Visiting Scholar and Visiting Student Researcher Procedures and Policies

We welcome your interest in affiliation as a Visiting Scholar/Visiting Student Researcher with our department. As you consider this opportunity, please read the procedures below and also consult the Visiting Scholars and Postdoc Affairs site.

  1. All Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers must have a faculty sponsor. Please send your CV and an introductory letter which includes your expected arrival and departure dates (these can be approximate) and a brief research proposal to the faculty member you would like to sponsor you. Please note that the English Department cannot provide any funding (airfare, housing, etc.) or office space, nor access to materials or services like copying and printing, but your faculty sponsor will offer guidance and advice.
  2. If you are not a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S., your sponsor will need to know your country of citizenship; see in addition item 6, below.
  3. There are fees associated with a VS/VSR appointment, and additional fees if a visa is required. All visitors are assessed a University Services Fee. This fee covers various privileges and services, e.g. a Cal1 ID card (which also serves as a library card), a Berkeley email address, access to the Recreational Sports Facility, and discounts on public transportation. Unfortunately, this fee is not prorated based on length of stay. Please also note the fee increases if you extend your stay for another year.
  4. Please be aware that Bay Area rents are very high. To assist with your housing search, you may wish to register with Cal Rentals, a rental listing service provided by the University.
  5. All visitors are required to have health insurance. If you do not have a health plan that covers you while you're outside your home state or country, you must purchase health insurance which can be used here. Visit the Gallagher Benefits Services site for more information, including premiums.
  6. Foreign visitors must obtain a J-1 visa in order to take up a Visiting Scholar or Visiting Researcher appointment at Berkeley. When you have obtained faculty sponsorship and funding, the department will facilitate your visa request via Berkeley Regional Services (BRS), a campus administrative unit. BRS will contact you directly about all required documents: the biographical page of your passport, proof of funding requirements for your stay in Berkeley, and proof of English language proficiency (e.g. a TOEFL score or a letter from your home institution or Berkeley mentor). After they have obtained the three documents, BRS will request a DS-2019 from our Berkeley International Office; this is the document you will need to obtain your J-1 visa. This process can take up to 10 business days from the time the International Office receives the documents from BRS. Once you receive the DS-2019, make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy in your country to obtain the J-1 visa. We expect that you will reimburse the Department for the University's visa-processing fee after your arrival. The current fee is $650. Note that this fee is separate from the University Services Fee in section 3, above If you would like to pay the reimbursement by wire transfer, please email John McChesney-Young; for more information; otherwise you can pay by check or money order made out to "UC Regents" or with cash. Unfortunately we are not able to process payments through an on-line system.

Note that the Berkeley International Office recommends a lead time of at least 5 months between the submission to them of a request and the start of the visit.

When you arrive in Berkeley, the Berkeley Regional Services on-boarding team will arrange a meeting to complete arrival documentation. You will also need to meet with John McChesney-Young or Grace De Guzman in 322 Wheeler Hall to pay the visa processing fee (if applicable, and if it was not paid ahead of time). Please contact him to set up an appointment. The fee may be paid in exact cash, via a check or money order made out to UC Regents, or by wire transfer.

Some other items to note:

  • The visa process can take up to 4 months.
  • Do not make a visa appointment until you have your DS-2019 in hand.
  • You can find more information regarding the J-1 visa at the Berkeley International Office J-1 page for visitors.
  • Additional information for all visitors: You must attend a mandatory Scholar Information Meeting (SIM) within two weeks of arrival.
  • With instructor approval, visiting scholars can audit courses. No course credits will be awarded. Scholars should not audit more than one course per semester. Please remember that your primary purpose here is for your own independent research.

Please feel free to email John McChesney-Young if you have any questions regarding this process.