Standard Visa Visitor Route

(the appropriate route for both Business Visitor and Academic Visitor)

  1. Overview
  2. Eligibility
  3. Guidance on Supporting Letter from Host

The content of this guidance document is a summary of the Standard Visitor Visa Guidance. To view the guidance in full please visit  

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa if you want to visit the UK for business-related activities, e.g:

  • You’re coming to the UK for a conference, meeting or training
  • You want to take part in a specific sports related event
  • You’re an artist, entertainer or musician coming to the UK to perform
  • You’re an academic and are doing research or accompanying students on a study abroad programme

What you can or cannot do

You can

  • Take part in any of the business-related activities mentioned in the visitor rules
  • Study for up to 30 days, as long as it’s not the main reason for your visit

You can’t

  • Do paid or unpaid work
  • Live in the UK for long periods of time through frequent visits
  • Get public funds

Duration of Stay

  • For up to 6 months
  • You may be eligible to stay longer if you’re an academic on sabbatical and coming to the UK for research – you, your spouse or civil partner may be able to stay for up to 12 months.

You must always show that:

  • You’ll leave the UK at the end of your visit
  • You’re able to support yourself and any dependents for the duration of your trip
  • You’re able to pay for your return or onward journey and any other costs relating to your visit
  • Any business or other activities you want to do in the UK, as allowed by the Visitor rules


You can stay in the UK for 12 months if you are applying as an academic.  You must prove you are highly qualified within your field of expertise, on sabbatical leave from your home institution and visiting to either:

  • Take part in a formal exchange within a UK counterpart
  • Carry out your own research
  • Take part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice, as long as this doesn’t involve filling a permanent teaching post.
Guidance on Supporting Letter from Host

The Letter of support should state the following:

  • The duration of stay
  • The dates of visit
  • The Academic visitor’s employer
  • The Academic’s field of expertise and status with employer
  • The reason for visit (sabbatical, exchange, or outlining the research to be undertaken).  The term “collaborative research” should be avoided.
  • Why you are willing to host the academic visitor
  • That the academic is not filling any post within the University
  • That there will be no payment made to the academic visitor
  • That they will return to their employer at the end of their stated visit
  • Any additional information you deem appropriate in supporting the application.

Please note:

  • That the supporting letter does not guarantee the issue of an Academic Visitor Visa.
  • That the supporting letter from the Academic visitor’s employer must not contradict the supporting letter from the Host.
  • The University of Aberdeen has no responsibility to monitor visiting Academics to the institution.

* Accurate as at date published – 11/02/2016


For additional guidance and information please click below: