Information and Application Procedures for Prospective Visiting Scholars
Newly arriving Visiting Scholars/Student Researchers/Paid-Direct Postdocs, please go to
Types of Appointment
Required Health Insurance
Benefits & Privileges
Please add .berkeley.edu to all email addresses.
EECS Faculty hosting Ph.D.-holding Visiting Scholars, view the EECS Policy on Visiting Scholars. Also look at the University's new definitions and policies for Visiting Scholar / Visiting Student Researcher appointments, issued in light of the new union contract with Postdocs. A Visiting Scholar's "primary purpose . . . at Berkeley is to conduct independent research." They cannot be paid a salary. If the plan is for the individual to be employed on your project or someone else's, use one of the Postdoc titles.
The Electrical Engineering (Cory Hall) and Computer Science (Soda Hall) Divisions of EECS are able to accommodate a limited number of visitors each year under the University's Visiting Scholar and Postdoctoral Appointment program (VSPA). Visiting Scholars must be holders of the Ph.D. (conferred) or equivalent.
APPLICATION INFO & DEADLINES: Prospective candidates, initiate contact with your prospective faculty host at least six months before the desired Start date.
First, review the full contents of this webpage, and then look at the EECS Department faculty's research specializations at http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Faculty/Lists/CS/list.shtml (Computer Science) or http://www.eecs.berkeley.edu/Faculty/Lists/EE/list.shtml (Electrical Engineering). Then make direct contact with the faculty member with whom you are interested in working. Only upon receipt of your formal nomination from a Department faculty member can the appropriate staff follow up on your application
EECS DEPARTMENT FACULTY, please read: To ensure completion of the lengthy application process for an on-time arrival, submit your written request for visiting appointments/reappointments, along with the EECS Dept. fee(s), by the deadlines on the table below. Provide:
- specifics on candidate's qualifications, professional status and immigration/citizenship status
- candidate's contact information
- where you have pre-arranged space for the Visitor in the context of Cory, Soda, or Sutardja Dai Hall (CITRIS Building) space allocation processes
- requested dates for the visit (cannot be retroactive)
- a signed IOC showing chartstring to cover the stated processing fee Once the IOC is received, case processing can begin.
Note that it is the responsibility of Scholars and their Faculty Hosts to remember their appointment end-dates, and to plan ahead for possible reappointment requests.
The campus and the Berkeley International Office also have fees for the processing of visiting appointments (see sections below).
An honorary appointment as Visiting Scholar in EECS is contingent on the endorsement of the EE or CS Division Chair, the College of Engineering, the Graduate Division's Visiting Scholar & Postdoctoral Appointment office (VSPA), as well as on issuance of the appropriate visa (if needed) by the Berkeley International Office (BIO).
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Types of Appointment
Postdoctoral appointments are different from Visiting Scholar appointments. UC Postdocs have concluded a labor contract (represented by the United Auto Workers) which now governs their employment in the University. There are two main types of Postdoctoral appointments under UC policy:
"Employee" or "fellow" Postdoc status:
the University issues the salary check
- "Paid-Direct" Postdoc status: the Scholar holds a postdoctoral fellowship from an extramural agency and that agency pays the Scholar directly.
Note, however, that bringing in a Paid-Direct Postdoctoral Scholar still generates costs to the host professor's funds: there are mandatory benefits charges. The faculty host will need to identify the funding source for all such appointments before the case can proceed.
Upon the Postdoc's arrival — including Paid-Direct Postdocs — UCB Human Resources system actions required to formalize the appointment and set up benefits are processed through the Engineering Research Support Office (ERSO) and the VSPA Office.
The VSPA Office also has a program for Visiting Student Researchers who are in the final stages of completing the Ph.D. By rare exception, U.S. undergraduate students can hold the title, but international undergraduates cannot, effective April 2012. Instead, they will be called "Student Intern" and be required to meet a $1600/month funding requirement. There is also a new fee to the host faculty member: $1000 if the undergraduate is fulfilling home-institution degree requirements and needs a visa to enter the U.S. Please see Undergraduate Scholars: J-1 Category Chart. Contact Visiting Scholar specialist Tamiko George, College of Engineering (email@example.com) if you have questions about bringing in undergraduate researchers.
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Fees for Visiting Scholars / Paid-Direct Postdocs
Departmental Processing Fee
(instituted August 1, 2009):
To be paid by Faculty Host at time of Host's submission of the request for appointment/ renewal, via completed and signed IOC. This fee is not to be paid directly by the Visitor (see Note below).
Only upon receipt of completed IOC, plus specifics on your pre-approved plan for seating the candidate, his/her qualifications for the appointment and contact information, and the requested visit dates (cannot be retroactive), can processing of your Visitor's case begin.
→ Incomplete requests, or delayed receipt from Host or Candidate of required information, subject the case to additional processing fees✲.
