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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 resident in the UK

If you are inviting somebody who is resident in the UK, they will be required to be a British or EEA citizen who does not require additional permissions to work in the UK. If you are inviting a Non-EEA citizen, who is resident in the UK, you will need to ensure that their visa allows them to under take the activity you wish them to undertake.  

Inviting an international visitor not resident in the UK

If you are inviting an international visitor from outside the UK you should first establish with them what, if any, eligibility they have to be in the UK they already have and assess whether that covers the purpose of their visit. If they do not have eligibility, your invitation should formally document precisely what it is they are being invited to do. This will support them in their visa application, however will not guarantee a successful visa application/successful entry to the UK. 

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 from outside of the EEA 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 2 of Appendix V: Immigration Rules for Visitors.
  • 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.

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.

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