Visa and Brexit information


Nationals of a number of nations do require a visa to visit the UK for work purposes, including scientific conferences. The most up-to-date information can always be found on the UK government website.

You can check if you need a visa here.

Anecdotally, we know that for citizens of some countries visa applications can take a long time to process, and therefore recommend that you start now.

The LOC cannot sponsor individuals to travel to the UK, nor pay for visa applications, nor undertake to act as a financial guarantor. Likewise it is not possible to provide a visa support letter where an individual is not yet registered for the meeting. To avoid embarrassment, please do not ask us to do either of these things.

However, for individuals who are already registered for the meeting, the LOC can provide a letter of support to aid your visa application. Please email to request the LOC support letter as soon as possible.

The letter will detail the conference dates, confirming your registration (and stated attendance dates), and (if you have done so) your abstract submission. We can also indicate the anticipated costs of the meeting, and identify if you have requested financial assistance (by making a travel grant application). Letters will be emailed to you personally in PDF format, and copies held at the Open University on file, in case the UK government requests them. Each individual requiring a letter / visa must request their own visa support letter, and letters are not transferable.

Brexit and Travel for EU Citizens

In 2016, the UK as a whole voted to leave the European Union. This process is called “Brexit.” There have been extensive negotiations about Brexit between the UK and the EU since 2017. These negotiations have not concluded at this point in time (1 November 2018). Thus, it is still not yet understood, whether EU citizens will require a visa to travel to the UK after Brexit. This also depends, if we end up with a “deal” or “no deal” Brexit.

We will try and update this page as soon as issues are known / resolved, but have to say “business as usual” is the best assumption for now – if a “deal” is reached, then the UK will enter a“transition phase” on 29 March 29 2019 which is, at the moment, assumed to last until 31 December 2020, and retain the “freedom of movement of people” until that date (i.e. visa free travel).

Currently, EU citizens can travel for up to 90 days visa free in the UK and visa versa. The UK is NOT a Schengen state, so individuals resident in Schengen areas of the EU, but NOT EU citizens cannot necessarily travel visa free to the UK. If this applies to you we suggest you check if you need a visa by using this link.

Obviously, this situation depends on the very fluent and on-going negotiations (out of our control), which will continue through late 2018 and early 2019 between the UK and the EU. Brexit is scheduled to occur at midnight on 29 March 2019. Thus, we hope that the immediate aftermath of the Brexit process, including the potential impacts of a potential “no deal”, will have subsided, when this conference is held. For now we watch and wait.

[Please note that, in the spirit of the IAU, no political comment on the situation is made here, and by trying to provide the facts to delegates, the LOC does not in any way endorse or criticize the Brexit decision or process, from either the UK or EU “sides.” We trust that this meeting shows all our colleagues world-wide that UK scientists, like all scientists, are open to international collaboration with all people regardless of nationality, and that we wish to welcome all scientists from all countries of the world to our country for scientific exchange, networking, and collaboration.]