Visiting Scholars & Visiting Student Researchers

Visiting Scholar Definition 

Visiting Scholars are individuals who possess a Ph.D. or its equivalent*, and whose primary purpose for residence on the Berkeley campus is to conduct independent research.  The length of stay for a Visiting Scholar is at least one month and, normally, not more than two years.  

*Equivalence can be established through degrees earned at foreign universities, or through personal or professional experience that provides a basis for pursuing the type of research and writing expected of someone holding the Ph.D. degree.  

Visiting Student Researcher Definition – Applicants must satisfy all of the following specifications:

  1. The proposed visit must be to conduct research for the purpose of meeting doctoral degree requirements from another university.
  2. The proposed research must be of mutual interest to and endorsed by an academic department, ORU, or other Berkeley campus unit.
  3. The appointment term must be at least one month and not more than one year in duration.

Please see the Visiting Scholar and Postdoc Affairs (VSPA) website for more information.

Benefits and Privileges – Appointees to the Visiting Scholar and Visiting Student Researcher titles are eligible for a UC Berkeley Cal 1 ID card, a Calmail e-mail account, and access to University library services. There is a $500 annual University Services Fee for these services, which can be paid by the sponsoring faculty or department, or by the scholar. For a full list of Visiting Scholar benefits, click here.

Appointment Process – Please complete the Team 9 Visiting Scholar/Visiting Student Researcher Authorization Form and submit it to your HR Generalist with the scholar's CV, if available. The HR Generalist will solicit required supporting documents from the scholar, secure the appointment approval, and, if necessary, process the DS-2019 application for a J-1 visa.

Processing Times – In order to allow ample processing time, please notify Team 9 HR of any Visiting Scholar or Student Researcher actions as early as possible. The processing time required depends on the scholar's visa status. Please see below for the length of time before the appointment start date that Team 9 should receive the Authorization Form:

  • Visiting Scholar/Student Researcher Action (Appointment, Renewal, etc.) without visa: 2 weeks.
  • Initial J-1 visa: 4-5 months, depending on country of origin. Please see the J-1 Process Overview for a timeline and list of steps necessary to bring a J-1 scholar to the US.
  • J-1 extension: 2 months prior to expiration of current DS-2019.

J-1 Visa  Scholars pursuing research at UC Berkeley may be eligible for J-1 status for up to five years. International scholars entering the country for the purpose of a Visiting Scholar or Visiting Student Researcher appointment must be on a J-1 visa.

J-1 Visa Fees:

  • Berkeley International Office recharge fee: $410 (except UCB J-1 extensions)
  • Berkeley International Office recharge fee: $200 (UCB J-1 extensions)
  • Berkeley International Office expedite fee: $200 (for DS-2019 processing in fewer than 10 business days)

Supplementation – Visiting Scholar and Visiting Student Researcher positions are not compensated. However, units may provide a stipend of up to $10,000 per year. Such stipends can be used to cover expenses such as living expenses, travel costs, and incidental research expenses, but not as a form of salary compensation. Your HR Generalist can provide you with the Visiting Scholar Payment Request Form to initiate this process.

Health Insurance – All international and domestic visiting scholars and visiting student researchers are required to maintain medical coverage that meets specified benefits levels. They and their dependents can enroll in the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan (UCBVSBP), or choose the United Chinese plan if they are eligible. Scholars can also show proof of medical coverage and opt out of the benefit plan. Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers will not be granted access to campus services until they have satisfied the insurance requirement. The Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan meets the J-1 visa requirements established by the U.S. State Department. Click here for more information.

Getting Started at UC Berkeley

  1. Immediately upon arrival, the Visiting Scholar or Student Researcher should meet with the HR Generalist to complete intake paperwork. The Generalist will enter the scholar's appointment and send the scholar his or her CalNet ID number. The Generalist will also notify the International Office of the arrival of J-1 scholars.
  2. If the sponsoring faculty member or department will not cover this cost, the scholar can pay the $500 University Services Fee online.
  3. Three days after the fee has been paid, the scholar can get a Cal 1 ID Card from the Cal 1 Card Office, located at 180 Cesar Chavez Center, Lower Sproul Plaza. The scholar must take his or her CalNet ID number and a government-issued identification card (passport or driver's license). The scholar should request a token to activate his or her CalNet ID.
  4. Within 31 days, the scholar must complete the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan online enrollment or waiver form at the Garnett-Powers website.
  5. J-1 scholars are required to attend a Scholar Information Meeting at the International Office to review requirements of the J-1 program.
  6. International scholars who will receive supplementation should apply for a Social Security Number two weeks after arrival and then provide the number to the HR Generalist.  Note that for security reasons, Social Security Numbers should not be sent via email.  Fax or phone messages are secure.
  7. To secure library-borrowing privileges, Visiting Scholars need to present their Visiting Scholar ID card at the privileges desk in 198 Doe LibraryMain Circulation Desk, 510.642.3403.  Visit their website for more information.