Academic Visitors are a sub-group of the Standard Visitor category. To qualify as an Academic Visitor, the applicant must be able to produce evidence that they are highly qualified in their own field of expertise and are currently working in that field at an academic or higher education institution overseas.
Recent graduates who are not yet employed or who have only recently taken up an academic or research role, people on sabbatical leave from private research companies, named researchers on grants, those being paid to give a/ series of lecture(s) and sponsored researchers do not qualify as Academic Visitors and should find an alternative immigration route.
Who can come to the University as an Academic Visitor?
Only those employed by academic or higher education institutions overseas in teaching or research roles are eligible to apply to come to the UK under the Academic Visitor sub-category of the Standard Visitor visa route. Research staff should therefore be eligible under this route but research students would not.
Visitors would fall under the Academic Visitor sub-category of the Standard Visitor visa route if they are:
carry out private research whilst being on leave from their overseas academic institution (e.g. research for a book, for example)
share knowledge or experience or to hold informal discussions with UK counterparts (but not conducting research on University hosted projects)
take part in a conference or seminar that is not a commercial or non-profit venture
where the visitor is an eminent senior doctors or dentists, (i.e. those considered to be top of their field of expertise) coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice
take part in arranged exchanges e.g. where the University of Oxford is involved in a formal exchange with an overseas university where researchers and other personnel are spending time at each other's institution for some or all of the duration of a project (this is very rarely applicable)
Any salary should continue to be paid by the academic's own overseas institution.
Academics coming to the University to collaborate with University staff on University-hosted research projects are likely to be classed as sponsored researchers, could not apply as an Academic Visitor, and would require need to apply for a Tier 5 visa instead.
Applicants under the Academic Visitor route must be employed by an academic institution outside the UK. Applicants who are retired are not eligible under either the Academic or Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) route.
How long can an Academic Visitor and their dependants spend in the UK?
While a Standard Visitor visa is issued for a maximum of 6 months an Academic Visitor can apply for a visa for up to 12 months.
Dependant spouse/partners and children of Academic Visitors can obtain Standard Visitor visas to accompany them in the UK for up to 6 or 12 months in line with the Academic Visitor’s visa.
Where dependent children of Academic Visitors are coming to the UK for 12 months the restriction that they must not intend to study at a state-funded school does not apply.
What can an Academic Visitor (up to 12 month visa) do while in the UK?
An Academic Visitor can undertake other activities under their Standard Visitor visa in addition to the activities which form the main purpose of their visit. See Visitors - Permitted Activities & Restrictions.