Visitors to Biochemistry

Visitor Experience


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.


Due to the current Covid situation, we are unable to guarantee that the Department will be able to physically host visitors. 



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, printing facilities and a workspace (where possible) with IT facilities in the department. All visitors can attend open events, workshops and informal gatherings.


You can read more HERE about the types 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 your 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: Please note that if your visit is over 6 months and you need to apply via the Recognised Student route, 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 find a list of colleges here. Please note that there is a separate fee for college association: you will find details on individual college websites.


Visas and Work Permits

Please contact your host well in advance of your proposed visit start date in order to discuss visa arrangements.

Please note that you will need to wait until you are accepted as Biochemistry Visitor before you apply for a visa. Once accepted we will provide a letter of support to facilitate your visa application that will be given to your host and then to you.

The following will apply for academic visitors:

  • If you will not be undertaking paid employment as part of your visit, you will need to apply as an Academic under the Standard Visitor Visa.
  • If you will be collaborating on a research project hosted by the University and receiving a salary, you will need to apply as a Sponsored Researcher under the Temporary Worker - Government Authorised Exchange (T5) visa; the University will need to assist with the submission of your application.

For students:

  • Up to six months: 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; if this is successful we will supply the letter of support to facilitate your entry to the UK as a visitor under the Visitor Visa
  • More than six months: Please submit your application to the department. If accepted by the Department, you will then need to submit an application to the University Recognised Student Scheme in order to then apply for a Student visa. We will supply the necessary letter of support from our Department, confirming your visit, to facilitate this process. Please note that without the Student Visa you will not be able to enter the UK. You should allow an extra three months in the overall application process for this step. It is recommended that you consult the University website and the UK Government website before applying, as applying for a Student visa requires additional documentation, in particular evidence of English language proficiency from a recognised provider.


ATAS (Academic Tehnology 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 (


Please read more in the tab Right to work and in the tab about External visitors to our Department.


Covid-19 Requirements

All visitors to the UK are currently required to take a COVID-19 test less than three days before you travel to the UK. This can be either a PCR test or a lateral flow device (LFD) test. Whichever test you choose, it must be from a reputable supplier. You will need to have documentation of a negative result before you are allowed to travel, and will also need to provide proof upon entry to the UK. Go to the UK Government website for more information about tests before you travel. The University and colleges will not meet the costs of tests for visitors. Please note that you will also be required to quarantine when travelling to the UK and we are afraid there are no exemptions to this quarantine. However, this may change closer to the time of your intended visit.

If you are from a country on the ‘red-list’ you must read the latest Government guidance about whether you are able to travel, or whether you will need to quarantine in a government approved hotel.

On Biochemistry premises, all visitors must follow the Departmental guidance on social working.

You can read the University updates regarding Covid-19 under this link.


Whether you are planning to visit the Biochemistry building, or you are invited by someone from the Department, there are some rules that need to be followed.

General information

Who is considered as a visitor?

A visitor is generally considered to be someone who comes from another academic institution, for a single specific visit to Oxford, typically lasting from one week to one year, during which time they are based and work in the department and are provided with departmental and university facilities.


  • A visitor is considered to be an individual visiting the department who will be carrying out some form of activity related to the work of the department.
  • A University-hosted research project is considered to be a programme of research for which the University receives specific funding.
  • A visitor is said to be working on such a project if he/she has been invited to carry out (whether paid or unpaid) an identified sub-programme of research within the project.


We consider as visitors in our Department also students from outside the University, students applying for work experience or internship, internal summer students, and virtual access visitors.


You can read more in the tabs on this site and here

Biochemistry types of visitor

In Biochemistry we have two types of a visitor:


Internal visitors

Internal visitors have their University card and existing University e-mail address. They come from a different Department or College.

Please contact your Biochemistry host for forms completion and access.

For more information please see the tabs below.



External visitors

External visitors do not have a University card or University e-mail address when they first arrive in the Department.

External visitors must have a valid right to work in the UK - see the Staff Immigration Team website.

For more information, including the categories of external visitors, please click this link


Online process

All internal and external visitor forms are now online.

