skip to content

Visitor visas

The University of Cambridge welcomes visitors from across the world to undertake a variety of academic activities, including conducting research, giving lectures and acting as examiners. 

To determine the appropriate visa for the required visit, we would advise first reading our Quick reference guide to UK visas for visiting academics.

If the activity or reason for the visit is not covered within the above guidance, please contact the Compliance Team for further advice. Please include full details of the proposed visit.

More detailed information on each visitor visa route can be found below:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

Since May 2021, international researchers of certain nationalities, in certain roles and research fields, with a Visitor or Temporary Worker - GAE visa have been required to have ATAS clearance.

  • Temporary Worker - GAE: an ATAS certificate is required before the HR Compliance Team can issue a Certificate of Sponsorship.
  • Visitor: an ATAS certificate is required before any research activity can be undertaken. Note: though the certificate is not required for the visa application, we strongly recommend that you do not issue an invitation letter supporting a visa application until the visitor can provide you with the ATAS certificate. This is to eliminate the risk of the visitor arriving in the UK without ATAS clearance and being unable to begin their visit, either because the application has not yet been decided, or because it is refused.

For further information, please see and our guidance webpages.

Right to work checks

Where the University has invited a visitor to come to the University to undertake certain activities, departments/institutions should refer to the visitor right to work statement for guidance regarding when to undertake a check for visitors.

Where undertaking a right to work check for a visitor, please note that you are unable to use the Home Office 'online right to work' service, as that system does not cater for visitors to the UK. Where undertaking a right to work cehck for a visitor, please retain a copy of the visitor visa/visitor stamp as proof of status. Where these are not present, please contact the HR Compliance Team for advice.