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Visiting Postgraduate Research Students

Visiting postgraduate research students are enrolled on a postgraduate research programme at another institution and wish to study or undertake research at the University of Exeter for a short period. The University’s full policy is here: Visiting Postgraduate Research Students Policy 
The information on this page is for visiting postgraduate research students who are not UK citizens and therefore need immigration permission to work or study in the UK. 
You will need to be registered as an OAS (Other Advanced Studies) student at the University of Exeter, and will need to apply for a visa to undertake your research with us. 
Strict government requirements mean that this process can take some time, particularly if you require ATAS clearance (more information below). You should make your application to the University at least 3 months before your planned visit to ensure that you have enough time.
(Note – if you are coming to Exeter as part of a Study Abroad or International Exchange programme, please refer to the Study Abroad at Exeter pages instead.)   

Even if you already have an informal agreement with a member of academic staff at Exeter, you will need to submit an application for OAS (Other Advanced Studies) to our Postgraduate Research Admissions team. You should do this as early as possible. Contact the team at and you will be sent the application form and further information about the application process.

You will need to provide evidence of your academic qualifications and your English language ability. Visiting postgraduate research students whose first language is not English, are expected to have a sufficient level of English language skills (see English language requirements 2022) to conduct research at the University and to participate in College life. In most cases, you will need to provide evidence that your English ability is at a minimum of B2 level (equivalent to IELTS 5.5 in all components of language learning).

As part of your application, you also need to identify which visa you plan to apply for. This is important as there are different requirements for the different visa options. The three different visa types are outlined in detail below.

Once your application has been considered, you will be issued an offer email. If this is unconditional you will be able to start the visa application process. If the offer is conditional, you will need to meet your conditions before the visa process can begin.

ATASOnce you have your offer, you can apply for ATAS clearance if required. This will be made clear on your offer letter. If you are not required to apply for ATAS clearance, you can skip straight to applying for your visa. 

People who want to study at advanced levels within certain subject areas must obtain clearance certificates under the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) before they make any immigration application to study in the UK. Further information about the scheme is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. 

ATAS is only required for certain subject areas, including Computer Science, Physics, Medicine, Biosciences and Engineering, but you should check your offer letter to be sure. Students from certain countries are exempt from the requirement entirely and do not require an ATAS certificate even if they are studying an ATAS programme: ATAS exemption list

There are two different types of ATAS certificate: Student and Researcher. All Visiting Postgraduate Research Students will need Student ATAS clearance, regardless of the type of visa you are applying for. If you apply for Researcher clearance, you will need to re-apply for Student clearance.

You must apply for ATAS clearance (Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) - GOV.UK ( ) at least 4-6 weeks before you plan to apply for your visa. If it is granted, your ATAS certificate will be emailed to you as a PDF document which you should provide to the University. You can then be issued with the visa documentation you need to apply for your visa. You will also need to include your ATAS certificate with your visa application.

If you are refused ATAS clearance, you will not be able to apply for a visa and will not be able to come to the UK for your research trip.

You should familiarise yourself with our in-depth ATAS information before applying.

Visa type Visitor visa Student visa Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa
Duration  Up to 6 months  6 months+  Up to 24 months
Purpose of visit  Research/study  Research/study  Sponsored research: You must be receiving external funding for your research to qualify for this visa. 
Supporting document for visa application Visitor visa letter from University (PDF)
 CAS CoS: provided by HR Immigration Team 
ATAS required Student ATAS clearance required for certain subject areas/nationalities Student ATAS clearance required for certain subject areas/nationalities Student ATAS clearance required for certain subject areas/nationalities
Finances required for visa application Bank statements showing that you can support yourself for the duration of your visit Tuition fees if applicable (as listed on your CAS) + £1,023 per month of your stay up to a maximum of 9 months = £9,207. Student visas: Money Evidence of funding from a third party, approx. £1,300 per month + at least £1,270 in your bank account to show you can support yourself in the UK.
Visa conditions Paid work not permitted

Paid work permitted but restrictions apply, for further information see Working in the UK.

You are permitted to work for up to 20 hours per week outside of your research role with the university. Please check with the HR Immigration Team before undertaking any work.
Dependants permitted Not permitted - could apply for own Visitor visas Yes - if studying at postgraduate level for 9 months+ and your dependants are eligible: Dependants Yes - if your dependants are eligible: Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5): Your partner and children - GOV.UK (
Application fee

Applying in advance: £115

Applying on entry (non-visa nationals only): free

£490 £490
Immigration Health Surcharge Not applicable. You will need private health insurance. £776 per year of visa £1,035 per year of visa
Further details

Standard Visitor visa - GOV.UK (

Visitor visas (International Student Support, UoE)

Student visa - GOV.UK (

Student visas (International Student Support, UoE)

Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange visa (T5) - GOV.UK (


 Once you have decided which visa you are going to apply for, you will want to follow the Further Details links above for detailed information about the documents you will need to prepare for your particular visa type. 

If you have any questions about applying to the University for your research visit, please contact Postgraduate Research Admissions at

If you are applying for a Visitor or Student visa, our Visitor and Student visa guides include in-depth advice on preparing and submitting your visa application, including document lists and application form guides. You should contact International Student Support if you need more personalised advice. You can also contact International Student Support if you have questions about ATAS clearance for either of these visa types.

If you are applying for a Tier 5 visa, please liaise with the HR Immigration Team who will advise you on the process to obtain the visa.