Academics visit the UK so as to undertake a variety of activities. Entry clearance applications from visiting academics should usually be made less than 1 of 4 categories: Academic Visitor, Sponsored Researcher, Visitor or Business Visitor.
The Academic visitor type is a concession outside the Immigration Rules allowing academics to visit the United Kingdom for 12 months to undertake certain academic activities. An individual seeking leave under this concession must be well qualified within their own field of expertise. They should, therefore, be able to produce proof that they have been working as an academic in an institution of higher education overseas, or in the field of their academic expertise, immediately prior to seeking entry clearance for entry in the category. Recent graduates, especially those who gained their degrees in the UK, would not normally qualify.
Postgraduate researchers entering the UK to study for an credited UK academic qualification (rather than for the purpose of academic research work that does not lead to a UK academic qualification) should enter as students if they meet the relevant requirements of the Immigration Rules. If they do not, then a work permit as a Sponsored Researcher is needed.
A person on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution who wants to make use of their leave to carry out research here (to do research for a book e.g.); or
Academics (including doctors) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts; or
Famous senior doctors and dentists coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.
Those who are on sabbatical leave from private research organizations are not eligible for leave under the academic visitor provisions.
Academic visitors must also:
Not receive financial support for their work from any UK source (payments of expenses or sensible honoraria may be unnoticed, as may payments on an exchange basis)
Be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey from the UK.
Not connect in any work other than the academic activity for which they are being admitted
Not stay in the UK for more than 12 months
Not intend to take job in the UK
Intend to leave the UK at the end of their visit
Be able to maintain themselves and any dependants without having recourse to public funds (or be sufficiently maintained and accommodated by relatives or friends)
Not be filling a normal post or a legitimate vacancy
There is no compulsory entry clearance requirement attached to this category, but all visa nationals and anyone coming to the United Kingdom for longer than six months will need to obtain entry clearance before traveling.
Candidates should be advised that 12 months is the maximum duration of stay under this concession. The Home Office will not grant extensions of stay beyond this.