Who needs a visa?
Visa requirements differ from person to person. Your specific needs will depend upon your location, education, employment status and any family obligations.
Understanding your immigration requirements is the first step to successfully applying for your visa.
If you are a national from a country in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you do not need a visa to come to the UK.
You can apply for a registration certificate to prove your right to live in the UK as an EU citizen but this is not compulsory.
If you are from outside the EEA you may need a visa, depending on where you come from and what you intend to do while you are in the UK.
If you are coming to the UK for
- as an entrepreneur
You will need to apply for a visa through the Entry points based system.
Further details are available on the UK Visas and Immigration website.
‘Family members’ in this context include your spouse or partner, your child under 18 or your child over 18 if they’re in the UK as a dependant.
It is very likely that your family will need to apply for a visa to enter the UK if any members are from outside the EEA or Switzerland. Conditions for application can change dependent on your and your family’s location.
If you and your family are from outside the EEA or Switzerland and have a work or student visa, your family must apply to join or remain with you. They may also need a visa.
If you are an EEA or Swiss national but members of your family are not, it’s likely that they will need a visa or EEA family permit to come to the UK. You may also be able to bring ‘extended’ family members (e.g. parents) who are not EEA or Swiss nationals with a family permit.
For further information and application details go to the UK Visas and Immigration website.
Members of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Irish Republic, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU) but citizens of these countries have the same rights to enter and live in the United Kingdom as EU citizens.
Switzerland is neither an EU nor an EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.
Do I need a visa for employment
If you plan to take up a job in the UK as a post-graduate or postdoctoral researcher, a lecturer, professor, or other senior-level researcher, you will need to apply for a Tier 2 (General) visa which lasts for up to 3 years, and which can be extended up to a maximum of a five years stay. Your UK employer will need to provide documentation and evidence that there is no suitable candidate already in the UK.
Do I need a visa as an entrepreneur?
If you are a researcher planning to develop a business in the UK you do not need an offer of employment but you will need to apply instead for a Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa or a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa, depending on your career stage and whether you are applying from within or from outside the UK.