The procedure is divided into two main parts: the Host Form and the Visitor Registration Form.

Please note that the biochemistry supervisor and a visitor should receive at the end of submission an email, from the biochemistry administration, confirming access. If you haven't received any information, please contact HR.

Right-to-work checks and Health and Safety Induction need to be arranged prior to the visit and attended.


Arriving to the building and Departmental Induction

All visitors who require access to departmental facilities will be asked to contact the Departmental Supervisor and complete a Visitor Registration Form. They will need to confirm that they have the appropriate visa or right to visit the department.


All other visitors, need to contact their host to follow the next steps: parking, on arrival, and safety.

If the visitor requires a visa or is a visa national, a check will be made of their visa and a copy of their passport and visa (if applicable) kept. This needs to be confirmed latest ON THE DAY OF ARRIVAL of the visitor in the Department. The department is required to record this information to comply with UK Visa and Immigration regulations. Failure to comply can result in individual fines.  

Categories of Biochemistry external visitors are available here.

Parking in the science area is restricted. The Department only has a limited number of spaces available for allocation. Visitors are advised to have a space booked in advance of their visit and this should be arranged with the person who they are visiting. To do that, please contact reception:, 01865 613200.

Please report to the Main Reception. The reception will contact you with your host.

You must always be accompanied by your host in the department. We place a very high value on Health & Safety and we will ensure that this visit is a safe one. 


 Visitors who are using our facilities must go through two Health and Safety Inductions:

 one with Deputy DSO where you discuss your individual projects and risks (BEFORE you start in the lab, please arrange this appointment directly with Deputy),

 and another 'General' safety induction if you are staying longer than a week (please contact DDSO regarding dates).

New to the Department? The online induction for new staff members will help you settle into your new role and find out more about what goes on in the Department.

If you are a visitor or a student, you might find some interesting facts there as well.


Start the Biochemistry induction:

The Online Form must be completed in advance by the academic host (a member of the academic staff of the department) for all prospective visitors to the Biochemistry Department who will be carrying out some form of activity (paid or unpaid) and who, irrespective of their planned length of stay, require access to services during their visit, including access to departmental IT facilities, University Card, desk space. 

For more information, including the types of external visitors, please click this link


This form must be completed before arrival as this helps the Department to make ready any specific requirements and to effectively welcome the visitor. If the visitor approval process has not been completed then the department cannot admit the person and provide any service.

Visits supported by funded research projects will require prior approval within the grant from the funding body to request expenses. Please contact Finances if you are having any questions.

All visitors must be approved by the department prior to their arrival. Please check visitor information available on external and internal pages of our Department.

Information about RTW checks and visitor requirements for crossing the UK border is available in the tabs below.

Please make sure any Visa arrangements or invitation letters are arranged prior to the visit.

You can read about it in the tabs below and on our internal site. If any questions - please contact HR officers.

Please check the government page and this pdf for visa information.

If you are (inviting) a student, please read this page and this link

You can log in using your SSO for more information:

General information about/for visitors

Inviting a visitor - Online Form 

External Visitors

Internal Visitors

Right to work check

Short stay visitors (i.e. for two weeks or less) will be issued with a Visitor's pass (available at the Reception), which must be worn throughout the visit.

Please collect your visitor's pass on the day of their arrival.

If you have booked a parking space, your visitor will also be issued with a parking permit which should be displayed on the dashboard and returned, together with your Visitor's pass, to Reception on leaving.

You must always accompany your visitor in the department. We place a very high value on Health & Safety and we will ensure that this visit is a safe one. As the host, please make your visitor aware of any relevant Health & Safety procedures and we would ask your visitor to follow any instructions given - especially in relation to fire evacuation procedures.

There are costs associated with hosting visitors such as the provision of space and IT facilities. For this reason, visitor hosts are asked to explore with the prospective longer-term visitor, whether there is funding available to cover these costs. For example, from a research grant.

The applicability and level of bench fees to be charged by the department, should be discussed with the Associate Head in advance of a visitor application being submitted.

