Visiting Scholar/Visiting Scientist Designation

Applicants for Visiting Scholar or Visiting Scientist status commonly hold an earned doctorate. Individuals wishing to come to Columbia University for periods of several weeks to a year to engage in independent research require the endorsement of a departmental chairman or a school dean. Therefore, the scholar's first contact should be with the school or department most likely to share an interest in the proposed activities. The ISSO designates Visiting Scholars only at the formal request of a dean or chairman.

For information on eligibility for visiting scholar status refer to the Faculty Handbook. Visiting scholars who need a non-immigrant status usually have the category of J-1 Exchange Visitor researcher as their only immigration option. Those who will visit Columbia for a short period (less than 90 days) may be eligible for a Visitor for Business (B-1) visa or the WB visa under the Visa Waiver Program. Please refer to these sections for additional information on the B-1 and WB visas.

Foreign visitors who are coming to Columbia to perform a service for a short period (normally, 3 weeks or less) and leave—such as conduct a workshop or give a lecture—and who are not doing any of their own research at Columbia are not eligible for visiting scholar/visiting scientist designation. However, if a visitor needs an immigration status allowing the visitor to be paid, the department should contact the ISSO. We can determine what status is appropriate and issue the proper immigration documents before the visitor enters the United States.

Last Reviewed: 18 February 2011 Last modified: 18 February 2011
International Students and Scholars Office
Columbia University