Frequently Asked Questions

Active Appointment in U.C.

Can I join the program as a J visitor if I have an active appointment at the University of California?
No person may be appointed as a visitor if they have an active appointment or current employment with the University of California.

CAL 1 ID and b-connected Account

When will I receive my Cal 1 ID number?
All scholars will receive the Cal 1 ID number two weeks before their appointment start date after completing the onboarding request from HR.

Can I still use my b-connected account or email after the end of my visiting scholar appointment?
Central Campus will terminate the b-connected account and Berkeley email 30 days after the end of the visiting scholar appointment. Please forward all essential emails to your personal email address and save the necessary documents before the end of your J1 appointment. 

Class Auditing

Can I audit more than one class in the Law School or other schools on campus?
The U.S. Department of State indicated that Visiting Scholars / Visiting Student Researchers could only audit (for no credit) one course that is incidental to their primary objective research at the law school per semester per instructor approval.
Non-Law School courses are not available to audit.

COVID-19 Requirement

What can I do if I have never taken a COVID-19 vaccination or booster due to medical reasons?
The CDC has updated its COVID-19 guideline for the primary vaccine; it is now recommended to get one bivalent dose. Please contact the Tang Center at for more information.

Funding Requirement

Do I need to have $2,000 per month for proof of funding?
Due to the high cost of living in the Bay Area, the minimum funding requirement for J1 visitors will be $2,000 a month.

Are Visiting Scholars Compensated?
No, the Visiting Scholars will not be compensated for conducting research.

Can I receive my grant award or reimbursement before visiting?
Due to the UC policy, no scholars can receive grant payments or non-salary stipends before visiting. Suppose the scholars receive an award or fellowship, the visitors must reside locally, have an active appointment, comply with the tax withholding, and submit all online forms and required documents after arrival before a stipend or reimbursement will be issued.

Can my host faculty sponsor or host department assist me in applying for a scholarship in my country, pay for my program fees, or provide an invitation letter to use the scholarship?
All visiting scholars must have their scholarship or personal funding before applying to the program. Our faculty sponsor, host department, or Visiting Scholars Program cannot offer financial assistance to pay program fees, travel, or living allowance. All applicants must also apply for their scholarship in their home country on their own, and campus staff is not responsible for providing an invitation letter for the applicants to apply for their scholarship.

Can I submit my reimbursement from the travel/reimbursement system?  
All payments must be approved by the VSPA office and scheduled to be paid during the scholar’s appointment dates via the Bearbuy system.  No visiting scholars can use the travel/reimbursement system to submit reimbursement or non-salary stipends.

Can I receive my stipend if I live outside of the United States?
Retroactive payments are not allowed, and written confirmation of the scholar’s local residency is required before approval is granted. Scholars who live outside the San Francisco Bay Area are not eligible for living allowances.

How can I prove my local residence during my visit?
Please submit your rental agreement for the duration of the stay as proof of your local residency.

Health Insurance / Tang Center

Where can I purchase my health insurance?
Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers’ health insurance benefits are provided through Gallagher Benefit Services. 
Please see U.C. Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan Portal for detailed plan and enrollment information.

Can I purchase my health insurance from my home country?
If you can provide proof of health insurance that meets the Department of State requirements, please submit a request to Gallagher and ask for waiving coverage.

Do you know if I can use the medical care at the Tang Center?
Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers are eligible to attend the workshops and training offered for faculty and staff. However, all visitors should seek medical care through their primary care providers outside of the Tang Center, and Tang Center doesn’t assist in submitting claims to insurance companies.

Housing and Transportation

Where can I look for a short-term furnished apartment, or how can I apply for dormitory accommodation on campus?
You may find housing on your own or work with Cal Rentals.

Are there any public transit options, or Where can I park my car?
* Cal provides plenty of transit service between the Residential Halls, Bart, Central Campus, and Hill Area.  Please visit Bear Transit for more information.
* For AC transit or public transportation, you may download the most current schedule and fare chart here.
AC Transit
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)
* Most of U.C. Berkeley’s 5500+ parking spaces require a permit.  Please visit the parking and transportation website to learn more about the payment options and view our parking map.

Personal activity

Can I represent Berkeley Law to contact an official for a visit?
All events and activities must be sponsored or co-sponsored by the Berkeley Law Visiting Scholars Program. Using Berkeley Law’s name or resource to engage in personal activities is prohibited.

Program Fees

What is the purpose of these program fees? Is there flexibility to reduce the program fees, and do I need to pay it now?
* The $750 University Services Fee is a fee for facilitating access to the resources in Central Campus, including an official Berkeley email account, libraries, and obtaining an employee ID card for all building entries.
* Regarding the residence fee of $3,500 or $7,000, it is the administrative fee for the hosting department to host a scholar for a six to twelve months visit. Berkeley Law Visiting Scholars Program will also offer visitors a carrel and a locker, giving all online resources while conducting research in Berkeley.
* J1 Services fee is for processing DS-2019 for the visiting scholar.
* All fees are required to pay upfront and are non-negotiable.

Scholarship and Invitation Letter

Can you send me an invitation letter that allows me to apply for a scholarship in my home country?
Our Faculty Sponsors and hosting departments will not assist applicants in applying for their scholarship or fellowship to join the program.  All applicants must meet the funding requirements before applying.  Also, we will only offer the invitation letter once the scholars officially get admitted.

Terms of Appointment

Can I join the program for more than 12 months?
Visitors are appointed for periods of at most 12 months at a time. The Total period of consecutive service with a visiting title shall not exceed two years and counts toward the service limitation explained in general U.C. policy.

I was admitted to the program but missed the deadline for submitting the visa application. Can I submit my late visa application and start the appointment in a few months?
It takes at least 2-6 months for visa processing, and all admitted scholars must submit their visa application before November 15 for a Spring visit and June 15 for a Fall appointment.

Can I join the program in December?
Due to the holidays or winter curtailment, no scholars can start the appointment in December.

What is the deadline to submit a new application or reappointment request?
We do not review applications on a rolling basis. Please submit an online application or reappointment request between January 1 and March 1 for the fall semester and June 1 and August 1 for the spring semester.

What is the policy of attendance as a scholar?
According to the U.S. Department of State guidance, most activities should be physically onsite. During the visit, one or two telework days are allowed weekly.

What is the policy for changing the dates of my visiting scholar appointment?
Please request approval from the faculty sponsor, hosting department, VSPA, and Berkeley International Office and provide a reason for changing the visit dates.

What are the procedures before the end of the appointment?
All scholars must return all library books and empty their lockers three days before the appointment end dates.

Can you provide a letter from the department/university on official letterhead to prove my residence address for children’s school enrollment?
Due to the policy, no department staff shall assist with proof of residence address.  All parents must use a Berkeley resident checklist for school enrollment. 

Can I modify my invitation letter or terms of appointment?
All scholars/third party is not authorized to act on behalf of the hosting department or Visiting Scholars Program to modify the admission policies and appointment terms.

I am a short-term scholar. Can UC Learning Center cancel my online training and all notifications?
Per UCOP’s direction, all training is now mandated. All visitors will receive all notifications until they complete all required training.  

Are other centers’s scholars required to sign the VS/VSR agreement?
It is now mandated for all VSP and center visitors to agree with the appointment terms before joining the program.