Visiting Scholars Program


Important notice: This website is under construction.  Please inquire with the office for the most up-to-date information.


Information for Prospective Visiting Scholars

Berkeley Law is able to accommodate a limited number of visiting scholars each year to engage in significant independent legal research projects. Prospective scholars may apply to the program under one of two categories of visiting scholars: 1) Senior Visiting Scholars – professors, government and law professionals; 2) Visiting Researchers – Ph.D. students working under the supervision of a Berkeley Law faculty member.


  • UC Berkeley University Services Fee: Currently each visiting scholar is required to pay a $500 University Services fee to the UC Berkeley campus to obtain a campus ID card and to have access to the university’s facilities. Please note that there will be an increase in the University Services fee beginning January 1, 2018. The new fee will be $750 for the period of January 1 to June 31, 2018 for both Senior Visiting Scholars and Visiting Researchers. On July 1, 2018 there will be a second fee increase. For Visiting Researchers the fee will increase to $1,000 for first year Visiting Researchers and to $2,500 for an extended stay past the first year. For Visiting Scholars, the first year fee will remain $750, and to $1,500 for a 2nd year reappointment period.
  • Berkeley Law Residence Fee: The law school fee for senior visiting scholars is $2,500/semester or $5,000/year. The fee for visiting researchers is $600/ semester or $1,200/ year.
  • DS-2019 Fee: There is an administrative fee of $600 charged for the DS-2019 application processing and document needed to secure a J-1 visa. To clarify, $500 is for the issuance of the DS-2019 by the Berkeley International Office and $100 is for the FedEx International Priority shipping costs and other Berkeley Law Visiting Scholars Program incidental/administrative expenses. Please read the J-1 visa section below.

Application Process

The visiting scholar application process consists of three parts: 1) Law School acceptance, 2) UC Berkeley Graduate Division (VSPA) approval, and 3) Berkeley International Office approval for J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa.

Law School Approval

Prospective visiting scholars must first submit an application to the School of Law using this form. The completed Berkeley Law application should include a one-page Research Statement with a description of the applicant’s research plans and an explanation of the importance of conducting research at Berkeley Law. All applicants accepted to the visiting scholars program are considered “in residence” scholars and are expected to conduct their proposed research at Berkeley Law and the UC Berkeley campus. Any exceptions must be approved by the faculty committee. The deadline for submitting applications is September 1, 2018 for proposed visits beginning after January 1, 2019, and April 1, 2019 for proposed visits beginning after August 1, 2019. Completed applications must be e-mailed to

The number of applications far exceeds the number of scholars the law school can accommodate. A faculty committee reviews each application and takes into account each applicant’s academic background, research interests, scholarly achievements and English-language proficiency. The committee normally makes its decisions shortly after the application deadline.

Graduate Division Approval

Applicants who are approved by the law school committee will then receive the Visiting Scholars and Postdoctoral Affairs (VSPA) instructions to complete the online application which is administered through the Office of the Dean of the Graduate Division of UC Berkeley.

Graduate Division approval is required before a J-1 visa can be issued. Please note that graduate division approval can take up to six weeks. Therefore, visiting scholars are urged to complete and return the VSPA application as quickly as possible to avoid delays.

J-1 Visas

Most foreign visiting scholars will need to obtain a J-1 visa to pursue their research at Berkeley Law. J-1 visas are obtained by the issuance of a DS-2019 document. Applicants who obtain law school approval will receive a DS-2019 application along with the VSPA application. DS-2019 applications are processed after applicants secure VSPA approval. Processing of the DS-2019 application takes from 4 – 6 weeks.

Additional Information


Upon payment of the Berkeley Law residence and UC Berkeley campus fees and the receipt of a campus CalNet ID card visiting scholars have access to a wealth of research services on the Berkeley campus using their CalNet ID and passphrase. Most important, they have full use of the law library’s extensive collection of legal material, which includes US and other common law jurisdictions as well as the law of more than 100 jurisdictions of the world, and an extensive collection of international, comparative and human rights law. Visiting scholars may use the library any time the library is open. They may borrow any regularly circulating material from the law library and from most other campus libraries as well. In addition, visiting scholars can obtain passwords to Lexis, Westlaw and Bloomberg Law, the three most important legal research databases in the United States. With these passwords visiting scholars will have access to extensive collections of US primary legal materials, journals and reviews, treatises and practice material, as well as to international law, newspapers, and other periodicals. Visiting scholars also can print from Lexis for free.

