Academic visitors

The majority of visitors to the UK for any period of time for academic and research purposes and who are not from the EEA (European Economic Area), require entry clearance.

If an overseas national requiring permission to work in the UK is visiting the University to take part in short-term activity (eg to give a lecture, as an external examiner, on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution to carry out research, taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts or participating in a selection panel) then one of the following immigration routes will usually apply:

Visa TypeDescriptionTemplate letters (for use by the hosting School)
Visitor undertaking Permitted Paid Engagement For paid work. Entitles the visa holder to stay for up to one monthand to be paid for their work/visit. More info on the UKVI website. Permitted Paid Engagement Template Letter (Office document, 28kB)
Academic Visitor For unpaid work. A sub-type of Standard Visitor visa. Entitles the visa holder to stay for up to one year for an unpaid visit/work of an academic nature. More info on the UKVI website. Academic Visitor Template Letter (Office document, 784kB)
Business Visitor For unpaid work. Entitles the visa holder (non-academic) to stay for up to 6 months to carry out unpaid activities related to their job. More info on the UKVI website.  Business Visitor Template Letter (Office document, 784kB)

Sponsored researchers who are visiting for a longer period of research activity would require a Tier 5 visa.

The School will need to provide a letter of invitation to the individual (templates are provided, see above).  The individual will then apply to the British Consulate in their own country for entry clearance to the UK prior to travelling. As this does not constitute employment there is no requirement for the position to be advertised.

Once entry clearance has been granted for an academic visitor, the host School may need to obtain University of Bristol honorary/visiting academic status for the individual via their Faculty Office.

The School in which the sponsored researcher will be working is responsible for checking right to work in the UK on the individual's arrival and also for undertaking the migrant tracking and monitoring responsibilities.  External examiners are not required to undergo right-to-work checks at the University, but may still need one of the above visa types to gain entry to the UK.