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Passports, visas and eligibility to work

On this page you will find general guidance for international staff; there is also additional information available:

  • if you have been, or are in the process of being, sponsored by the University on a Skilled Worker Visa (formerly Tier 2 visa)
  • if you are working for the University in addition to being sponsored by the University as a Tier 4 student 
  • if you are an EEA national with questions following the result of the EU referendum or seeking to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • if you are an academic, researcher or PGR student who is required to hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before applying for a visa to conduct activities in the UK.

Eligibility to work in the UK

Your eligibility to work in the UK will have been checked before you commenced employment. If we are aware that your eligibility to work is of a fixed duration, we will contact you before it expires to establish whether you are seeking to extend your permit. However it is your responsibility to ensure that you apply for proof of your continuing right to work in sufficient time to be able to demonstrate to us that you remain eligible to work. Should your right to work expire, or be otherwise revoked, we will no longer be able to employ you.

Please note that your authorisation to work may restrict you from changing jobs internally, or from working for another employer, and you should check this before making applications.

The government provides employers with a list of acceptable documents that we can accept as proof of your continued right to work. You must be able to provide original documents and will be required to present them in person when requested.


Please ensure that you have a valid passport, if you need to get a new one or if your current passport needs to be revalidated, and do this as soon as possible because the process can take several months.

In some countries passports are gradually being renewed/updated so that they meet the latest international standard. The new passports will be machine readable and contain encoded biometric information (e.g. a digital photograph).

If you are not living in your own country, please check with your embassy whether you need to return to your home country to get a new passport.

Biometric Residence Permits

This compulsory identity card is for migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. They are credit-card sized plastic visa cards issued to those applying overseas for permission to stay in the UK for more than six months, and if you are applying to extend your visa or settle within the UK.

If you are applying to enter the UK, you will be issued with a 30 day vignette (visa in your passport) to enable you to enter the UK but you must then collect your BRP within 10 days from the Post Office designated in your visa application. More information can be found here.


As a general rule, overseas nationals are permitted only to do those tasks for which permission has been granted by the Department for Education and Employment, the Home Office or Immigration Officials. The ease with which the permission is obtained will depend upon your current nationality and your reason for entering the UK. Please note that it is your current nationality which is important and not any permission that you may have to reside in a third country. You can view more information on all the types of working visas online.

Visas for non-EEA family members

If your family members are Non EEA nationals and you are an EEA National, they have the right to live and work in the UK as you do. Further information can be found online.

If your family members are Non EEA nationals and you have (or are applying for) a visa in the UK, your family may be entitled to apply as dependants. More information can be found on the UKVI website.

Settlement or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)

If you are on a Tier 2 or Tier 1 visa and have been legally resident in the UK for five continuous years you may apply for indefinite leave to remain or “settlement”. This does not change your nationality; you will remain a citizen of your country of origin. UKVI provide guidance and a useful assessment tool on their website.

British citizenship

There are different ways you may become a British citizen. If someone is granted British citizenship they are no longer regarded as a foreign national and are not subject to immigration controls. The most common route is called ‘naturalisation’. For information on how to apply for British Citizenship please see the UKVI website.

Academic Technology Approval (ATAS) Scheme

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) now applies to all international researchers, including post-doctoral researchers, visiting researchers, academic staff and PGR students (apart from exempt nationalities) who are subject to UK immigration control.

These members of staff and students will be required to hold an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate before applying for a visa if they their research activities on UK soil could result in the Intangible Transfer of Technology (ITT) to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Advanced Conventional Military Technology (ACMT) programmes of concern.

Researchers coming to the UK as a visitor to the University will also need to apply under Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) before they begin any research subject to ATAS.

If the research focus is changed at any time a new ATAS certificate will be required.

Researchers who have a valid visa and are were employed by the University before 21 May 2021 do not need to retrospectively apply for ATAS approval.

Full guidance is available at:

Further information

If you have any queries about eligibility to work and acceptable documentation please contact