Type of Visit Visa needs Request due from Faculty Host EECS Processing Fee✲; Vis. Scholar, Vis. Student Researcher, or Paid-Direct Postdoc: Initial Appointment Visa is required 5 months ahead of requested Start date✲ $500 Vis Scholar, Vis. Student Researcher, or Paid-Direct Postdoc: Initial Appointment Candidate is a U.S. Citizen 3 months ahead of requested Start date✲ $350 Appointment Renewal Visa is required 3 months ahead of initial appt End date✲; $400 Appointment Renewal Candidate is a U.S. Citizen 2 months ahead of initial appt End date✲ $250
✲ A "late case" surcharge of $500 will be assessed for any appointment or renewal request received with less advance notice than that stated above, or delayed due to insufficient information from Host or Candidate. For cases involving U.S. citizens (only), the "late-case" surcharge applies when the start date is on or after November 1, 2009 and the complete appointment request was not received the requisite 3 months in advance.
Note: A Faculty Host may—as appropriate—independently arrange for reimbursement of processing fees by a visitor's External Sponsor. Obtain a check (payable to UC Regents) for deposit in the account from which fees were originally paid.
Offers of appointment (oral or written) cannot be extended to a candidate until the appointment case has been fully processed through the Department, College, BIO (when applicable), and campus and approvals received.
Scholarly activities can begin only after the appointment process is completed, including signing of the State Oath of Allegiance, Patent Policy & Patent Acknowledgement when applicable, and necessary BIO-related documents.
Berkeley campus University Services Fee:
Each Visiting Scholar at Berkeley pays a $400 fee which provides a campus identification card and access to facilities such as libraries and campus email. See the facilities section below.
To pay this fee, the Visitor goes to the Industrial Relations Office (IRO) located in 231 Cory Hall. All privileges will remain valid for a maximum of one year from the date of payment.
J-1 visa processing fee:
The Berkeley International Office charges a $410 fee for the processing of the documents needed to secure a J-1 visa (see the J-1 visa section, below; note the visa fee is $1000 for an international undergraduate student seeking the new "Student Intern" title). This payment must be sent by the Visiting Scholar with his/her application form, or be paid directly by the faculty host at the time of application submission. The check or money order must be drawn in U.S. funds, by a bank having a business relationship with a U.S. bank. Checks / money orders should be made out to UC Regents.
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Visiting Scholar / Paid-Direct Postdoc Application Process
Under new UC rules, a Visiting Scholar is defined as an individual possessing a Ph.D. or its equivalent whose primary purpose while at Berkeley is to conduct independent research – not to work on someone else's research project; that requires use of one of the Postdoc titles. The length of stay for a Visiting Scholar is at least one month and, normally, not more than two years. The title is applicable to academics on sabbatical from their home institutions who come to Berkeley to do their own research while on their paid leave.
The approval process consists of three parts: (1) EECS Department approval, (2) UC Berkeley Graduate Division / VSPA Office approval, and (3) J-1 visa approval for international scholars.
An EECS Department Faculty Host must sponsor each visitor's stay. Prospective visiting scholars should first contact the faculty member with whom they would like to work, and explain why it would be useful for their research to visit Electrical Engineering or Computer Science at Berkeley. They must also explain what sources of financial support they will have while in Berkeley. The host faculty member is responsible for arranging space for the Visiting Scholar during his/her time in EECS. Faculty members considering hosting a Visiting Scholar, see the EECS Policy on Visiting Scholars for information.
After receiving written approval from the host faculty member, Visiting Scholars must submit the following documents to the Electrical Engineering Division or Computer Science Division:
- VSPA Visiting Scholar application form [pdf / Word]
Please note that the Patent Acknowledgement form cannot be altered or amended in any way.
- A copy of the latest degree certificate
- A current curriculum vitae (CV)
CANDIDATE APPLICATION DEADLINES: To ensure completion of the lengthy application process for an on-time arrival, prospective visitors should initiate contact with their prospective faculty hosts at least six months before the desired Start date.
Candidates should send completed application packets and the J-1 visa fee (international scholars) to:
Tamiko George, EECS Visiting Scholars Assistant
306 McLaughlin Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1700
Alberto Marcelo, EECS Postdocs Paid-Direct Assistant
253 Cory Hall
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1770
Graduate Division Approval
When application materials are complete and endorsed by the Department Chair, they are submitted to the College of Engineering (COE) and to Graduate Division's VSPA office for review. COE and Graduate Division VSPA approval are required before a J-1 visa can be issued. Please note that obtaining these approvals can take many weeks. Therefore, Visiting Scholars are urged to complete and return all parts of the VSPA application package as quickly as possible to avoid delays.
Most international scholars will need to obtain a J-1 visa to pursue their research in the EECS Department. J-1 visas are obtained following the issuance by UC Berkeley of a DS-2019. Visa applications are only processed after the Visiting Scholar application secures College of Engineering and VSPA approval.
