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Science and Academic Visit

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.

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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.

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 taking 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 arrangements 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 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.

How Our Immigration Barristers Can Help

Our immigration advisers 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, or assistance with preparing a Science and Academia Visit Visa application, 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.

Contact us today

Nexus Visas assists international clients in obtaining UK visas, residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.

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