Work Permit/Immigration Matters

Immigration Matters

Relating To Non-EEA Honorary/Visiting Appointees

It is now necessary to apply for a “certificate of sponsorship” under Tier 5 (Government Authorised exchange) of the Points Based Immigration System for some categories of honorary/visiting staff (now known as 'sponsored researchers'). In all cases appointees must have been granted the necessary immigration clearance before entering the UK.

A non-EEA honorary/visiting appointee can enter the UK via one of two routes:

(1) the 'sponsored researcher' Tier 5 route;

(2) as an 'academic visitor' (ie. not requiring a certificate of sponsorship).

The only significant difference between the two categories is that 'sponsored researchers' will be in receipt of a salary during their appointment whilst 'academic visitors' will not. It is crucial that we apply for certificates of sponsorship for any individuals falling under the 'sponsored researcher' category, both so that the University is not falling foul of current legislation, and so that the appointee is able to pass through immigration with the correct documentation.

Academic Visitor Status

No certificate of sponsorship needed; 'Academic visitor' visa required.

Academic visitors must be either:

      a. 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

      b. academics (including doctors) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with United Kingdom counterparts; or

      c. eminent senior doctors and dentists coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.

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.

Application procedure

The individual must obtain an 'academic visitor' visa prior to entering the UK. It is the individual's responsibility to apply for the visa.

Additional work

No additional paid work can be undertaken by 'academic visitors'.

For further information please contact your HR assistant.

Sponsored Researcher Status

'Sponsored researcher' certificate of sponsorship needed; immigration clearance required.

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.

Application procedure

Human Resources will apply for a certificate of sponsorship (based on information provided by the relevant department).

It will be the appointee's responsibility to apply for immigration clearance (ie. 'leave to enter' the UK, or 'leave to remain' in the UK) under Tier 5 (Government Authorised Exchange) of the Points Based Immigration system.

A calculator be found at

As this process can take some time, departments are asked to be realistic about appointment start dates.

Additional work

'Sponsored researchers' cannot be paid for any work additional to that initially covered by the certificate of sponsorship.

For further information please contact your HR assistant.

Last updated Feb 2010 (Kate Jenner)
Review Date Jun 2014

Lancaster University
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201