Visitor Invitation Process

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Where a college or department wishes to invite a non UK/ Irish national as a visitor, administrators within the department/ faculty or colleges should be included in the discussion from the start. This is to ensure a smooth process for all parties involved and considerably reduces the changes of a visa refusal.
 

Please ensure that the Staff Immigration (SIT)'s invitation letter templates are used to avoid  that the correct letter of invitation is issued and the activities the visitor will be doing is compliant with the visa route they are entering under.

 

SIT recommends that departments and colleges asks prospective visitors to fill in a 'Visitor form'. These may include the following points:

  • Personal information about the visitor
  • Information about the visitors current status (for example: PhD student/journalist/researcher/government official/eminent doctor etc).
  • The main purpose of their visit to University of Oxford
  • An outline of the activities they will be undertaking during their visit
  • Confirmation whether they will be doing any collaborative research with their host department or college
  • The duration of their visit
  • Confirmation whether the visitor is bringing any family members
  • Information how they intend to support themselves financially while in the UK

 

Departments and colleges must ensure they have a robust process in place to avoid that individual within the department or college invite non UK/Irish nationals without having run this by the HR office first.

 

Please note that where a University department or college is inviting a non UK/ Irish national, they are facilitating their entry to the UK

The host department/ faculty or college must be satisfied that the visitor is compliant with the Home Office's visitor visa regulations.

 

 

When the college or department administrator receives the completed visitor form, they can assess which visitor visa route would be most suitable by referring to our Standard visitor visa type pages.

 

 

Where an administrator is unsure which visa route is best suited for their prospective visitor, please contact your contact person in the Staff Immigration Team and provide us with an overview of the visit and the details of the visitor.

From the 21 May 2021 individuals undertaking an element of research at PhD in certain sensitive subjects must obtain an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) prior to commencing their visit.

This applies to researchers visiting under the standard visitor visa and undertaking science and academic activities including:

  • carrying out research for their own purposes or as a group
  • gathering information and facts for a specific project which directly related to their employment overseas, or to support independent research
  • taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts

 

The following nationalities are exempt from the ATAS requirement:

  • UK, EU/EEA and Swiss nationals
  • Nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, or the United States of America.

Dual nationals who hold one of the listed nationalities above will also be exempt. This is not based on country of residence, but nationality only.

 

The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) will work with Department, Faculty and College colleagues to identify if the individual will need to obtain an ATAS certificate. If this is required a template letter and guidance will be provided by SIT. 

 

Failure to obtain a required ATAS certificate will prevent the visit from commencing. Applying in good time and before travelling to the UK is strongly recommended.

 

Full details can be found on the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) page.

Once it has been established which visitor visa category is the best suited to accommodate the visitor, the host department or college must issue a letter of invitation to the visitor. Staff Immigration provides templates for each category which can be found below:

 

DOWNLOAD ACADEMIC VISITOR INVITATION LETTER

 

DOWNLOAD BUSINESS VISITOR INVITATION LETTER

 

DOWNLOAD PERMITTED PAID ENGAGEMENT INVITATION LETTER

 

 

The letter of invitation should be letter headed paper, be signed and dated and then sent to the prospective visitor via email. They will require this letter of invitation for their visa application (if they're a visa national) or they will need to bring a copy of it to present to UK border control (if they are a non-visa national). The letter of invitation should include contact details that UK border force can use to verify details about the visit.
 

All visitors must report to the HR office at their host department or college before their visit commences so the following steps can take place:

 

  • Record keeping for all visitors (except Business visitors coming for one day or less):
    Take a copy of the visitor's passport and entry stamp/vignette. Sign and date the passport details and visa/immigration stamp and retain these for the duration of visit along with a copy of the letter of invitation and any information confirming intended activity.

     

  • Gaining access to department/ faculty or college: The department/ faculty or college goes through necessary procedures to allow the visitor to gain access to their facilities.
     
  • Reminded to collect BRP: Academic visitors and other individuals visiting for over 6 months are reminded to collect their BRP from the post office. Once the BRP has been collected, the host department or college must take a copy of the it to be included on their records.
     
  • Police registration: Some visitors will need to register with the police within 7 days of arriving in the UK. To see the list of nationalities that usually need to register with the police, please see the 'Who usually needs to register' pages on the Home Office website. More information can be found on the Police Registration page.  
     
  • Visa conditions: All visitors should aware of the conditions of their visa which can be found on the second page of their letter of invitation. These can also be found on the Visitor visa conditions page.

 

Contact us


Medical Sciences / Humanities / GLAM / UAS / Continuing Education / Colleges

Angelina Pelova Tel: 01865 289904 Email: angelina.pelova@admin.ox.ac.uk 

 

MPLS / Social Sciences

Lyn Davis Email: lyn.davis@admin.ox.ac.uk

Richard Birt Email: richard.birt@admin.ox.ac.uk

 

 

 

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