Our process for approval and renewal information will inform you how to invite an Honorary scholar to the University.

Visa rules for honorary appointments from outside the European Economic Area

If the proposed honorary appointment is a national of a country in the European Economic Area (EEA)*, they have the right to work in the UK, but nationals of other countries will generally require either a Business Visa or a Certificate of Sponsorship under the Points Based System.

*Member states of the EEA whose nationals can work without restriction:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. Although Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are not members of the European Union (EU), their citizens have the same rights as EU citizens to enter, live in and work in the UK.

An academic visitor will require a Business Visa

The UK Border Agency has issued the following guidance on academic visitors:

"This route allows well qualified academics to visit the UK for a maximum of 12 months to undertake certain activities. They should be able to produce evidence 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 or entry clearance for entry in the category."

Academic visitors must be either:

  • A person on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution who wishes to make use of their leave to carry out research here (to do research for a book for example); or
  • academics (including doctors) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with United Kingdom counterparts; or
  • eminent senior doctors and dentists coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.

Academics who want to come to the UK simply to share knowledge or experience or to hold informal discussions with their UK counterparts may qualify as an academic under the Business Visitors route. The business visitor category may also be suitable for those who intend to conduct research for their own private purposes - such as to do research for a book.

Academic visitors must:

  • Not receive funding for their work from any United Kingdom source (payments of expenses or honoraria to cover their needs whilst in the UK may be disregarded, as may payments on an exchange basis).
  • Not intend to take employment or engage in any work* other than the academic activity for which they are being admitted.
  • Not be filling a normal post or a genuine vacancy.
  • Not stay in the UK for more than 12 months.
  • 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 adequately maintained and accommodated by relatives or friends).
  • Be able to meet the cost of the return or onward journey from the UK.

*The UK Visa and Immigration's definition of employment includes, 'unless the contrary intention appears, includes paid and unpaid employment, paid and unpaid work placements undertaken as part of a course or period of study, self employment and engaging in business or any professional activity.' 

See the Home Office website for more information and definitions. 

The UK Visa and Immigration guidance also states that lecturers who wish to come to the United Kingdom solely to undertake a series of lectures for which they will receive a fee are unlikely to qualify under the Business Visa route and they will normally be required to seek entry under Tier 2 of the Points Based System. Academics may, however, be eligible to enter as a mainstream business visitor for a maximum of 6 months if they are coming to participate in a conference or seminar where it is a single event, and the event is not a commercial venture (organisers are not making a profit).

An academic visitor will generally be required to apply for a Business Visa – see the Home Office website for further information.

Back to top

Sponsored researchers will require a Certificate of Sponsorship under the Points Based System

UK Visa and Immigration has issued the following guidance on Sponsored Researchers:

"A sponsored researcher is a person who wishes to come to the UK to lead or to take part in any formal research project. Formal research projects are those hosted but not necessarily funded by a UK research institution including universities, non-commercial research organisations, charitable organisations and national research councils (such as the Medical Research Council). The sponsored researcher fills a research post and works under the full or partial control of the institution, which will itself benefit from the research. Sponsored researchers can be funded from sources in the UK or overseas."

Sponsored Researchers should enter the UK under the Tier 5 – Government Authorised Exchange category of the Points Based System.

This means that the University must arrange for the proposed honorary appointment to receive a Certificate of Sponsorship under the Points Based System. They will need to have been granted both a Certificate of Sponsorship and Entry Clearance before they can take up honorary appointment at the University.

When the proposed honorary appointment applies for a visa, they will need to present the Certificate of Sponsorship (this is a reference number which the University will email to them) and satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer in the British Diplomatic Mission/British Embassy/High Commission that they meet the requirements of the Points Based System.

While advice provided by Human Resources on immigration requirements is accurate to the best of our knowledge, UK immigration regulations are extensive and can vary depending on your home country. If the sponsoring College or honorary appointee are unsure whether they require a visa, the honorary appointee should contact their nearest UK consulate or embassy directly for immigration advice. Further information can be found on the Home Office website or on the UK visas website.

Back to top