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I'm applying for an UK Standard Visitor Visa from India but I'm a bit caught on what to select on the "Visa type" drop down menu. I am holding an erasmus scholarship and I'm invited to attend a two-day induction ceremony in the UK on 5,6 September 2016 (as part of a three-country mobility programme).I've the invitation letter that also says that my accommodation is booked.

However, I'm planning to travel a week in advance to sightsee etc (tourism purpose). Which one do I choose - "Business(academic)" (note: I'm not attending a conference, rather an induction ceremony) or "tourism"?

It may be noted that I'd travelled to the same destination (Edinburgh) around 8 months ago on a vacation. I'd be grateful for any suggestion/response to this. Thanks again!

D.

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    "Business (Academic)" usually means you are doing academic research, attending a conference, or attending meetings with fellow researchers or fellow academics. You could be a PhD student or a Masters-by-Research student who is there to perform his own, independent research towards a qualification, but I don't think it is intended for students attending formal lectures or attending structured teaching. – Calchas Jun 8 '16 at 10:26
  • Yes, precisely why I was concerned that putting it under that visa sub-type might be a bit tricky. – D.Phish Jun 8 '16 at 10:34
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    However, putting it entirely under tourism and then showing that there's a part of the trip that's sponsored also sounds tricky! :/ – D.Phish Jun 8 '16 at 10:34
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    I honestly think that whole trip is just "tourism". The "ceremony" is just tourism; it's neither business nor academic. The fact is: you're going to Scotland for a party, that's all. Tourism. – Fattie Jun 8 '16 at 12:02
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Since you will be sightseeing also, I would recommend the tourist visa. It is fine to attend an induction/conference while being a tourist, however, in order to qualify for a academic visit visa, you need the following requirements, as laid out in paragraph V4.22 in the immigration rules:

V 4.22 An academic applying for a 12 month visit visa (standard) must intend to do one (or more) of the permitted activities set out in paragraph 12 of Appendix 3; and:

(a) be highly qualified within their own field of expertise; and

(b) currently working in that field at an academic institution or institution of higher education overseas; and

(c) if required under paragraph A39 and Appendix T Part 1 of these Rules, provide a valid medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner listed in Appendix T Part 2 of these Rules confirming that they have undergone screening for active pulmonary tuberculosis and that this tuberculosis is not present in the applicant

FYI: Paragraphs 11 and 12 of Appendix 3 (referenced in the same document above):

11 Scientists and researchers may:

(a) gather information and facts for a specific project which directly relates to their employment overseas;

(b) share knowledge or advise on an international project that is being led from the UK, provided the visitor is not carrying our research in the UK.

12 Academics may:

(a) take part in formal exchange arrangements with UK counterparts (including doctors);

(b) carry out research for their own purposes if they are on sabbatical leave from their home institution;

(c) if they are an eminent senior doctor or dentist, take part in research, teaching or clinical practice provided this does not amount to filling a permanent teaching post.

Unless all of these apply to you, you should not apply for a academic visit visa. Even if they do apply, you should stick to tourism because you will be sightseeing, and that may interfere with how the ECO perceives your intended purpose for your visit to the UK.

  • Even though the sightseeing takes up more time in the proposed itinerary, the principal purpose of the visit seems to me to be the attendance of the scholarship induction. That suggests to me that using a tourist visa may not be permissible. – Calchas Jun 8 '16 at 11:01
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    @Calchas how does that suggest a tourist visa not being permissible? Cite an official document that says attending an induction ceremony does not fall under a tourist visa. Moreover, it is still obviously not possible for OP to travel under the academics visa from the information he has provided in the OP. – Joel Damien Jun 8 '16 at 11:09
  • The applicant is not permitted to study (para V 4.8) under a tourist visa, except a short course at a non-accredited institution. Does attending an induction ceremony count? (Is this an academic matriculation or does it form part of the teaching? This needs to be qualified.) I don't know. But it's worth thinking about before recommending this visa category. – Calchas Jun 8 '16 at 11:22
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    I know several people (I was invited myself, but didn't go) who have used tourist visas to attend university interviews and open days. I don't see how those are any different from an induction/matriculation ceremony. There is no teaching, nor studying that takes place during these events, coupled with the fact that there is no other visa category that OP would qualify for under these circumstances leaves very little room for doubt that this is the correct visa category for OP based on the circumstances he has described in his question. – Joel Damien Jun 8 '16 at 12:08
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    A Standard Visitor Visa covers an induction ceremony. – Gayot Fow Jun 8 '16 at 14:06
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it is better to choose business(academic) visa for that purpose because you have an invitation letter that says that your accommodation is booked. It may help you to get your visa easily. Further you can switch from your visitor visa to student visa as it was part of the conditions you (implicitly) agreed to when it was issued.

  • I'd not be switching to the student visa in the UK on this...I'll be holding a student visa for France because that's where I'm headed to study first. – D.Phish Jun 8 '16 at 10:31
  • Oh, and my accommodation for the previous week of sightseeing is done by me. It's just the accommodation for those three days of the ceremony that's booked by the university. – D.Phish Jun 8 '16 at 10:35

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