Academic Visitors Programme Policy


The Department of Earth Sciences welcomes academic visitors. Such visitors bring new expertise and perspectives to Oxford, contribute to activities within the Department and benefit from the university’s vibrant research culture. The Programme includes scholars in established posts in other academic institutions, visitors from industrial partners and others with aligned interests. The Visitor Programme exists to facilitate links and collaboration with other universities, industrial partners and organisations, both in the UK and overseas, and to allow academics and visitors the opportunity to collaborate in joint research with the department’s academics. The types of visitor vary in terms, for example, of duration and the visit aims, but this policy aims to set out some guidelines for the department to manage the process and space requirements associated with accommodating and welcoming visitors to the department.

If you are visiting for just a few days (typically conference attendees, seminar speakers or contractors), you will not need to apply to the visitors programme but may need an invitation letter for visa purposes and will need sign in at reception. No services are provided for day visitors. If you are visiting for more than a week and/or are using equipment in the Department, then you will need to apply and sign the Visitors Agreement. If you are visiting for less than a month then please contact our HR Manager, Emma Smith. If you are visiting for more than a month then you will need to apply, as below.

Visitors who are accepted onto the Department’s Visitor Programme will be required to adhere to the University’s Statutes and Regulations, during their visit and to sign the Department’s Visitor Agreement.

How to apply

Your application will need to be supported by a member of Faculty who will supply a letter of support as part of your application and act as your host for the duration of your visit. Prospective visitors are responsible for finding their own academic host and it is recommended that you consider who in the department might be able to offer a letter of support, and contact them for advice before applying. It is the responsibility of the prospective visitor and academic host to communicate before an application is made to arrange the details of the visit, and then ensure that all the required documentation (including the correct visa) is in place. Any visitors arriving without this and without approved visitors’ status will unlikely be able to access the Department, or its resources/ support given resource constraints and/or visa regulations.

Applications to the Academic Visitors Programme will be assessed by the HAF in collaboration with the department’s Management Committee, on suitability of the applicant’s qualifications, background and experience, the proposed contribution to the department’s activities, and the strength of the letter of support from the Academic Host. The Department of Earth Sciences reserves the right to reject applications at its discretion.

Applications are processed on a rolling basis, but all visits will need at least 3 months’ notice before your intended start date, or 6 months if a visa is required.

To make an application you will need to submit the following to
• Completed Application Form
• A current CV
• A letter of support from your academic host
• A letter from your home institution, confirming approval of your proposed visit
• A short biography and a statement of intent (6 months or more)

If you are a currently affiliated with the department already (Researcher/Student) and are applying for Visitor status, then you only need to complete the application form and provide a letter of support from the Academic host (your CV and a letter from home institution are not required) for any visits up to 6 months.  Visitor status for more than 6 months will require a short biography and statement of intent.


Departmental visitors will normally apply for research funding schemes through their home institution in order to fund the cost of their visit. Please note that the department does not provide salary or other financial payments to visitors.

In addition to needing funds to cover living expenses, visitors may be subject to administrative charges and payment for resources used.

A – Oxford based academic visit for less than one month/virtual access only: £100 one off admin fee
B – Oxford based academic visit with access to office facilities: admin fee plus £175pcm (not including lab / experiment costs)
C – Industrial visits: admin fee plus £1000pcm (not including lab / experiment costs)
No charge – Visit less than two weeks (one within a 12 month period) / IRFs and JRFs/ Earth Sciences staff and students within a reasonable time from their leave date (no more than one year)

Fee waivers will be considered under exceptional circumstances only and is at the discretion of the Head of Department.

Payment will be requested from the Department’s HR team ahead of your visit.

What do we offer?

Oxford is a world class institution, and the Department of Earth Sciences is a leader in the field.

Academic Visitors whose visit is approved by the Department are entitled to attend lectures and seminars organised by the Department, access the Libraries and access to a hot desk. However, they are not entitled to accommodation, a permanent desk/office, secretarial facilities, or supervision by a member of the Department’s academic staff.

Subject to visa constraints, visitors have the opportunity to contribute to a wide range of department activities during their stay. This may involve collaborating on a research project, organising an event/seminar, authoring or co-authoring a research paper or working paper, developing a research proposal for external funding or assisting a research centre in developing networks.

Before arriving in the department, visitors of 6 months or longer will be asked to provide a short biography and a statement of what they intend to do during their visit. This information will be added to the Department’s website when appropriate. Visitors are asked to provide an account of their activities within the department at the end of their stay.


Academic Visitors from overseas may need to obtain a visa to enter the UK, and details of this are available from the UK Visas and Immigration Office website. In the event that a Visa or Work Permit is required, please be aware that neither the Department nor any other part of the University is able to assist with any aspect (financial or administrative) of the application. Applicants are required to ensure that they have obtained in advance of their visit any visa which is required in order to enable them to enter the UK under the appropriate status. Please note that you will need to wait until you are accepted as a Visitor before you apply for a visa. Once accepted we will provide a letter of support to facilitate your visa application (the invitation letters should come from the HR Team).

ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme)
An additional requirement that has been introduced is to check whether the academic visitor has to apply to the ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) for an ATAS certificate. This applies to those international students who intend to study at postgraduate level in certain sensitive subjects, where an individual’s knowledge could be used to develop military technology, weapons of mass destruction or the means of delivering weapons.
From 21 May 2021, this will be extended to international researchers, or posts which contain an element of research, at PhD level or above in a sensitive subject, in the following visa routes:
• Initial and extension Skilled Worker and Tier 5 (GAE) Sponsored Researcher visa. The ATAS certificate must be obtained before SIT can issue the Certificate of Sponsorship
• Visiting researchers coming under the Standard Visitor route. The ATAS certificate must be obtained before the individuals commences their research, although it will be strongly recommended they obtain this prior to travelling to the UK.
An application is made to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for an ATAS certificate. Nationals from the EU, EEA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland, South Korea and the USA will be exempt.
Further information can be found at: ATAS Expansion from 21 May 2021 | Staff Immigration (


The Department does not provide accommodation, nor can it assist applicants with finding accommodation in Oxford, although academic hosts and others might offer informal advice.

For accommodation assistance please find information about where to source accommodation at University of Oxford Welcome Service

College Association

If you wish to apply for association with a college for the duration of your visit, you will need to contact the relevant college directly. Please note that there is a separate fee for college association: you will find details on individual college websites. (Browse the full list of colleges). Being accepted as an Academic visitor does not automatically grant College association.


If you are undertaking a PhD/DPhil in a different institution and wish to visit the Department for a period longer than 6 months then you will need to apply via the Recognised Student route. If you wish to visit for a period of less than 6 months then please follow the Student Visitor application process to apply as a Visiting Student. For further details on this please ask Emma Smith in HR

The Department does not accept Undergraduate visitors.

For any queries, please contact

Download Visiting Scholars Application Form