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SCIENCE AND ACADEMIA VISIT VISA

SCIENCE AND ACADEMIA VISIT VISA

The Science and Academia Visit Visa is for scientists, researchers and academics who wish to visit the UK to undertake permitted unpaid science or academic activities for a period of up to 6 months or, for certain academics, for a period of up to 12 months.

The Science and Academia Visit Visa is a sub-category of the Standard Visitor route, which is a route for persons who wish to visit the UK for a temporary period.  

The route does not lead to settlement in the UK and all visitors must make a separate application, even when travelling as part of a group.

Requirements for a Science and Academia Visit Visa

In order to qualify for a Science and Academia Visit Visa you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that:

  • You are a visa national (a non-visa national can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival at the UK border);
  • You are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes;
  • You will not undertake any prohibited activities;
  • You have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit (including travel, maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds;
  • You will leave the UK at the end of your visit;
  • You will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home;
  • Your application does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

To discuss your Science and Academia Visit Visa application with one of our immigration barristers, contact our UK Visit Visa lawyers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.

Visa National Requirement

A visa national is someone who, by reason of their nationality, requires a Visit Visa in order to enter the UK as a Visitor.  Visa nationals must generally apply for a Visit Visa before travelling to the UK.

The Home Office has published a list of nationalities that are required to apply for a Visit Visa prior to travelling to the UK as a Visitor.  The list includes a number of exceptions, which allow certain visa nationals to seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.

A non-visa national can normally seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.   A non-visa national must still satisfy the requirements for entry as a Visitor and so, on arrival, should be prepared to explain, for example, the purpose of their visit and how they will be maintained and accommodated in the UK, as well as their return travel arrangements. 

EU citizens are non-visa nationals and can seek entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK without needing to apply for a Visit Visa.

As well as preparing Visit Visa applications for visa nationals, our barristers regularly assist non-visa nationals to satisfy the requirements for entry as a Visitor on arrival in the UK.

Visit Visa for Scientists, Researchers and Academics

The Science and Academia Visit Visa is open to scientists, researchers and academics who will remain paid and employed overseas and who will only be carrying out activities in the UK that are incidental to their employment overseas.  Examples might include visiting the UK to provide advice on an international project, sharing knowledge on research that you are working on overseas or to take part in teaching or clinical practice.

Academics, scientists and researchers can carry out research for their own purposes such as for a book or for their employment overseas, but the research should not be for commercial gain.

Academics who are applying for a 12 month Academic Visitor visa, or an extension to complete 12 months as an academic carrying out visitor activities, must be highly qualified within their field of expertise (generally holding a PhD or higher) and working in that field at an academic or higher education institution overseas.

Science and Academia Visit Visa Permitted Activities 

In order to qualify for a Science and Academia Visit Visa for a stay of up to 6 months you will need to satisfy UK Visas & Immigration that you are genuinely seeking entry to the UK for a purpose that is permitted by the visitor routes and will not undertake any prohibited activities.

If you are a scientist or researcher you may undertake the following permitted activities with permission as a Science and Academia Visitor:

  • Gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to your employment overseas, or conduct independent research;
  • Share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided you are not carrying out research in the UK.

If you are an academic you may undertake the following permitted activities with permission as a Science and Academia Visitor:

  • Take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);
  • Carry out research for your own purposes if you are on sabbatical leave from your home institution;
  • If you are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.

Because the Science and Academia Visit Visa is a sub-category of the Standard Visitor route, Science and Academia Visitors may also undertake other activities that are permitted under the Standard Visitor route.

Academics Seeking to Visit the UK for More Than 6 Months

An academic (or the accompanying partner or child of an academic), who is employed by an overseas institution and is carrying out certain specific permitted activities may be granted an Academic Visit Visa for up to 12 months. If you are an academic and you wish to apply for a 12-month Academic Visit Visa then you must:

  • Intend to undertake one or more of the following permitted activities for up to 12 months:
    • Take part in formal exchange arrangement with UK counterparts (including doctors); and
    • Carry out research for your own purposes if you are on sabbatical leave from your home institution; and
    • If you are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.
  • Be highly qualified within your own field of expertise;
  • Currently be working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas; and
  • Provide a valid TB certificate, if applicable.

Academics who wish to come to the UK for 6 months or less do not need to satisfy these requirements.

Intention to Leave the UK Requirement for a Science and Academia Visit Visa

In addition to satisfying the Home Office that you are genuinely seeking to enter the UK for a permitted purpose and that you satisfy the additional eligibility requirements, as part of your application for a Science and Academia Visit Visa you will also need to satisfy the Home Office that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit and will not live in the UK for extended periods through frequent or successive visits, or make the UK your main home.

In assessing your application, the Home Office will consider a range of factors including:

  • Your previous immigration history, including visits to the UK and other countries;
  • Your financial circumstances as well as your family, social and economic background;
  • Your personal and economic ties to your country of residence.

Factors which may cause the Home Office to doubt that you are a genuine visitor include having few or no family and economic ties to your country of residence, whilst having several family members in the UK, previous attempts to deceive the Home Office in an immigration application and discrepancies between statements made by yourself and your sponsor.

Science and Academia Visit Visa Financial Requirement

You will need to have sufficient funds to cover all reasonable costs in relation to your visit (including travel, maintenance and accommodation costs) without working or accessing public funds.

Your funds will need to be held in a permitted financial institution.

Your travel, maintenance and accommodation costs may be met by a third party if the third party has a genuine professional or personal relationship with you, they are not, and will not be, in breach of immigration laws and they can support you throughout the duration of your stay as a Visitor.

Science and Academia Visit Visa English Language Requirement

Science and Academia Visit Visa applicants do not need to satisfy an English language requirement.

Science and Academia Visit Visa Validity Period

If you wish to enter the UK for the purpose of a Science and Academia Visit you may apply for a Visit Visa that is valid for either 6 months, 2 years, 5 years or 10 years.  

You may enter and leave the UK multiple times during the validity period of your Visit Visa, unless your Visit Visa is endorsed for a single or dual entry.

Each visit to the UK must not exceed 6 months.

An academic (or the accompanying partner or child of an academic), who is employed by an overseas institution and is carrying out certain specific permitted activities may be granted an Academic Visit Visa that permits a visit lasting up to 12 months, subject to satisfying the additional eligibility criteria mentioned above.

Science and Academia Visit Visa Right to Work

Science and Academia Visitors are not permitted to work in the UK or, with few exceptions, receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK.

This means that Science and Academia Visitors cannot take employment, establish or run a business as a self-employed person, work for an organisation or business in the UK, undertake a work placement or internship in the UK or otherwise provide or sell goods or services in the UK.

Science and Academia Visitors are permitted to undertake activities relating to their employment overseas remotely whilst they are in the UK, such as responding to emails or answering phone calls.  However, the main purpose of your visit to the UK should be to undertake a permitted activity, rather than specifically to work remotely from the UK.

Science and Academia Visitors are also permitted to come to the UK to seek employment and attend job interviews. However, if successful in obtaining employment, you will be expected to leave the UK and seek the appropriate entry clearance prior to commencing work.

If you wish to work in the UK as a scientist, researcher or academic you should consider applying for a Skilled Worker Visa or a  Global Talent Visa instead.

Science and Academia Visit Visa Application Fees

The Home Office application fee for a Science and Academia Visit Visa for a short stay of up to 6 months is currently £100.

The Home Office application fee for an Academic Visit Visit Visa for a stay of more than 6 months but not more than 12 months is £200.

If you wish to apply for a Science and Academia Visit Visa that is valid for either 2 years, 5 years or 10 years then the Home Office application fee will be £376, £670 or £837 respectively.

How Our Immigration Barristers Can Help

Our immigration barristers are experienced in assisting scientists, researchers and academics to secure visas to visit the UK.

Whether you are seeking advice on the merits of applying for a Science and Academia Visit Visa, assistance with preparing a Science and Academia Visit Visa application or legal representation to challenge a decision to refuse an application for a Science and Academia Visit Visa, our immigration barristers can assist.

We pride ourselves on being approachable and proactive in understanding and meeting our client’s needs. We are a highly driven team, dedicated to providing clear and reliable immigration advice to our clients as part of a professional and friendly service.

We can also assist with

  • Applications for Skilled Worker Visas

    The Skilled Worker Visa is open to individuals of all nationalities (except British and Irish) who have an offer of an eligible skilled job in the UK from a Home Office-approved sponsor.  The route can lead to settlement and applicants can be joined by dependent partners and children.

    In order to qualify for a Skilled Worker Visa, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

    • You are aged 18 or over;
    • You have a valid Certificate of Sponsorship for the job you are planning to do;
    • Your job offer is a genuine vacancy;
    • Your sponsor has paid any required Immigration Skills Charge;
    • Your job is at an appropriate skill level;
    • You are competent in the English language to at least CEFR Level B1 (equivalent to IELTS 4.0);
    • You will be paid a salary which equals or exceeds both a general salary threshold and the ‘going rate’ for the occupation;
    • You have enough money to support yourself without relying on public funds;
    • You have provided a criminal record certificate, if required; and
    • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

    The exact requirements you will need to satisfy will vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

  • Applications for Global Talent Visas - Science, Engineering, Humanities and Medicine

    The Global Talent Visa route is open to talented and promising individuals who are active researchers in academic, industry or government research institutions, in a range of disciplines in the areas of science, engineering, humanities and medicine.

    Applicants will be leaders in their field, or have the potential to be leaders, as determined by the Royal Society (for natural and medical science applications), the Royal Academy of Engineering (for engineering applications), the British Academy (for humanities and social science applications) or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (for science and research applications).

    In order to qualify for a Global Talent visa in the field of Science, Engineering, Humanities and Medicine, you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

    • You are aged 18 or over;
    • You have been issued with an endorsement letter by the Royal Society (for natural and medical science applications), the Royal Academy of Engineering (for engineering applications), the British Academy (for humanities and social science applications) or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) (for science and research applications) or have been awarded a prize listed in Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes;
    • Your application does not fall under the general grounds for refusal;
    • You have provided a valid TB certificate, if required.

    The exact requirements you will need to satisfy may vary depending on your circumstances.  You may want to speak to an immigration lawyer for expert advice.

  • Fresh applications and Judicial Reviews following Visit Visa refusals

    If your application for a Visit Visa has been refused, our immigration barristers can advise on the merits of making a fresh application or challenging the refusal decision.

    In many cases, a professionally prepared fresh application will be the quickest and most economical way of securing a Visit Visa following a refusal decision.  Our immigration barristers have an excellent track record of securing Visit Visas for clients who have previously been refused a Visit Visa following a self-prepared application.

    If the decision to refuse your Visit Visa application was unlawful, unreasonable or procedurally improper, our immigration barristers can advise on merits of applying for Judicial Review of the decision, draft grounds for Judicial Review and provide representation at Judicial Review hearings.

WHAT CAN WE HELP YOU WITH?

To discuss your Science and Academia Visit Visa application with one of our immigration barristers, contact our Short Stay Visit Visa team on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.




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