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The Visitor (Standard) visa was introduced in April 2015 and consolidated the following pre-existing routes:

  • General (tourist) visitor
  • Business visitor
  • Academic visitor
  • Child visitor
  • Sports visitor
  • Entertainer visitor
  • Visitors for private medical treatment (and several other routes which are not commonly seen by the University)

Therefore, any individual who wishes to visit the UK, and who would previously have qualified for one of the above visitor visas, will now be issued a Visitor (Standard) visa.

The Visitor (Standard) visa will be issued for a maximum of either 6 months or 12 months, depending on the type of activity being undertaken.

There is a wide range of activities that individuals can undertake on the Visitor (Standard) visa. For full details, see the UK Visas and Immigration webpages.  However, for individuals visiting the University to undertake a short period of work, the majority of these activities will not be relevant. Therefore, only the activities which are relevant to the University have been described in the eligibility section below.


The table below outlines the types of permissible activities that can be undertaken depending on the type of person being invited to the University.

Type of visitor


Permissible activities

Maximum validity of visa

Any person invited by the hosting department/institution


  • Attend meetings, conferences, seminars, interviews;


  • Give a one-off or short series of talks and speeches provided these are not organised as commercial events and will not make a profit for the organiser;


  • Negotiate and sign deals and contracts;


  • Attend trade fairs, for promotional work only, provided the visitor is not directly selling;


  • Carry out site visits and inspections;


  • Gather information for their employment overseas;


  • Employee of an overseas company or organisation receiving training from a UK based organisation in work practices and techniques which are required for the visitor’s employment overseas and not available in their home country.


  • Archaeologists taking part in a one-off archaeological excavation;


  • A Professor from an overseas academic institution accompanying students to the UK as part of a study abroad programme, may provide a small amount of teaching to the students at the host organisation. However this must not amount to filling a permanent teaching role for that institution.


In addition to undertaking the above activities, visitors are also permitted to:

  • Visit friends, family and / or come to the UK for a holiday


  • Perform up to 30 days of incidental study and/or 30 days of incidental volunteering with a registered charity at any time.











6 months

Scientists and researchers:

  • Invited by the hosting department/institution; and 
  • Who remain paid and employed at their overseas institution.


  • Gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas;


  • Share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the visitor is not carrying out research in the UK.


6 months


  • Invited by the hosting department/institution; and
  • Who are highly qualified in their own field of expertise; and
  • Who are currently working in that field at an Institution overseas

(Note: Undergraduate and post-graduate students currently studying would not qualify as an academic under this definition)

  • Taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);


  • Carrying out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution;
  • Eminent senior doctors or dentists, taking part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.

12 months *

* It is only possible to obtain a 12 month visa where the individual applies in advance from the British Consulate.

How to apply for a visa

For further details, please see the How to Apply section of our webpages.

Visitor visa restrictions

In all cases, holders of a Visitor (Standard) visa cannot:

  • Undertake any form of employment in the UK (except for the permissible activities listed above);
  • Fill a normal post or a genuine vacancy, even on a temporary basis;
  • Receive funding for their work from any UK source (payments of expenses, including travel and subsistence may be disregarded – see below);
  • Stay in the UK for more than 6 months (or 12 months for visiting academics);
  • Switch to any other immigration category whilst inside the UK;
  • Have recourse to public funds.

Acceptable Payment

The individual must not receive payment from a UK source for any activities undertaken in the UK, except for reasonable expenses to cover the cost of their travel and subsistence, including fees for directors attending board-level meetings.

A visitor’s travel, maintenance and accommodation may be provided by a third party (which can be the University) provided:

  • They have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor; and
  • They are legally present in the UK, or will be at the time of the visitor’s entry to the UK; and
  • They can and will provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay.