Visitors to Biochemistry

Please note that from July 2023 there will be a new visitor process for Biochemistry visitors. Updates will follow soon.


The Department of Biochemistry welcomes academic visitors and other visitors who wish to benefit from Oxford’s vibrant research culture and contribute to activities within the department.

The Department visitor programme exists to facilitate links and collaboration with other universities, governments and organisations, both in the UK and overseas, and to allow academics and other visitors the opportunity to collaborate in joint research with the department’s academics and allow the opportunity to work with leading academics and professionals.


Your first steps to arranging a visit to Oxford as a visiting researcher include finding an academic host who is willing to support your application to visit, and working out which visa you will need.

Links to Oxford’s many departments and research centres can be found here. Before making a formal application to your intended host department, you will need to:

  1. Identify an academic who is willing to act as your academic host and mentor during your visit to Oxford. If your chosen mentor is unable to support your visit, contact the departmental administrator for advice.
  2. Send a clear research proposal to your intended academic host, outlining your plan for your time in Oxford (and note, if you intend to work on a collaborative project you will need to start this process 4-6 months before you arrive).    
  3. Check whether the host department has a specific application process for academic visitors, and if so, whether applications are accepted on a rolling basis or whether any deadlines apply.
  4. Obtain a letter of support for your visit to Oxford from your home institution – you will need this as part of your application.
  5. Check whether your host department charges Visitor Fees or Bench Fees.

In order to apply, most departments will expect you to include:

  • A visitor programme application form
  • A current CV
  • A Letter of Support from the academic who is supporting your visit
  • A letter from your home institution, confirming approval of your proposed visit to Oxford
  • Evidence of how you intend to fund your visit.


More information is available on the University's official site:






Departmental Host (Supervisor)
Each visitor must be supervised by a departmental host (supervisor) who will supply a letter of support as part of your application (if required); provide advice on collaborations, events, and other research activities; and introduce the visitor to relevant members of staff.


Visitor Contribution
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, 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. Visitors are asked to provide an account of their activities within the department at the end of their stay. 


Resources for Visitors
In addition to the support of an academic host, visitors staying longer than a month will be provided with:

  • a University card,
  • University email,
  • access to library services,
  • IT and printing facilities,
  • a write-up space (provided by your Host group, may be in our open-plan areas)
  • access to laboratory bench space if required
  • building access (via University card) including cafe area

All visitors can attend open events, workshops, and informal gatherings.


You can read more about the categories of Biochemistry visitors.


Departmental Host

Each visitor must be supervised by a departmental host (supervisor) who will supply a letter of support as part of visitor application (if required); provide advice on collaborations, events, and other research activities; and introduce the visitor to relevant members of staff and other contacts.

Biochemistry visitors are responsible for managing their own research activities and work agenda whilst in Oxford and normally will work independently. The visitor's Supervisor will offer advice and support wherever possible, although this may in practice be limited due to the host’s term-time and other commitments.

It is recommended that the prospective visitor consider who in the department might be able to offer a letter of support, and contact him/her for advice before applying. Browse our list of academic members of the Department.


Timing your visit

Visitors may join the department for a maximum of one year. A longer stay is usually accepted with Funding/ Fellowship. 

The timing of visits is an important consideration, as the atmosphere of the department changes across the academic year.

Applicants are advised to time their visit to coincide with one of Oxford’s three terms, as colleagues are more likely to be available during these times, and visitors who wish to participate in a full calendar of events and other similar research activities should aim to visit in Michaelmas or Hilary terms.

Conversely, if looking for a quieter working environment, you may prefer to visit in Trinity term or the long summer vacation.



Visitor Charges


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, unless these form part of a visiting fellowship grant.

In addition to the support of a departmental host, visitors staying longer than a month will be provided with a University card, University email, access to library services, printing facilities and a workspace (when available) with IT support in the department. Visitors are welcome to attend open seminars and guest speaker events throughout the University.

  • For academic visitors: 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. 


  • For visiting students: Our Department can accept student visits lasting up to three months. Please note that if you plan a visit for over 6 months, you will need to apply via the Recognised Student route, and the fees for your stay will be greater. It is recommended that you consult the University's fees web pages for further information.


Colleges provide a hub for social events, interdisciplinary interaction and can provide additional support during your visit. 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 as being accepted as a student visitor to the Department does not automatically come with College affiliation. Please note that there is a separate fee for college association: you will find details on individual college websites.



Please contact your host well in advance of your proposed visit start date in order to discuss visa or ATAS arrangements. Your Immigration Team should be the first contact for your queries.


The Visitor is responsible for obtaining a visa to travel to the UK if one is required, and will need to present the visa on arrival at the Department. If the correct visa has not been obtained the visitor will be turned away. 
A tourist visa is not acceptable proof of the right to be in a UK workplace under current Home Office legislation.


Right-to-work (RTW) check is required for British and Irish nationals as well as for any non-UK nationals.

While we can allow some of the documents to be shown online, the proper RTW check must happen in person on the first day of the visitor’s arrival at the department.

  • British and Irish nationals: must present a valid or expired passport, or birth certificate and National Insurance number, that is verified in-person prior to work commencing. 
  • All other non-UK nationals: where using the online right to work system, verification can take place either in-person or by video call prior to work commencing.
  • New arrivals of non-UK nationals: where presenting a 90-day travel vignette inside their passport (if they were unable to access the online system) must be verified in-person prior to work commencing. A follow-up check using the online system then needs to be completed as soon as possible. 



The following will apply for academic visitors:

For students:

  • We can offer an option of a visit lasting up to six months only: In order to visit the UK you will need a letter of support from our Department, confirming your visit. Please submit your application to the department at least 8 weeks before planned arrival; if this is successful your supervisor will supply the letter of support to facilitate your entry to the UK as a visitor under the Visitor Visa. This is the best option if you would like to conduct a short piece of independent research (up to a maximum of 6 months) that is relevant to your course overseas.  
  • Internships would be classed as unpaid work placement and these are not permitted under the visitor visa route.


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.

An Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate (ATAS Certificate) is required if:

  • you are subject to UK immigration control  and
  • you are not of a nationality that is exempt from ATAS and
  • you have chosen to study a course in certain 'sensitive' subject areas  

Please see the other tab.

Applications for a Visitor Visa do not require an ATAS certificate before submitting a visa application. However, the visit cannot begin until the certificate is provided to the host Department.


Any person found working on the premises without permission will be treated as trespassing.


ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme)

From 21 May 2021, relevant international researchers applying for permission to enter or stay in the UK under the Skilled Worker, Temporary Worker – Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) or Visitor immigration routes must apply for an ATAS certificate. The ATAS requirement only applies to certain nationalities, and in certain roles and research fields where the UK government considers that individuals’ knowledge could be used in programmes to develop Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT) or weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) or their means of delivery, research which could result in the Intangible Transfer of Technology (ITT) to WMD and ACMT programmes of concern and any activity which may be “against the UK’s national interests”.

An Academic Technology Approval Scheme Certificate (ATAS Certificate) is required if:

  • you are subject to UK immigration control  and
  • you are not of a nationality that is exempt from ATAS and
  • you have chosen to study a course in certain 'sensitive' subject areas  

The ATAS requirement affects research, academic, engineering and technician staff applying for Skilled Worker visas and Sponsored Researchers applying for Government Authorised Exchange visas as well as visiting academics and researchers.

An ATAS certificate is valid for a period of six months from the date of issue. You must ensure that you have received ATAS clearance before making your visa application. Your visa application will be refused if you do not have an ATAS Certificate. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office takes between four and six weeks to issue ATAS clearance, although it can sometimes take longer.

Once ATAS clearance is granted, it will provide you with a certificate which you will need when making your visa application. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will also inform the University that it has issued you with clearance. 

You should apply for ATAS clearance when you receive module information from us, and at least six weeks before you intend to apply for your visa.

It might be required even if you plan a one-day visit to the chosen Department. Please always contact your Host prior to any action.


Common Aggregate Hierarchy (CAH3)

All subject areas studied at UK Higher Education Institutions are identified by CAH3 code. Your HEI or research institute will provide you with a CAH3 code and confirm whether you require an ATAS certificate. ATAS uses V1.3.4 of the CAH3.

You should know your home institution's CAH3 code and designed destination CAH3 code. Your department should provide you with a letter for ATAS if your visit will be pre-approved.


If you have offers from more than 1 higher education institutions or research institutes

An ATAS certificate shows details of the course or research and higher education institution (HEI) you have applied to for clearance.

If you have more than 1 offer from different HEIs you’ll need to apply for separate ATAS clearance certificates for each HEI and programme of study.

You’ll need a new ATAS certificate if you change courses or research, or if you want to apply for further permission to stay in the UK.

Who must apply for ATAS?


