University Visitor Process

The University of Lincoln are proud to welcome visitors from across the world to undertake a variety of activities, including giving lectures, conducting research, sharing knowledge/skillsand acting as examiners. As a Home Office trusted sponsor licence holder, the University has a duty to ensure those we employ or engage have a legal right to be in the UK and appropriate permissions for the engagement in question.

Where a university department or college provides an invitation to an international visitor, they are facilitating their entry to the UK. To ensure that the University are compliant with UK Immigration Law we are required to undertake a right to visit check on every visitor we intend to engage to ensure they are lawfully allowed to be in the UK as part of our overall duty to ‘prevent illegal working’.

Please ensure that the PPC department are aware and have reviewed clearances ahead of entry to the UK. The process and guidance for the engagement of university visitors can be found in the sections below.

University Visitor Process

1. Visitor Registration and Access Request

Please ensure that the registration form Here has been completed. Where you highlight that an international visitor will be visiting the University the registration form will notify the PPC team who will contact the requester to discuss the process below and appropriate engagement template letters.

2. Right to Visit check

All visitors, irrespective of nationality, are required to show their Passport or National Identification Card, and where necessary, a visa appropriate for the activity they are undertaking. 

Where an international visitor requires a ‘visitor visa’ the University is required by law to retain evidence of the permission to work in the UK for the duration of the visit. They will need to report to PPC so that a copy of their passport and visitor visa/stamp can be taken for our records.

3. Visitor Visa Guidance 

The visitor visa route is wide-ranging with several subcategories. It is important that visitors identify the correct visa to cover the proposed activities as selecting an inappropriate subcategory may mean that they cannot fulfil the intentions of the visit.

Visitor Visa Guidance

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

3. Visiting students

For PhD students who wish to come to the UK to complete research for their thesis should be contacted for further information.

4. ATAS requirement

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is a scheme administered by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and is a type of vetting scheme  aimed at preventing the transfer of information, knowledge or technology which could develop, advance or support an Advanced Conventional Military Technology and Weapons of Mass Destruction programme or their means of delivery.

The ATAS Condition may apply to an international visiting researcher coming to the University on a UK Visitor visa and will be undertaking science and academic activities as part of a permitted activity, including:

  • Gathering information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas, or to support independent research.
  • Taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts.
  • Carrying out research for their own purposes or as a group.

If the individual is subject to the ATAS condition, they must apply for, obtain and present the University with a valid ATAS certificate before being registered as a University visitor and before starting the research.

4. Invitation Letter

All visitors require an invitation letter from the University that confirms the purpose & dates of the visit, & which Visitor sub-category they are applying/ entering under. The invitation should formally document precisely what it is they are being invited to do. This will support a visa application, however, will not guarantee a successful application/ entry to the UK. 

Academic Visitor Template

Business Visitor Template 

PPE Visitor Template

5. UK Entry

UK Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)

The UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) is a new scheme as part of the government’s transformation and digitalisation of the UK border. Visitors coming to the UK who do not require a visa for short stays or who do not have any other UK immigration permission prior to travelling to the UK will be required to apply for an ETA in advance of travel to the UK.

Visitors should check Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) for further details and to see if they will need an ETA.

Key Points:

  • The ETA is digital permission to travel to the UK. It is not a visa and does not permit entry to the UK.
  • There is a cost for the ETA, and children will need their own ETA.
  • The scheme will be introduced in a phased approach based on nationality.
  • Visitors are responsible for checking if they require an ETA in advance of travel to the UK. If they do not have one where required, they will not be able to travel to the UK.

For further details, please see the following links:

What is an ETA? (video)

For additional information or help please contact