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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Visitors to Durham University

Visiting academics and visiting researchers are an essential part of Durham University’s research environment and are most welcome to spend time at the University, whilst on sabbatical, to pursue independent research. The University also welcomes other visitors engaged in scholarly endeavour at Durham, including collaborators.

Visitors should either be self-funded or supported by their home University or a third party funder (save for some expenses or reasonable honoraria). It is the University’s duty to protect Visitors and the University. In particular, the University must comply with UKVI regulations. Therefore the process detailed below is for Visitors who plan to be at the University for a period of 10 calendar days or more and are:

  • Undertaking self-directed research in a department; or
  • Collaborating on a project or working with a department.

Note that if a Visitor has attended a conference at Durham and thereafter stays to collaborate, the conference time can be excluded.

We would ask that colleagues hosting Visitors ensure that they follow the process below.


Arrangements a Visitor should have in place before coming to Durham

A Visitor should have in place:

  • a plan of research activity for the duration of the visit, to be submitted to an identified academic sponsor (a member of academic staff) at the University, who will inform the Head of Department of the planned visit;
  • written support from the identified academic sponsor;
  • enough funds to pay any bench fees and to support themselves whilst in Durham; and
  • if they need one, an appropriate visa (which HR will need to check).


An academic visitor must have a formal agreement in place with DU. This will make clear what is the legal relationship between the visitor and Durham University.

Durham University liability insurances will apply if the academic visitor is working on Durham University business on behalf of Durham University and under the control of Durham University. If the visitor is working on their own behalf, or on behalf of another institution, Durham University liability insurances will not indemnify them. The liability insurance position follows the legal position as defined by the relevant agreement.

Administrative tasks the Department should follow for Visitors:

It is compulsory for all visitors to Durham University to be registered in an appropriate capacity. This means having a contractual agreement confirmed outlining the full details of an individual’s visit to Durham. The contract should either be from Human Resources, if the individual will be a contracted member of staff, or Legal Services for all other visitor non-student arrangements. This agreement must also be in place before any accommodation arrangements can be made.

In the first instance please contact Legal Services to check if a formal agreement is required for the Visitor.

Once this is determined;

  • For all Visitors visiting the University for 10 days or more who require IT Access (excluding academic conferences), the Department should complete the Visitor Notification Form which will then be submitted to HR. This is a secure online form to which documents can be attached.

Thereafter the process for submission and checking documents differs depending on whether the Visitor is a UK/EEA national or a non-EEA national:

  • UK/EEA Nationals:
    • The Visitor Notification Form may be completed upon the Visitor’s arrival and should be submitted (with the attachments detailed below) to HR on the first day of the visit (you may submit in advance but the original ID must have been seen by the department see next point);
    • For UKVI purposes, the department must have sight of the Visitor’s original ID and they must take copies, which are signed and dated by the department. The copy ID documents should be attached to the Visitors Notifications Form and sent to HR.
    • Please note that if the Visitor requires IT access, the account may take up to 7 days to go live from receipt of the Visitor Notification Form.
  • Non-EEA Nationals:
    • The Visitor Notification Form and accompanying documents must be completed and submitted to HR at least 3 weeks before the planned start of visit.
    • Please complete the boxes on the Visitor Notification Form stating that the Visitor is a non-EEA national and a brief outline of the reason for their visit.
    • For UKVI purposes; please attach to the Visitor Notification Form:
      • A copy of the written support from an identified host or academic sponsor (a member of academic staff) in the Department; and
      • A copy of the invitation letter sent to the Visitor by the University.
    • HR will send a letter to the individual informing them of their visa obligations. The Visitor will have to return a signed acceptance of the letter and the Visitor should make arrangements to attend HR for a UKVI check (which will be explained in their letter).


  • Departments should not keep any documents with personal data and we would suggest that they be shredded– HR will retain the documents in accordance with HR processes.
  • On the Visitor Notification Form there is a link to the relevant GDPR Privacy Statement. It would be appreciated if departments could bring this to the attention of the Visitor.

Local Induction and IT

  • Departments are asked to provide a basic induction for the individual on their arrival including Health & Safety training, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, an overview of GDPR training and any local procedures and policies
  • After the Visitor has been added to the HR system, the Department should inform the Visitor that HR may arrange for an IT account that will allow them to use the University computer systems, as well as access the library services. The University however recognises that a Visitor may choose to use their own IT equipment and access wi-fi on a facility such as EDUROAM. IT accounts will be closed automatically at the end of the visit, however if there is a business case to continue the IT account for a short period, a continuation form with reasons for the request, should be submitted to CIS.

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Contact us at

Human Resources
Rowan House
Mountjoy Centre
Stockton Road