Visiting Researchers / Scholars


The visiting researcher/scholar hosting and onboarding procedures detailed on this web page are required to host a visiting researcher on the UGA campus.

Click here for a printable VRS guide and registration procedures.

Visiting Researcher and Visiting Scholar (VRS) refers to visitors who are not UGA employees or enrolled students, are not contracted for services or performing a service, and are not a part of an official program on campus, but are physically coming to UGA to visit with a UGA faculty member to observe or collaborate in research.  A VRS must have a UGA Faculty Sponsor.

If a potential visitor meets the following criteria, he/she is considered a Visiting Researcher/Scholar or VRS:

  • The visitor is physically coming to any UGA campus.
  • The visitor’s activities while being hosted by a UGA faculty member on any UGA campus include participating in or observing research.
  • The visit is not part of an official UGA program and the visit is not intended for the visitor to perform contracted services for UGA.

For each VRS, the Faculty Sponsor should initiate the hosting procedures described below in the Visiting Researcher/Scholar Hosting Procedures section. If at any time an individual who is already on campus extends their stay, changes the nature of their work, or meets any of the criteria above, then they are a VRS and the Faculty Sponsor should initiate the VRS process if they have not already done so.


Who is NOT a Visiting Researcher/Scholar: 

  • Persons that are not physically coming to visit a UGA campus.
  • Short-term visitors who are not participating in research and will not need access to UGA facilities and services.
  • Program Participants. Individuals who participate in an authorized campus sponsored academic program for a defined period.  Included in this category are individuals participating in grant sponsored programs, fellowships, research projects or programs, and internships.
  • Individuals enrolled at UGA. If officially enrolled at UGA, then the individual will be brought onboard as a student.
  • Individuals compensated or contracted by UGA for expected work or services performed.
  • Individuals that come onto campus as part of their regular work (for example, deliveries, contractors, etc.)
  • Individuals provided a stipend through/by UGA.
  • Adjunct faculty or others involved in formal instructional roles (support is offered by the Office of Faculty Affairs)
  • Postdoctoral Research Scholars (support is offered by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs)

If you need further clarification as to whether your visitor qualifies as a VRS, please take the VRS Test or email

Why should I register my VRS?

Through the VRS registration, visiting researchers and scholars have access to necessary UGA resources, as well as identification through a UGAID and appropriate “standing” at UGA.

Visitors registered with the Visiting Researcher/Scholar program will be assigned a UGAID (81x number). They can then use this UGAID to access any necessary online training, request a MyID for other online UGA services, and acquire a UGACard to access services such as buses and building or lab access. Instructions on how to obtain a MyID and UGACard are included when the Office of Research transmits the assigned UGAID back to the Faculty Sponsor.

Registration through our office also helps ensure liability coverage and clarifies intellectual property agreements.

There are three distinct types of Visiting Researchers/Scholars that relate to the professional level of the visitor, and each type carries a maximum duration for the visit.

  • Scholar in Residence.  Visitors at the postdoctoral level or above who will be involved in temporary research or scholarship, independent or collaborative; a Scholar in Residence may stay in this role for up to 24 months.
  • Visiting Graduate Student Researcher.  Visitors at the graduate student level who are not enrolled at UGA and who are temporarily involved in research or scholarship, independent or collaborative; a Visiting Graduate Student Researcher may stay in this role for up to 24 months.
  • Undergraduate Interns.  Visitors at the undergraduate level who are not enrolled at UGA; an Undergraduate Intern may stay in this role for up to 12 months.


If a Faculty Sponsor wishes to extend the visit past the original visit end date or past the maximum visit duration for the VRS type, please see the “Instructions for Extension of Visit” section.

VRS Registration Procedure

  1. VISIT DETAILS: Visit details should first be agreed upon between the UGA faculty sponsor, the visitor, and the hosting UGA unit (via the unit head) before initiating the Office of Research VRS Hosting Procedures.
  2. COLLECT REQUIRED DOCUMENTS: The faculty sponsor or staff proxy should obtain required documents from the visitor.  See the Required Documents section below.
  3. COMPLETE VRS QUESTIONNAIRE: The faculty sponsor or staff proxy should complete VRS Questionnaire. The online VRS Questionnaire requires information about the visitor and their visit details. Save and return is not available, so have all information and required documents ready.  Click here for a list of questions that appear on the VRS Questionnaire.
  4. FACULTY SPONSOR CERTIFICATION: The faculty sponsor will be required to certify the information in the VRS Questionnaire by replying to the email received upon the questionnaire’s submission. Additionally, a copy of the questionnaire will be sent to the unit head via email with instructions on confirming approval of the visit and visitor.
  5. OFFICE OF RESEARCH REVIEW: Office of Research staff will collect and review the questionnaire. If there are no questions or concerns regarding the questionnaire Office of Research will assign and send the visitor’s UGAID to the staff contact as soon as possible.  (Please note that visa sponsorship through UGA is a separate process through the Office of Global Engagement-Immigration Services.  All visa questions should be directed to that office.  iStart information can be found here.)
  6. VRS ONBOARDING PACKET: Office of Research staff will create and send a VRS OnBoarding packet soon after the UGAID is assigned. It is the sponsoring unit’s responsibility to ensure the visitor completes the VRS OnBoarding module soon after they arrive on campus.
  7. REVIEW IMPORTANT VRS INFO: The Faculty Sponsor and staff proxy should review the “Other Important VRS Information” section.


