Human Resources Division
Immigration rule changes
A number of important changes have been made to immigration rules with effect from 6 April 2013. These webpages are in the process of being updated but, in the meantime, a document summarising the changes is available for you to review:
An academic visitor is either:
- A person on leave from an overseas academic institution who wishes to come to the UK to make use of their leave to carry out their own private research or exchange information on research techniques. This may include some collaboration with staff at the host university or use of facilities.
- An academic (including doctors) taking part in an arranged exchange. For example, where a UK university is collaborating with an overseas university on research and exchange staff for some or all of the duration of the project (although any salary is paid by the academic's own overseas institution).
- An eminent senior doctor or dentist, (i.e. someone considered to be top of their field of expertise) coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.
Academic Visitors 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.
Who will not qualify as an Academic Visitor?
- Recent graduates, especially those who gained their degrees in the UK, would not normally qualify.
- Postgraduate researchers entering the UK to study for an accredited UK academic qualification (rather than for the purpose of academic research work) should enter as students (Tier 4) if they meet the relevant requirements of the Immigration Rules. If they do not meet the student rules then they will need to meet the requirements of Tier 2.
- Those who are on sabbatical leave from private research companies are not eligible for leave under the academic visitor provisions.
Is entry clearance mandatory for Academic visitors?
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. They do not have to apply in advance and can obtain a visa on entry to the UK as an Academic Visitor.
What is the process for gaining entry clearance for academic visitors?
The clearance process is detailed as part of the business visitor route and academic visitors are not subject to the rules of the points based immigration system.
What is the maximum stay in the UK for an Academic visitor?
Entry clearance will normally be issued for the maximum permitted stay in this category of 12 months and the Home Office will not grant extensions of stay beyond this.
Do spouses/civil partners and dependants of Academic Visitors require entry clearance?
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 general visitor/child visitor requirements.
Are dependants of Academic Visitors eligible for Schooling?
The requirement that a visitor must not intend to study at a maintained school may be waived in respect of a dependant of a person who has entered the UK for the purpose of an Academic Visit, regardless of the period of leave for which they are admitted.
Can academic visitors switch into Points Based System (PBS) employment, whilst in the UK?
No. A person who obtains leave to enter or remain as an academic visitor under these provisions is not permitted to switch into PBS employment. However, on leaving the UK they would be able to apply as an applicant under the appropriate route for example Tier 2 or Tier 5.
Please note: A visiting academic may wish to consider applying for entry to the UK under Tier 5 of the points-based system if they are either a:
- Sponsored researcher
- Visiting academic who will give lectures, act as an examiner, or work on a supernumerary research collaboration
and they intend to stay in the UK for more than 12 months.