Separate payment will be expected from all visitors for large volumes of photocopying or large items of postage.

If you are paying expenses to your visitor from a grant held by you, please discuss this with the Finance Manager. Your grant will specify the payments that are permitted within the grant conditions. The Finance Manager will be able to confirm the details before you submit your application. This will include any expenses and how you would like payments to be made.

Any expenses that you would like your visitor to receive from your grant, should be confirmed before the application is made.

Please note that visa expenses cannot be claimed from grant funds.

We kindly ask you to submit the form at least two weeks (Internal visitors) or six weeks (External visitors) before the planned visit/arrival, to allow completion of the approval procedure.


If you are inviting a graduate student (Rotation or otherwise), please don't use this form, contact the Graduate Studies Office in the first instance.


  1. The Host (Supervisor) Form:
    • Completed by the Sponsor/Host;
    • Supervisor should check with Finance if expenses are to be paid:
          1. The Sponsor/Host to discuss with the Finance Manager;
          2.  Expense Claim Form;
  2. Online Host Form sent for Administration approval.
  3. A supervisor form will now be processed and the following actions will happen:
  • Departmental approval or rejection. If approved:
          1. The Visitor Registration form (second step) will be sent to the visitor;
          2. Letter/s of invitation and Confirmation of Arrival forms must be completed by supervisor and visitor prior to arrival (if required);
          3. Right-To-Work - EEA/UK and/or Visa check have to be conducted (if required);
          4. Visitor or University Card allocated to the visitor (if required);
          5. IT account/access approved;
          6. Access to the facilities is confirmed via an official administration email sent to the visitor and supervisor.
  • If rejected – an official administration email is sent to the Supervisor.


Failure to provide all of the required documents may delay your visitor's access to Biochemistry and/or its facilities.


All internal and external visitor forms are available online. The procedure is divided into two main parts: the Host Form and the Visitor Registration Form.

RTW checks and H&S Induction have to be arranged prior to the visit and attended on the first day of arrival to the Biochemistry.

A right to work check is a Home Office process to establish that each employee/casual worker has the right to work in the UK.

Under the 2006 Immigration, Nationality and Asylum Act the University has a duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out document checks to confirm that a person has the right to work in the UK. All employees, casual workers and Tier 5 sponsored visa holders must have their right to work checked before they start work at the University. In addition, those with time- limited right to work in the UK (i.e. those who hold a ‘List B’ document such as a visa) must have a repeat check before their visa/document is due to expire.

Worth checking:

University information about RTW.

University information about visitor visas.

Government official site about Visas and Immigration.


Right to Work checks, strictly in accordance with the Home Office guidance, must be made for:

  • All employees and workers who are paid through the payroll, including casual workers.
  • Tier 5 sponsored visa holders.
  • Employed Tier 4 student visa holders. Most student visa holders have restrictions on the hours they can work, for full guidance see the: additional requirements for employed student visa holders. A record of term and vacation dates must be kept and the student must complete the Tier 4 Student Employment Declaration confirming they are not employed anywhere else in excess of their permitted hours. Where a Tier 4 visa holder is applying to switch into Tier 2 they are permitted to start work during their application for a Tier 2 visa. See Switching from a Tier 4 visa into Tier 2 General for additional information.
  • People doing work experience (except where the individual is under the age of 16).
  • Those undertaking unpaid work.

In addition to staff, departments and colleges should check and record the visa status of:


Worth checking:

University information about RTW.

University information about visitor visas.

Government official site about Visas and Immigration.

It is the visa applicant’s responsibility to ensure that they enter the correct information in their visa application and provide the required supporting documents when submitting their visa application. Should the applicant submit the wrong visa application, or fail to provide the correct supporting documents, the visa application is likely to be refused by the Home Office. Any visa refusals will need to be included in any UK visa application made in the future. If the visa application is refused, the applicant is required to contact their hosting University department or college.


Who needs to apply for a visa before coming to the UK?


1. Visa nationals 

The Home Office separates visitors into visa nationals and non-visa nationals depending on their nationality. 