Required Documents

The following two documents are required to complete the VRS Questionnaire:

1.  Visitor Agreement: ALL VRS must sign a visitor agreement in order to be registered with the Office of Research VRS program. Other documents (travel approvals, funding letters from home institutions, etc) are not acceptable in lieu of a signed visitor agreement. You will choose one of the following options for the agreement:

2. Citizenship-based Document:

  • IF the visitor is a US citizen, permanent resident of the United States, has a Social Security Number, then a background investigation approval or waiver from HR is required. The sponsor must initiate a background investigation by requesting the visitor complete the UGA Human Resources Background Check Request Form. The completed form is submitted to HR to conduct the background investigation. *Background checks are currently taking up to 4 weeks for approval, so please submit this to HR as soon as visit details are confirmed. We cannot proceed until the approval email has been forwarded to by the hosting unit.
  • IF the visitor is a non-U.S. citizen/non-permanent resident, please obtain a scan of his/her passport. The passport is required to assign a UGAID to non-U.S. citizens/non-permanent residents.

Other important VRS information after the hosting procedures are completed:

  1. Once the UGAID has been assigned, the visitor can set up a UGA MyID through the Sponsoring Unit Staff Contact. The visitor will use the MyID to access a wide range of online services at UGA.
  2. Upon completion of OnBoarding, the visitor should receive an email with instructions on how to complete the SecureUGA module.
  3. Upon arrival on campus, one of the first actions by the visitor should be acquisition of a UGACard, using the visitor’s UGAID. This must be done in person at the UGACard office in the Tate Center. This card will provide the visitor with access to various other services (including buses).
  4. The UGACard number will give the visitor the information necessary to apply for library access.

Office of Research expects the Sponsoring Unit to assist the VRS with the following items: 

  • The Staff Contact and Faculty Sponsor should assist with housing arrangements. Housing arrangements may take different forms, depending on the needs of the visitor and family. Options for Visiting Researchers/Scholars are provided at the UGA Housing Division website. Some temporary on-campus housing has been made available on the Health Sciences Campus.
  • The Staff Contact and Faculty Sponsor should also help arrange family support. A visitor who is coming with family may need help with issues such as schools, transportation, language, banking, etc.
  • The Staff Contact should assist them in MyID creation and it is the responsibility of the Faculty Sponsor and Sponsoring Unit to ensure his/she completes OnBoarding.


If a Faculty Sponsor has an existing VRS and wishes to extend the visit past the original visit end date or past the maximum visit duration for the VRS type, please send a request for extension with explanation/justification of the situation to  The justification must include:

  1. Time-frame of extension
  2. Source of support for the visiting researcher/scholar’s living expenses during the extension period.  If the person will be leaving campus and collaborating remotely: Explain the nature of the remote access (from where will the person be accessing UGA systems, etc.).  PLEASE NOTE: The VRS Program is not for remote collaborations, but access extensions for existing VRSs once they leave campus may be granted through this program for a limited time (usually no more than 6 months) to help facilitate certain needs.
  3. List the facilities and/or UGA systems that the visitor will need to access (please be specific).
  4. The activities of the visiting researcher/scholar during the extension period and
  5. Will the visitor be involved in a research project that is externally funded through UGA (for example, working on the Faculty Sponsor’s research project that is funded by NSF).
  6. Provide a brief statement of justification describing the value of the visit for both the host and visitor.

Should the extension be approved, Office of Research will request the visiting researcher/scholar’s UGAID be reactivated. Note that an individual is considered a visiting researcher/scholar, and subject to the terms of his/her Visiting Researcher Agreement, throughout the full period of any extension, whether the VRS is working on a UGA campus or remotely through UGAID access.

If a faculty sponsor has a previous VRS returning to campus, the VRS’s access may be reinstated without submitting a new VRS Questionnaire if the following eligibility criteria are met and a justification is submitted via this Returning VRS Request Form:


  • The returning visitor must still fit the definition of a VRS
  • The scope of the returning visit must be the same as the previous visit
  • The faculty sponsor must be the same as the previous visit
  • Must be within 1 year of leaving the previous visit and must be within 3 years of completing the full VRS registration.
  • The home institution/employer of the visitor must be the same as the initial/previous visit in which the visitor signed the Visitor Agreement.

The request form includes:

  • VRS name and/or tracking number from initial visit
  • VRS DOB, Gender listed on government issued document and, if applicable, passport number and country.
  • Faculty Sponsor name
  • New visit dates for the time they will be on campus
  • Confirmation that the access needed is the same as the last visit (ex. Campus, building, labs, UGA systems requiring a MyID, etc)
  • Confirm that the agreement terms, VRS’s home institution, and the scope of the returning visit are the same as the previous visit (ex. Is their role the same?)
  • Confirm that the Faculty Sponsor/Hosting Unit has contacted the Office of Global Engagement-Immigration Services if applicable.

Additional Policy:

Returning visits activated for a max of 12 months at a time.


  • Office of Research Visiting Researcher/Scholar Coordination,, 706-542-5927
  • Office of International Education-Immigration Services (IS), 706-542-2900
  • EITS Helpdesk,, 706-542-3106
  • Human Resources,, 706-542-2222