Standard Visitor visa
If you are a researcher who is visiting the UK for less than one month to do a fee-paid activity and you do not want to apply under the points-based system, you can apply for a permitted paid engagement visa.
You will need a formal letter of invitation from your host institution.
If you are a researcher or professor planning to visit the UK for activities other than experimental research you may be eligible to enter as either a business visitor or an academic visitor depending on your planned activity.
This type of visa is not suitable for research work. A researcher can apply to enter the UK as a business visitor for up to 6 months to do any of the following:
- Attend meetings
- Interviews and conferences
- Arrange, negotiate and sign contracts
- Undertake fact-finding missions
- Conduct site visits
If you are taking a sabbatical from an academic institution outside the UK then you may be eligible to apply as an academic visitor. This visa lasts for up to 12 months and is for private research (such as for a book) or to take part in a formal exchange, share knowledge and experiences, attend meetings and conferences. To apply as an academic visitor you do not require a Certificate of Sponsorship but you must have:
- A letter of invitation from your host institution
- Formal confirmation of funding to cover your expenses while in the UK. Funding can be from either a UK an overseas source.
Academic visitors must not: accept payment other than for expenses, engage in any other activity other than that for which the visa is granted or fill a normal job, post or vacancy in the UK.
This visa does not apply if you are planning to do experimental work, including learning new techniques, or taking part in a formal research project or collaboration.
If you are a researcher on sabbatical from a private company in a non-EEA country then you must apply for a visa through the points based system.
Longer term or paid visits
If you intend to come to the UK for longer than 12 months, or will be paid for more than one month, or will take part in a research project or collaboration, then you will need to get a visa through the points based system (Tiers 1 to 5).
More information about the Standard Visitor visa is vailable on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) webpage.