Visa nationals are required to apply for (and obtain) a visa before travelling to the UK. A list of the countries can be found in the visa national list on the Home Office Immigration Rules Appendix Visitor: Visa national list.

If a visitor is from a country which is not on the visa nationals list, they are classed as a 'Non-visa national'. They are able to travel to the UK without holding a UK visa, but must instead present the documents at the border to an immigration officer. If they satisfy the conditions of the visa they are applying for, the immigration officer stamps the visitors passport. This stamp acts as the visitors visa as it grants the visitor entry clearance to the UK for a temporary amount of time.


2. Academic visitors (and dependants) coming to the UK for over 6 months 

Academic visitors who are coming to the UK for a period of over 6 months will need to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK. This also applies to nationals who are not on the visa national list.

If an Academic visitor is bringing dependants, each dependant will also need to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK (even if they are also classed as a non-visa national).


When to apply for a Visitor visa

Those who need to apply for a visa before travelling to the UK can submit the visa application up to 3 months before the visit is due to commence. 

Dependants can apply at the same time as the main applicant, though each dependant will need to submit a separate application. Dependants cannot apply before the main applicant: they must either submit their application at the same time as the main applicant, or after the main applicant has submitted their application, or after the main applicant’s visa has been granted.


Please note the Home Office advise against booking any flights before the visitor visa has been obtained. 

How and when to apply for a Visitor visa

All visa applications are submitted online on the UK Government website. This is the case for residents of all countries except North Korea. Applicants should ensure they check the Home Office eligibility requirements before applying. In addition, applicants can refer to the Staff Immigration Team's overview of the different UK visa routes


Step 1: Apply online 

The applicant will need to complete an online application form. Guidance and a link to the online application can be found on the Home Office Standard visitor website. Dependants must apply separately and submit an individual application. 

The online application forms are intuitive and only ask for information relevant to the application being made. The Staff Immigration Team is happy to provide guidance on the completion of the application. 

Once an online application has been submitted, the applicant will need to pay the combined visa application and biometric enrolment fee. When the visa application and biometric enrolment application has been paid for, the system will generate two PDF forms: Copy of the visa application and a document checklist. 


Step 2: Book a biometrics appointment 

Once an application has been submitted, the applicants should be automatically directed to book a biometrics appointment at a UK visa application centre in their country of residence. At this appointment, the applicant will enrol their biometrics (photographs and fingerprints) and submit their documents. 

The exact process may differ depending on country, so applicants are encouraged to check the Home Office guidance on how to apply for a UK visa in their country of residence. 


You can read more about Visas here and here.

You can read about University's statement on Brexit here and visit the Staff Immigration website for further information.

More updates you can find under the Information and guidance for EU staff (including FAQ) and Information for current and prospective EU students (Oxford and the EU: student Q&As page).


On the official government site, you can find out how new Brexit rules apply to things like travel and doing business with Europe.


Worth checking:

University information about RTW.

University information about visitor visas.

Government official site about Visas and Immigration.




When you must see a border control officer

You must see a border control officer and get a stamp in your passport if you’re from a non-EEA country and entering the UK:

  • on a short term study visa up to 6 months
  • with a Tier 5 Creative or Sporting certificate of sponsorship for up to 3 months (and you want to enter without a visa)
  • on a permitted paid engagement
  • to accompany or join your EEA family member

You cannot get a stamp if you use the ePassport gates. Without a stamp, you will not be allowed to carry out the activities you came to the UK to do. We suggest you ALWAYS see a border officer.

Check if you need Visa

Traveling to the UK

Study in the UK

Entering the UK

Information for International students is available here


For current University information please see Oxford and Brexit (for staff and students).

Information about all UK visitor categories can be found on the Home Office website.

University information about RTW.

University information about visitor visas.

Government official site about Visas and Immigration.


Please familiarize yourself with:

University Statutes and Regulations

Departmental Visitor Agreement Letter - official University Agreement (included also in the online submission form).


More information about Right-to-work can be found additionally on step by step guide to the Employer Checking Service


The 2021 edition of Oxford Guide (formerly Oxford in Brief) is now available to view HERE