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Academic Visitors from outside the European Economic Area (EEA)

A person entering the UK with a general tourist visa is not allowed to act as an Academic Visitor. Please ensure you are quite clear about which route your visitor should use to enter the UK.

The Academic Visitor should take the letter of invitation to the British Embassy, or equivalent, for any Visa or entry clearance requirements. Please allow time for this process. The letter of invitation and entry clearance should be brought through Immigration Control on arrival to the United Kingdom. Normal University document checks must be applied when the visitor arrives to check they have the correct immigration stamp.

Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE)

There is a new Business Visitor route that allows certain Pemitted Paid Engagements for visit periods of no more than 1 month. To see if your visitor meets this criteria please see the following link:  UKVI PPE Visitor Guidance(from page 39) Only you will know if your visitor meets this criteria, if you have any concerns please contact your HR Partner for guidance.

Please use the PPE Visitor letter when inviting individuals.

If you use this route please ensure that your visitor has obtained the correct stamp in their passport:  D: VISIT: PPE: Code 4;  this applies to both visa and non-visa nationals. If they do not have this stamp they are not allowed to do paid work.

Visitor Visa (for Academics)

The immigration rules for visitors from the UKVI includes guidance for academic visitors. It allows highly-qualified academics (PhD level minimum) from non-EEA countries to visit the UK for a maximum of 12 months to undertake certain activities. Please see the UKVI Visitor rules August 2015 to ascertain if this is the correct route for your visitor. The invitation letter should be used to confirm the Academic visitor immigration requirements for this type of visit.

The Academic Visitor should be able to produce evidence 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 or entry clearance for entry in the category. Please contact your Management Accountant to confirm the requirements for subsistence payments to non-employees.

An Academic Visitor must be:

  • Highly qualified within their own field of expertise;
  • currently working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas;

Academics may:

  • take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);
  • carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution.

In addition they must:

  • Not receive funding for their work from any United Kingdom source (payments of expenses, including travel or honoraria to cover their needs whilst in the UK may be disregarded, as may payments on an exchange basis). 
  • Not intend to take employment or engage in any work other than the academic activity for which they are being admitted.
  • Not be filling a normal post or a genuine vacancy
  • Not stay in the UK for more than 12 months
  • 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 adequately maintained and accommodated by relatives or friends)
  • Be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey from the UK

If the Academic Visitor wishes to submit expenses claims, the Academic Visitor Request Form must be completed and forwarded to Management Accounts in Finance.

Those who are unlikely to qualify

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

Recent graduates: Graduates, who have recently gained their degrees, either in the United Kingdom or overseas, would not normally qualify as it is unlikely they would have reached the level of expertise within their field that is expected of someone seeking entry under this category.

Postgraduate researchers entering the United Kingdom to study for an accredited United Kingdom 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 meet the student rules but they are a named researcher undertaking research for which a grant has been made to a University or Research Institution for instance then they will need to meet the requirements of Tier 2 of the Points
Based System. 

Lecturers: 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 be required to seek entry under Tier 2 of the (Points Based System).  Academics may, however, be eligible to enter as a mainstream business visitor for a maximum of 6 months if they are coming to participate in a conference or seminar where it is a single or occasional event.

Business Visitor Visa: Some academics may be eligible to enter as a mainstream business visitor (rather than as an Academic Visitor) for a maximum of 6 months, or under the permitted paid engagement route if the visit is for a maximum of 1 month.

Sponsored Researcher: If your Academic Visitor is receiving research funding they should enter the UK under the Tier 5 - Government Authorised Exchange of the Points-Based System.

Entry Clearance:  Entry clearance is mandatory in this category for those seeking more than six months leave to enter.  However, it is not mandatory for non-visa nationals seeking leave to enter for six months or less.

Entry clearance should be endorsed:  D: ACADEMIC VISITOR: LTE UP TO 12 MONTHS - CODE 3.


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