We recognize you have your own internal onboarding process at BRS or in your department/unit; here’s where yours and ours intersect. We have curated information that you may find the most useful in your interaction with the VSPA as you conduct your work to appoint postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting student researchers. This includes resources on policy and compliance, recommended activities to help integrate researchers into the UC Berkeley community, and information on where to turn for help when concerned about an individual's well-being.
University Services Fee
The University Services Fee (USF) allows visiting scholars and visiting student researchers to have access to the world-class facilities and resources UC Berkeley has to offer and to receive quality career and professional development programming and resources provided by the VSPA.
In order for a VS and VSR to be provided with an official affiliation with the university, payment of the USF must be made prior to the approval of appointments/reappointments in the VSPA Gateway system. You can find more details about the fee on our USF page.
Appointments & Gateway
To initiate all new or renewal appointments for visiting scholars, student researchers, and postdocs, the first step is to be granted access to the VSPA Gateway, our online application system. If your department receives HR services from a BRS region, please initiate the request with your assigned HR Partner by submitting an HR Service Hub ticket. Gateway preparers should have their Berkeley Regional Services team manager submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and the list of departments to which you should have access. Please allow 1-2 business days to make the change. If it is an urgent request, please indicate it as "Urgent" in the message's subject line. If you will also be processing living allowance payments, disbursement preparer access should also be indicated in the request.
Once you have been granted access to VSPA Gateway, sign in with your CalNet credentials to begin submitting applications. Check out our Gateway Tutorial Guide for detailed step-by-step instructions.
Review the corresponding criteria for the visiting scholar and visiting student researcher titles to ensure applicants meet eligibility requirements prior to submitting an application for approval in Gateway.
NOTE: Remote appointments are not permitted; all visits must be conducted on campus.
Visiting scholars may not hold a concurrent appointment at UC Berkeley (e.g. Lecturer title to teach).
Title Coding: Any individual whose intention is to conduct any form of research on campus in a visitor capacity (non-employee) must be in a research title such as Visiting Scholar (Title Code: CWR015) and Visiting Student Researcher (TC: CWR003, CWR016). Please be advised that it is inappropriate to onboard them into non-research titles such as a Staff Volunteer (TC: CWR011) or Affiliated Organization (TC: CWR014) when the VS or VSR title is applicable. Please review the UCPath Contingent Worker User Guide for additional information. VSPA provides export control screening of all visiting researcher titles to protect the university and comply with federal guidelines. Onboarding these researchers into inappropriate guidelines prevents us from conducting required visual compliance screening.
In the rare case when a department or faculty sponsor wants to appoint a visiting scholar or visiting student researcher who does not meet UC’s eligibility requirements, the department chair and faculty sponsor are obligated to request an exception from the VSPA. VSPA staff will contact the HR Partner upon review of the submitted application for the required documentation for an exception to the policy. See the Exceptional Approval Policy page on how to request an exception to policy and what documents are required.
An individual who completed their Ph.D. within the past five years is to be appointed a postdoc. If they have a postdoc appointment at another institution and would like to visit UC Berkeley, request exceptional approval to appoint them as a visiting scholar. Visit the Exceptional Approval Policy page on how to proceed.
For postdocs who have completed the cumulative five-year maximum, departments/faculty supervisors may request for a 6th-year exception through their respective Dean's Office for final approval by the Vice Provost for Faculty. Approval letters should be sent to the VSPA upon receipt so that the scholar's Gateway record may be updated.
Requests for appointment date changes should include the reason for the requested change. Please keep in mind that appointment end dates for VSRs may not be after their anticipated graduation date. If the appointment end date will be a date after the anticipated graduation date approved in the application, let us know the new anticipated graduation date.
Circumstances arise where a visiting scholar or visiting student researcher may need to withdraw their invitation to visit UC Berkeley. In the event of a cancellation, send an email to email@example.com with the name of the scholar and the reason for the cancellation.
Visiting scholars and visiting student researchers may not receive compensation for work on campus but may receive a living allowance of up to $20,000 should a department or faculty sponsor wish to help them defray the cost of living in the Bay Area. Visit the living allowances page for full instructions on how to request a living allowance. Please review our Stipend Tutorial guide for additional assistance.
International Scholars and Students
International visiting scholars and visiting student researchers must be on the appropriate visa when conducting their research on campus which is most commonly the J Exchange visa. B-1/B-2 visas and Waivers are not appropriate visas for the visiting scholar and student researcher titles. Remote appointments are not permitted; all visits must be conducted on campus. For more information on the university's policies on visas for these titles, please visit the Berkeley International Office (BIO) website on what visa types are appropriate and what types are not permitted. Please review BIO's website for more information on the minimum financial requirement.
Should a visiting scholar, visiting student researcher, or postdoc require accommodation assistance, visit our Disability Support Services page for information on who they can contact for help.
How to partner with the VSPA
The VSPA is a steward of University policies, practices, and procedures regarding postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting student researchers. As such, we are available for consultation on how to ensure that the postdoc and visiting appointments that you facilitate are compliant. Please reach out to the VSPA for guidance or any questions that you may have.
Once a semester, join us for a town hall with VSPA where we provide an overview for new HR Partners and other important updates. Look out for our announcement to save the date. You may also contact us to schedule a one-on-one with your team and VSPA.
New Affiliate Orientation
Encourage new postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting student researchers to attend VSPA's monthly New Affiliate Orientation, which is held every first Thursday of the month from 9 am to 11 am. We invite campus partners to expertly speak on their areas of campus services and review postdoc appointment protocols and benefits. New postdocs can register for upcoming orientations after their appointment start date.
We appreciate you referring postdocs, visiting scholars, and visiting student researchers to our Resources page for career and professional development and wellness resources designed to help them thrive and succeed at UC Berkeley and beyond.