Getting a temporary visa to do short-term research in the UK

If you want to come to the UK for a maximum of two years to gain research experience, training, take part in a research collaboration or skill development, you will need a Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) visa (Temporary Work).

If you’ve already got funding for a research project or fellowship in the UK, you should apply for the Global Talent visa instead. See getting a Global Talent visa to do research in the UK.

The GAE visa (Temporary Work) is for eligible researchers seeking to take part in:

  • exchange schemes
  • internships
  • fellowships
  • secondments
  • scholarships
  • sponsors
  • training programmes
  • work experience

A scheme can be authorised by:

  • the government
  • UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) providing endorsement for use of the scheme on behalf of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology

See the list of government authorised exchange schemes (GOV.UK).

The UKRI GAE scheme mirrors the GAE scheme for UK higher education institutes. The definition of researchers and the permitted activities are the same under both schemes.

Applying for a Government Authorised Exchange visa (Temporary Work)

Sponsored researchers include academics, researchers, scientists, research engineers or other skilled research technology specialists who will be hosted through an approved research institute for a maximum of two years, in a supernumerary role.

All applications for the GAE visa (Temporary Work) are made via GOV.UK.

This is where you can find more information on:

  • how long the application process takes
  • how much it costs
  • how long you can stay in the UK
  • what you can and cannot do

Find out how to apply for a Government Authorised Exchange visa (Temporary Work) (GOV.UK).

The GAE (Temporary Work) visa is not a visitor visa and should not be used by visiting academics. Please see visit the UK as a Standard Visitor (GOV.UK) for more information on visitor visas.

Ask a question about the Government Authorised Exchange (Temporary Work) visa

If you think your organisation may be eligible for the scheme and you’d like to discuss this further, please contact globalmobility@ukri.org

If you have a GAE licence but would like to discuss using the scheme in more detail, please contact globalmobility@ukri.org

Last updated: 12 October 2023

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