Due to space and budget restrictions, the law school cannot provide offices or library carrels for visiting scholars. Visiting scholars may be able to consult with law school faculty members in their specialized field of study, and they may audit law school classes during the fall and spring semesters with the professor’s permission. Be aware, however, that academic credit is not given for audited courses.

Visiting scholars may register for Berkeley Law summer courses and receive a 10% discount.  For more information and registration deadlines, please visit the Berkeley Law Executive Education website. 

Computing and Other Support Services

There is wireless access throughout the law school, including the law library. Once visiting scholars have their CalNet ID and passphrase they may use their laptop computers anywhere in the law school and in many locations throughout the Berkeley campus. In addition, the law library has a number of computers that can be used to gain access to all databases licensed by the campus, as well as to .edu, .gov and .org sites. The law library’s computer labs and printers are for law students only and are not available for use by visiting scholars. There are, however, other computing labs on campus for use by visiting scholars.

Living Expenses

Living costs for an individual scholar are at a minimum $1,800 per month. An additional $500 per month is applied to a J-2 spouse and an additional $300 per month is applied to each J-2 child. Proof of source funding, based on these amounts, is required for VSPA and J-1 visa approval.

Financial Aid

The law school 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. Positions as lecturers or faculty research assistants are limited to visiting scholars in extremely rare circumstances.


On-campus university housing is not available to visiting scholars. Because of Berkeley’s large student population and the limited supply of apartments and houses, it is extremely difficult to locate suitable housing after the school year begins. Renting a house or apartment for less than 10 or 12 months is often difficult. Visiting scholars, especially those who intend to bring families, should make housing arrangements in advance of their arrival. Local hotel accommodations are relatively expensive.

Visiting scholars may use Cal Rentals, a service that provides rental listings and housing advice for a fee. For more information, visit their website: or call (510) 642-3644. Private rental agencies also exist in Berkeley.

Health Insurance

All UC Berkeley visiting scholars—international and domestic— are required to either enroll in the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan for medical insurance coverage or provide proof of other health insurance coverage (i.e., “opt out” of the UCBVSBP plan).

All scholars whose appointment date is on or after 12/1/2010 are required to complete an enrollment form to purchase the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan or waive (opt out of) enrollment.

Proof of Coverage Through Another Plan:  Foreign scholars who choose to purchase health insurance in their home country (prior to arrival in the United States) must purchase insurance that meets US State Department requirements. Written proof of policy benefits must be provided in English, with coverage limits converted to US dollars.

If the scholar’s insurance policy does not meet all of the US State Department requirements, he or she is required to purchase an insurance plan that meets these guidelines within 31 days of arrival at UC Berkeley.


Parking Office: 2150 Kittredge Street: General Information (510-642-4283); Permit Issuance (510-643-7701); Fax (510-642-9004);

Visiting scholars are entitled to obtain a Fee Lot Permit for use in campus parking lots at the faculty/staff rate upon presentation of their VSPA identification card. All visiting scholars are eligible to purchase campus shuttle services. Visiting scholars who reside in the East Bay are eligible for significant discounts with the AC Transit bus system.

Athletic Privileges

Visiting scholars may purchase a faculty/staff membership at the Recreational Sports Facility, located at 2301 Bancroft Way, (510) 642-6400. The cost is presently $195 per semester or $456 for an annual membership including summer. Monthly memberships are also available. Scholars may purchase a faculty/staff discount card to attend football or basketball games at the Athletic Ticket Office, located at 2223 Fulton Street.


Please address all questions regarding the Visiting Scholars Program to the program’s email at

Other Useful Links

Visiting Scholars Application Form
University Housing Office Website
UC Berkeley Graduate Division