You will need an ATAS certificate where you meet all 4 of the following criteria:

    1. Visa type

You are submitting an initial or extension application in one of the following visa categories: 

• Sponsored staff applying for a Skilled Worker visa; or

• Sponsored Researchers applying for a Government Authorised Exchange visa; or

• Visitors applying for a Visitor visa where research as part of a permitted activity is subject to the ATAS condition


You already hold a relevant immigration status (Tier 2/Skilled Worker/Tier 5/Government Authorised Exchange/Tier 4/Student Visa) and will be undertaking new/additional/different research activity from your current research/study

If you are applying for another visa type e.g. Global Talent Visa, you do not require ATAS clearance. 


    1. Nationality

You are a non-EEA national who requires permission to be in the UK.

Nationals of the following countries are exempt and do not require ATAS clearance: UK/Ireland, EEA, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and USA.


    1. Role type
  • For Skilled Worker/Government Authorised Exchange visas

If you are in a role that falls under one of the following Standard Occupational Classification codes and will undertake research at a PhD level as part of the role:

• 2111 Chemical scientists* • 2112 Biological scientists and biochemists* • 2113 Physical scientists* • 2114 Social and humanities scientists* • 2119 Natural and social science professionals not elsewhere classified* • 2150 Research and development managers* • 2122 Mechanical engineers • 2123 Electrical engineers • 2124 Electronics engineers • 2127 Production and process engineers • 2129 Engineering professionals not elsewhere classified • 2311 Higher education teaching professionals* • 3111 Laboratory technicians • 3112 Electrical and electronics technicians • 3113 Engineering technicians • 3114 Building and civil engineering technicians • 5235 Aircraft maintenance and related trades

*Previously known as designated PhD level SOC codes

  • For visitor visas

If you’re a researcher undertaking science and academic activities, including:

• gathering information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to your employment overseas, or to support independent research

• taking part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts

• carrying out research for your own purposes or as a group If you’re a researcher attending meetings, conferences, seminars or interviews, or giving speeches, and will not be undertaking research during your time in the UK, you do not require ATAS clearance.


    1. Research field

If your field of research is in a subject set out in the list of Academic Subjects/Fields of Research relevant to ATAS:

Subjects allied to Medicine:

CAH codes:

CAH02-02-01 - Pharmacology

CAH02-02-02 - Toxicology

CAH02-02-03 - Pharmacy

CAH10-01-06 - Bioengineering, Medical and Biomedical Engineering


Biological Sciences

Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects

Physical Sciences

Mathematical and Computer Sciences



CAH03-01-02 - Biology (non-specific)

CAH03-01-03 - Ecology and Environmental Biology

CAH03-01-06 – Zoology

CAH03-01-04 - Microbiology and Cell Science

CAH03-01-05 - Plant Sciences

CAH10-03-05 – Biotechnology

CAH03-01-07 – Genetics

CAH02-05-03 - Biomedical Sciences (non-specific)

CAH03-01-08 - Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry

CAH03-01-01 - Biosciences (non-specific)

CAH03-01-10 - Others in Biological Sciences

CAH05-01-02 - Others in Veterinary Sciences

CAH06-01-02 - Agricultural sciences

CAH07-02-01 – Chemistry

CAH10-03-07 - Materials Science

CAH07-01-01 – Physics

CAH07-01-02 – Astronomy

CAH26-01-05 - Others in Geographical Studies

CAH07-04-01 - Physical Sciences (non-specific)

CAH07-04-03 - Sciences (non-specific)

CAH07-04-04 - Natural Sciences (non-specific)

CAH09-01-01 – Mathematics

CAH09-01-02 - Operational Research

CAH11-01-01 - Computer Science

CAH11-01-02 - Information Technology

CAH11-01-03 - Information Systems

CAH11-01-04 - Software Engineering

CAH11-01-05 - Artificial Intelligence

CAH10-01-01 - Engineering (non-specific)

CAH10-01-07 - Civil Engineering

CAH10-01-02 - Mechanical Engineering

CAH10-01-04 - Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

CAH10-01-05 - Naval Architecture

CAH10-01-08 - Electrical and Electronic Engineering

CAH10-01-09 - Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering

CAH10-03-03 - Polymers and Textiles

CAH10-03-01 - Minerals Technology

CAH10-03-02 - Materials Technology

CAH10-03-04 - Maritime Technology

Please read the Government guidance here:


Applications for a Visitor Visa do not require an ATAS certificate before submitting a visa application. However, the visit cannot begin until the certificate is provided to the host Department.


You should check if you need to apply for ATAS clearance:



If you are working in the Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Building but are not employed by the Department of Biochemistry, please contact the Reception Team for Building Induction and SharePoint access.