The following sections provide information on University identification cards, health insurance, training, and policies. These categories apply to those of you who are a Category 2 or a Category 3 Visitor. This information does not apply to you if you are a Category 1 Visitor.

University Accounts & Identification Cards

As a Category 2 or 3 Visitor, you will be issued a University ID card, which will provide you access to the University bus system, the University and Health Sciences Library Systems, and health and gym facilities located in Bellefield Hall and Trees Hall. You will also be provided with more specific access to areas directly relevant to your visit, such as laboratories or clinical space.

In order to maintain a safe computing environment at the University, every computer user must have an account with an associated username and password. Your host department may decide to provide you with limited access to University electronic and other resources for a finite period of time, usually consistent with your length of stay. Short-term access to University systems includes the use of a University e-mail address. Please consult your host department administrator or faculty member contact for additional information regarding sponsored accounts and University ID cards.

As mentioned above, you will be able to utilize many resources in the University’s two main libraries. The University Library System is the 22nd-largest academic library system in North America. It includes 15 libraries and collections and holds more than 6.4 million volumes and specialized collections, as well as major foreign-language materials from around the world totaling 1.4 million volumes. The Health Sciences Library System offers a wide array of information services, educational opportunities, and resources to faculty, students, and researchers in the University’s Schools of the Health Sciences.

Health Insurance

Domestic visitors and international visitors who are not on a J-1 visa, and whose stay will exceed 14 calendar days, must provide assurance of health insurance coverage. International Visitors holding a J-1 visa and their dependents are required by the U.S. Department of State to have health insurance that satisfies federally mandated J Scholar Visa Insurance Requirements.

If you are a domestic visitor, you must provide assurance of health insurance to your host department prior to arrival at the University of Pittsburgh. Since the UPMC Health Plan is the primary health provider in the University of Pittsburgh area and the Pittsburgh region, you should ensure that your current health insurance or whichever health insurance you select affords access to UPMC facilities or other facilities accessible from the Pitt campus. You will be responsible for covering the costs of your coverage unless your host department agrees to cover this expense, in which case you and the host department will work out a process of reimbursement for your insurance premiums.

For domestic visitors who do not have medical insurance, the following websites contain information about different plans that can be purchased. UPMC Health Plan has a healthcare concierge available if you have questions about the UPMC Marketplace.


If you are an international visitor traveling on a J-1 visa, you must provide proof of health insurance through the Office of International Services (OIS) within 30 days of the start date indicated on your immigration documents. OIS will define for you what documents and other proof is required to satisfy this requirement. As a Visitor on a J-1 visa, you must be certain that your health insurance coverage meets the following requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000

International visitors traveling on a different visa type must provide assurance of health insurance to your host department prior to arrival at the University of Pittsburgh. Since the UPMC Health Plan is the primary health provider in the University of Pittsburgh area and the Pittsburgh region, you should ensure that your current health insurance or whichever health insurance you select affords access to UPMC facilities or other facilities accessible from the Pitt campus. You will be responsible for covering the costs of your coverage unless your host department agrees to cover this expense, in which case you and the host department will work out a process of reimbursement for your insurance premiums.

For international visitors who do not have medical insurance, the following websites contain information about different plans that can be purchased. Please note that UPMC health plans meeting J-1 visa standards require an additional policy through a company called Assist America for repatriation and medical evacuation coverage. UPMC has a healthcare concierge available to assist you with determining eligible UPMC health plans and with obtaining repatriation and medical evacuation coverage through Assist America.

Training

Academic Visitors are permitted to perform only the activities that are outlined and approved in their invitation letters and individual agreements and must undergo all University-based training that is appropriate for these specific activities. All training must be completed before you initiate any activities. The host department and faculty member(s) are responsible for ensuring that the required training is completed. Please see the Research Conduct and Compliance Office website for a list of research-related training programs that may be applicable to your visit.

For laboratory-based research, this training will include both the required safety and regulatory training related to the specific laboratory you will be visiting (e.g., EH&S and IACUC) as well as any other applicable University-wide training (e.g., Title IX and Pennsylvania child protection clearance). The latter training, as well as potentially research-related training, may be required for non-laboratory-based research and activities. Please consult your host department administrator or faculty member contact for additional information on laboratory-based training that will be applicable to your visit.

If your approved scope of activities includes direct contact with minors during your visit, Pennsylvania law requires you to obtain specific clearances prior to initiating any activities that will include contact with minors. The University’s Human Resources department has a website that contains instructions on these clearances, and how to obtain them. Your host department will need to obtain copies of these clearances once they are available.

Category 2 and 3 Visitors are also required to take sexual harassment training. Additional information on this important subject can be found on the University’s SHARE website

Research and Other Policies

All visitors are expected to abide by applicable University policies and procedures. Relevant policies may include, but are not limited to, intellectual property and conflict of interest policies, research training policies, and HIPAA- and other data-specific policies. Visitors should review: the

Please consult your host department administrator or faculty member contact for additional information regarding the policies that will be the most relevant to your research and stay at the University.

International Visitors

The Office of International Services provides a range of immigration-related services for the more than 4,000 international visitors, students, faculty, researchers, and staff members who study, teach, conduct research, and support the many academic pursuits at the University. A section of the OIS website is devoted solely to individuals who are visiting the United States and the University on a J-1 Visa.

After OIS receives all of your information from your sponsoring department, you will begin to receive emails from OIS on how to access the Pre-Arrival and Orientation Checklist. This Checklist will assist you in your travel preparations. Once you arrive at the University of Pittsburgh, you must check in with OIS – failure to do so may affect your U.S. immigration status. OIS also holds a New International Scholar Orientation and Check-in session every Friday (except when the University is closed) from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM in Room 708 (7th floor), William Pitt Union.