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Human Resources

International Visitors to Queen Mary

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.

Right to work checks

All visitors no matter their nationality are required to show their Passport or National Identification Card, and where necessary, a visa appropriate for the activity they are undertaking. 

European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss Nationals will not require a visa, anyone coming to the UK from outside the EEA may require a visa. 

Inviting an international visitor from a non-EEA country

If you are inviting an international visitor from outside the EEA, you should first establish with them what if any eligibility 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, will require a Tier 5 (Government Authroised Exchange) visa.  These visas require a certificate of sponsorship from the University.

What visa will my visitor require?

To determine the appropriate visa for the required visit, we would advise first reading the document below.  The visitor visa route is broad with several subclasses. It is important that visitors identify the correct subcategory to cover their proposed activities as selecting an inappropriate subcategory may mean that they cannot fulful their planned visit.

Academic Visitors [PDF 474KB]

Visitor Routes [PDF 540KB]

The UK Government has an online tool to check whether a visa is needed to travel to the UK. 

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.

Please note that anyone travelling to the UK on a permitted paid engagement route must see a UK border control officer on their arrival in the UK and get a stamp in their passport. 

PhD students

PhD students who wish to come to the UK to complete research for their thesis should consider applying for a short-term study visa, which is valid for up to six months or a Tier 4 student visa if their research is part of the PhD degree course and will take longer than six months. 

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 e-gates at the airport.  

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. 

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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