive a fee will normally require a work permit, for which the prospective employer in the United Kingdom will need to apply. Academics may, however, be eligible to enter as business visitors if they are coming to participate in a conference or seminar where it is a single or occasional event, and the event is not a commercial venture.

Visas issued in this category should be endorsed:

Sponsored researchers
A sponsored researcher is any person who wishes to come to the UK to lead or to take part in any formal research project. Formal research projects are those hosted but not necessarily funded by a UK research institution including universities, non-commercial research organisations, charitable organisations and national research councils (such as the Medical Research Council). The sponsored researcher fills a research post and works under the full or partial control of the institution, which will itself benefit from the research. Sponsored researchers can be funded from sources in the UK or overseas.
Sponsored researchers should enter the UK under the work permit scheme except as follows:

The visitor category may be appropriate for those academics who want to come to the UK simply to share knowledge or experience, or to hold informal discussions with their UK counterparts. The Visitor category may also be suitable for applicants who intend to conduct research for their own private purposes – such as to do research for a book – and are funded from a UK source (some fellowships exist to facilitate such research).

Business Visitor
The Business Visitor category may be appropriate for those academics who want to come to the UK for more formal discussions, or to speak at non-commercial conferences (where the conference is a “one-off”). This category may also be appropriate for those academics who want to come to the UK to observe techniques or practises used in the UK, provided that their activity is confined to observation, familiarisation or classroom instruction.

Click here for more information about Academic Visit Visa