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Required Health Insurance
All international Visiting Scholars who enter the United States with a non-immigrant visa, and who intend to stay for one month or more, are required to have health insurance for themselves and their dependents. For information about submitting Proof of Coverage of health insurance, please see http://uhs.berkeley.edu/vspd/visitingscholar.shtml#proof
International Visiting Scholars who do not have health insurance may purchase a group plan through University Health Services. This must be done within 31 days of arriving at UC Berkeley. Insurance coverage may not be effective immediately; waiting periods can be from 3 to 36 days. Scholars are advised to purchase travel insurance to cover this period. See Health Insurance for International Visiting Scholars or contact the Student Health Insurance Office in the Tang Center, 2222 Bancroft Way, Rm. 3200. 510-642-5742.
Domestic Visiting Scholars are not eligible to buy insurance under group health plans; however, referrals for independent coverage are available by calling the number above.
Informational meetings on health insurance are held at the Tang Education Center (1st floor). For further information with regard to these informational meetings, call 642-5700.
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Benefits & Privileges for Visiting Scholars
Visiting Scholars who have paid the $400 University Services fee have
access to the
extensive materials and are given
normal borrowing privileges. For further information visit the
Doe Library Main Circulation Desk,
Cards and Privileges: 510.642.6647
Visiting Scholars may
with the professor's permission, but will not receive academic credit.
Please note this privilege does not apply to courses offered by
Summer Sessions or University Extension.
can be set up following payment of the $400 University Services Fee; visit the
User and Account Services Office,
206 Evans Hall: 510.642.7355.
Please note that EECS Department computing / Email accounts are not covered by the University Services Fee, but must be paid for separately. The scholar must discuss arrangements for paying for EECS computing services with the host, before arrival.
Visiting Scholars are eligible to use Cal Rentals services for an additional Housing Office Fee (510) 642-3642. Visit the UC Housing Office, 2525 Channing Way, (510) 642-0706. University Family Student Housing may be available if no Berkeley students are on the waiting list. Contact the Family Student Housing program at (510) 642-4109. Private rental agencies also exist in Berkeley. Most visiting scholars who intend to bring families should come in advance of their families to look for housing. Finding suitable housing often takes many days, and hotel accommodations while a family is looking for housing are expensive.
Visit the Berkeley International Office's webpage on Living at Berkeley for information about transportation, money and banking, service organizations that help newcomers settle in, and make the stay of continuing international students, scholars, and their families more pleasant, shopping, obtaining Social Security card or California Drivers License, paying taxes in the U.S.
The University does not have funds to assist visiting scholars with their living expenses. Nor does it have sufficient staff to aid visitors in securing outside funding.
Visiting Scholars are entitled to obtain a Fee Lot Permit for use in campus parking lots at the faculty/staff rate upon presentation of a valid VSPA identification card. Visit Parking & Transportation or call General Information at (510) 642-4283; Permit Issuance (510) 643-7701.
Visiting Scholars who have paid the $400 University Services Fee may purchase a discounted membership at the Recreational Sports Facility, located at 2301 Bancroft Way, (510) 642-7796. Available with membership are: outdoor swimming pools, strength training, cardiovascular machines, aerobics and fitness classes, tennis, racquetball, squash, handball, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and more. Membership information is available at the RSF Cashier's Station, open seven days a week, with calendars and program information posted on the website.
Scholars may also purchase a faculty/staff discount card to attend football or basketball games at the Athletic Ticket Office, located at 2223 Fulton Street. Visit Intercollegiate Athletics, 2223 Fulton Street: (510) 642-3277.
Immigration Orientation meetings
Visiting Scholars are required to attend an orientation meeting hosted by the Berkeley International Office. See Postdoc and Visiting Scholar Orientation . Scholars should bring their:
- Completed and Signed Scholar Arrival Notification form
- I-94 (White card in passport)
And all of these documents for accompanying family members, if any. It is not necessary to pre-register for the meetings. For further information, call (510) 642-2818. In addition to covering important immigration matters and regulations, this meeting offers information about American customs and culture, campus and community services.
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Remember, your first step is to make direct contact with the faculty member with whom you are interested in working. Be sure to do this at least six months before your desired start date! Only upon receipt of your formal nomination from a Department faculty member can the appropriate staff follow up on your application.
tamiko@berkeley, phone (510) 642-2614
(Add .edu to all email addresses.)
albertom@eecs, phone (510) 643-4976
(Add .berkeley.edu to all email addresses.)
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- January 2011 announcement of new UC definition and policies for Visiting Scholar / Visiting Student Researcher titles, from Graham Fleming, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor for Research
- Visiting Scholars Application Form
https://vspa.berkeley.edu/ (see #6)
- UC Patent Acknowledgement form
The Berkeley International Office
University Housing Office website
University Health Services website
UC Berkeley Graduate Division Visiting Scholars Program
UC Berkeley campus map
PLEASE NOTE: A prospective Visiting Scholar may not use the Visiting Scholar title for publicity purposes until final approval of the appointment by the Chair of the Department and the campus VSPA program.
This information is provided as a service. Although care is taken to provide correct information, there may be unintended errors, changes, or deletions without notification.
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