Our Aims and Objectives

We are the UK association for all those who research, study and teach global development issues

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What is Development Studies

What is development studies and decolonising development.

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Our Members

We have around 1,000 members, made up of individuals and around 40 institutions

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Find out about our constitution, how we are run and meet our Council

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Meet our Council members and other staff who support the running of DSA

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The DSA Conference is an annual event which brings together the development studies community

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Our conference this year is themed "Social justice and development in a polarising world"

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Past Conferences

Find out about our previous conferences

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Study Groups

Our Study Groups offer a chance to connect with others who share your areas of interest

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Students and ECRs

Students and early career researchers are an important part of our community

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Our book series with OUP and our relationship with other publishers

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North-South Research

A series of workshops exploring North-South interdisciplinary research with key messages and reports

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Membership Directory

Find out who our members are, where they are based and the issues they work on

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Visa Information

26–28 June 2024, Hybrid at SOAS University of London

Social justice and development in a polarising world

rights and representation; redistribution and restoration; reproduction and production

Visa Information

If you need a visa invitation letter from the SOAS University of London, please complete this form.

Who needs a visa to enter the UK?

London is in the United Kingdom, so UK visa rules apply to enter for the purposes of the conference. The UK government website has a useful tool to check if you need a visa.

  • On this page, start with your nationality as shown on your passport
  • In ‘What are you coming to the UK to do?’ select Work, academic visit or business
  • In ‘How long are you planning to work in the UK for?’ select 6 months or less

EU nationals residing in the UK with “settled status” leave to remain do not need to apply for a visa, or provide documentation on the border.

USA, EU, EEA, Swiss nationals, along with several commonwealth countries, do not need a visa to enter the UK. However, you may still be asked to provide some documentation at the border.


Documents for Visa-Free Countries

On arrival, you may be asked to prove:

  • you’re eligible for the activities you want to do – we can provide you with a letter to help with this, if you contact us on [email protected]
  • you’ve arranged accommodation for your stay – hotel or hostel booking confirmations
  • you’ll leave at the end of your visit – flight tickets back
  • you’re able to support yourself and your dependents during your trip (or have funding from someone else to support you) – if you have received funding from the DSA, you can show this, otherwise you will need to prove your financial means

This is essentially the same information that you would need for applying to a visa, but you will not need to make an application, rather you will be asked to present these documents at the border.

You will need to see a Border Force officer – do not use the automatic ePassport gates.

Electronic visa waiver to enter the UK

You can apply for a visa waiver if you are a national of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates. You must pay £30 for an EVW. You will need the following documents:

  • your current passport
  • an address in the UK where you will stay
  • details of your journey, including departure and arrival dates and times

You will need to apply online between 3 months and 48 hours prior to arrival in London.

Which visa is best to apply for? 

The Standard Visitor UK Visa is the most appropriate for the purposes of attending the conference.

How do you go about applying?

There is a list of steps you will need to complete in order to obtain your visa to enter for the duration of the conference. It is a good idea to do this in good time, to allow time for waiting times, and the possibility of delays as the conference is happening at the height of the tourist period, or complications caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.

Documents for Visa Application 

Travel Document 

  • You must provide your current passport or other valid travel document with all applications and when travelling to the UK.
  • Some passport holders may need to provide alternative evidence of their identity and nationality.
  • Your passport must have at least 1 page blank if you use it to apply for a visa.


Two passport-size (35×45 mm) photographs in colour, against a white background, no older than six months. Additional requirements are listed here.

Letter of Invitation

We can provide you with a letter inviting you to the conference, outlining your role at the conference and, if applicable, any costs that were funded for you to attend. Fill out the visa data from to get your visa invitation letter.

It may be helpful to also obtain a letter from your home institution with similar details.

Flight details 

In order to prove that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit.

Proof of Accommodation 

Hotel or Hostel booking confirmations.

Proof of financial means

Bear in mind you do not have to provide all of the documents below, just those that apply to you.

  • You will need to provide details of any funding you have received from other sources (any funding received from the DSA will be proven through the letter of invitation)
  • Documents of income status – a headed letter from your employer for example
  • Bank statements (within last 3 months)
  • Building society books (within last 3 months)

Proof of personal circumstances

  • A letter from your education provider if you are a student
  • Confirmation of legal residence if this is different to your nationality on your passport
  • Documents of employment status – a headed letter from your employer for example

If travelling with children

You will need to show a legal document showing your relationship with the child – such as birth certificate or adoption papers.

Any other supporting documentation

It may help to provide other supporting documentation, additional paperwork such as details of previous conferences attended, – titles of papers and dates, locations of conferences – details of any awards you have received, details of publications in your name.

About translating documents: 

The UK has specific rules around official document translations:

If you submit a document that is not in English or Welsh, it must be accompanied by a full translation that can be independently verified by the Home Office. Each translation must contain:

  • confirmation from the translator that it is an accurate translation of the original document
  • the date of translation
  • the translator’s full name and signature
  • the translator’s contact details

Where to Apply?

You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa online before you travel to the UK. You will then need to schedule an appointment at a visa application centre with all the relevant documentation and a copy of your application form.

When should you apply? 

The earliest you can apply is 3 months before. We recommend you apply at least 30 days before you travel, allowing time for any delays caused by various factors, such as the tourist high season, the pandemic, the war in the Ukraine.

How much will it cost?

The standard visitor visa costs £115 (134.78 EUR)

How long will it take?

You will typically have to wait up to 3 weeks to receive a decision on your application for a UK short-term visa

Are there any covid-related restrictions?

From 4am on Friday 18 March 2022, you do not need to take any COVID-19 tests or fill in a passenger locator form when travelling to the UK from abroad. These changes apply whether you are fully vaccinated or not.

However, we advise to keep an eye on developments as things are always changing. You can stay up-to-date with covid news in the UK here.

Other Public Health requirements

You may need to take a Tuberculosis test within 6 months before travelling to the UK. Here is a list of countries the UK requires this from.

About Russian Federation citizens

Although the “Golden Visa” scheme was abolished in 2022, there is no ban on Russian federation tourists in the UK, nor does it seem to be a likely future. You will need to apply for a standard visitor visa in the same way as any other delegate from outside of the exempt territories.

Useful links and further information