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Human Resources & Organisational Development

Academic and Research Visitors to Durham University

All visitors to the department of 5 days or more or those who require an IT account must follow the following process:

The University welcomes Visiting Academics and Visiting Researchers who may wish to come to Durham whilst on sabbatical to pursue independent research.

An invitation to become an Visitor does not bring any financial remuneration from the University and is awarded on the understanding that the Visitor will be entirely self-funded or with support from his/her home University (in accordance with UK immigration policy ). An invitation to become an Visitor does not confer membership of any College.

As general guidance (each department applies their own criteria and charges, please click on the link to navigate to specific department websites you must:

  • Have written support from an identified academic sponsor (a member of academic staff) in the Department and be invited in writing by the University
  • Ensure that you have enough funds to pay your bench fees and support yourself whilst in Durham
  • Have a plan of research activity for the duration of the visit

An Academic Visitor can visit the UK for up to 12 months and must be:

  • on sabbatical leave from an overseas academic institution, and wanting to use your leave to carry out research in the UK (for example, to do research for a book); or
  • an academic (including a doctor) taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts; or
  • an eminent senior doctor or dentist coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.

Please note: If they are on sabbatical leave from a private research company, they cannot be an academic visitor. Instead, they should apply for a visa under Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the points-based system.

Additionally, they must not:

  • receive funding for their work from any UK source (except payments of expenses or reasonable honoraria, and payments on an exchange basis); or
  • engage in any work other than the academic activity for which you are being admitted; or
  • fill a normal post or a genuine vacancy in the UK.

The 'business visitor' category is for nationals of countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. Individuals can visit the UK for a period of 6 months and must intend to return to their home country after their visit.

There are various categories of work that must be adhered to if entering the UK under this category. The full list can be viewed at:

Contact us at

Human Resources
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road