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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Frequently Asked Questions

The University must ensure that it protects both Visitors to the University and the University.

The University must comply with UKVI regulations (if applicable to the Visitor) and needs to be aware of who is on-site (notably if Visitors are working in our laboratory facilities) to ensure health and safety, including the potentiality of an out of hours medical emergency or a need to provide information to the emergency services.

A Visitor will not receive any financial remuneration from the University and the visit is awarded on the understanding that the Visitor will be entirely self-funded or be supported by his/her home University or a third party funder. A Visitor may receive some expenses or reasonable honoraria. This requirement is in accordance with UK immigration policy

In some cases a Visitor may be charged a “bench fee” by their Durham host department.

A Visitor is not an employee of the University and an invitation to become a Visitor does not confer membership of a College.

Each department may apply their own criteria and bench fee. It is suggested that details be provided on the department webpages.

A 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 their leave to carry out research in the UK (for example, to undertake research for a book); or
  • an academic taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK peers; or
  • an eminent senior doctor or dentist coming to take part in research, teaching or clinical practice.

Visitors cannot:

  • receive funding for their work from any UK source (except payments of expenses or reasonable honoraria); or
  • engage in any work other than the academic activity for which they are being admitted as a Visitor; or
  • fill a normal post or a genuine vacancy in the UK.

Please note: non-EEA nationals on sabbatical leave from a private research company cannot be a Visitor, as outlined in this process. They should apply for a visa under Tier 2 or Tier 5 of the points-based immigration system.

Further information is available on the Home Office website here

  • Short-term accommodation may be available in one of the University’s Colleges. To request availability please complete the form available here
  • The University has a dedicated Relocation Manager, Stina Maynard, who is available to offer guidance on a visit to Durham including any accommodation search, area information and useful tips for living in Durham. Please telephone +44 (0) 191 334 6417 or email for more information.