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Human Resources

Guidance for Visitors

Queen Mary welcomes visitors from across the world to undertake a variety of academic activities, including giving lectures, conducting research, and acting as examiners. To ensure that Queen Mary is compliant with UK Immigration Law we are required to undertake a right to work check on every person we intend to engage to ensure they are lawfully allowed to work in the UK.

Inviting an international visitor not resident in the UK

If you are invited to Queen Mary from outside the UK and do not have eligibility to work in the UK then you will need consider what visa you will need.  The choice of visa will depend on what you are doing in the UK and how long you intend to visit for.  

Visitors who are coming to the UK to take part in collaborative research, cannot use the visitor visa (Academic) they will require a T5 Governement Authrorised Exchange visa.  This visa requires a certificate of sponsorship to be issued by Queen Mary.

What visa will I require?

To determine the appropriate visa for your required visit, we would advise first reading the document below.  The visitor visa route is broad with several subclasses. It is important that you identify the correct subcategory to cover the proposed activities you plan to undertake while in the UK.  Selecting an inappropriate subcategory may mean that you cannot fulful your planned visit.

Academic Visitors Visa Guidance [PDF 477KB]

Visitor Routes [PDF 540KB]

Visitor visas

Visitors coming to the University will be required to gain entry to the UK under an immigration category appropriate for the agreed activity.  A visitor's ability to enter the UK will depend on their nationality and whether they are considered a visa or non-visa national.  

  • Visa Nationals - Those considered visa nationals will need to apply for a visa before they travel to the UK. A list of visa nationals can be found in Appendix Visitor: Visa national list
  • Non-visa Nationals - Those considered non-visa nationals can travel to the UK without a visa but they must obtain the correct stamp from the UK Border Force to allow them to work in the UK. On arrival in the UK they should ensure that they are clear in stating the purpose of their visit to ensure they are given the correct permission to enter the UK. Non-visa nationals travelling to work for Queen Mary should not use the eGates on their arrival.  

Please note: It is important to remember that visa free travel does not negate the need to have the correct permission to work in the UK.  Without the correct permission to be in the UK then the visitor will not be able to undertake the agreed activity. 

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

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

With effect from 21 May 2021, any individual who will be undertaking research activities, at PhD level or above, in one of the Academic Subjects/Fields of Research relevant to ATAS (the same as for students) will be required to obtain a free of charge ATAS certificate before they can apply for a visa to work in the UK. This will include international research and academic applicants for Skilled Worker visas and Sponsored Researchers applying for Government Authorised Exchange visas as well as visiting academics and researchers. 

The research areas are those where knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT), weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery. Researchers must apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before they can start research in the UK.

Researchers who are nationals of EU countries, the European Economic Area (EEA), Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland or the United States of America do not need an ATAS certificate.

The requirement for an ATAS certificate applies to all other researchers irrespective of the country of residence when they apply.

UK immigration law prevents Queen Mary from permitting international researchers to commence research in an ATAS applicable course until the researcher has supplied evidence that they have the correct ATAS certificate.

If you are coming to the UK to undertake research in a category covered by ATAS then you will need to apply for ATAS certification before you commence any work at Queen Mary. Further information about the scheme can be found on our ATAS pages.

Do not enter the UK via an eGate

The UK has expanded who can use eGates (automated self-service barriers) to enter the UK to include nationals of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United States of America.

You should not enter the UK via an eGate if you are coming under the Permitted Paid Engagement (PPE) route.

PPE visitors require a specific, one month grant of leave, which has to be granted in advance of travel (for visa nationals) or by an immigration officer upon arrival into the UK (for non-visa nationals).

Please follow the signs for “See an officer” to get your passport stamped with a permitted paid engagement visa. You can also show this document to staff: Border Force Exceptions Request for Stamp [PDF 155KB].

If you uses an eGate, then you will not receive the correct grant of leave, and will be prevented from undertaking the planned engagement. If activities requiring a PPE visitor visa are undertaken without the correct stamp this will be considered by the Home Office to be illegal working.

Further Information

More detailed information about the various visitor routes can be found at the links below:

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