Visitor Process Overview

The Academic Visitor process begins prior to a Visitor's arrival on a University of Pittsburgh campus and can extend beyond the actual visit itself. The Academic Visitor Lifecycle section below summarizes the procedural steps associated with hosting Academic Visitors at the University of Pittsburgh, while the Academic Visitor Eligibility and Characteristics of Visits sections provide important information on these respective areas. A two-page Academic Visitor Procedure Summary (PDF) presents a consolidated overview of the Academic Visitor process.

Visit- and Visitor-Related Information

Academic Visitor Lifecycle

The University of Pittsburgh’s Academic Visitor process includes five steps that cover the lifecycle of a visit:

Step 1

Determine Visitor Category

Step 2

Visitor Screening and Export Controls Review

Step 3

Centralized Invitation Review and Agreement Processing

Step 4

Visitor Onboarding Procedures (Category 2 and 3 Visitors only)

Step 5

Visitor Departure and Close-Out Procedures (Category 2 and 3 Visitors only)

Checklists for Hosting Visitors cover each step in the process and can assist University host departments, administrators, and faculty members as they manage individual visits.

Academic Visitors fall into one of three visit categories, depending upon the duration of the visit and the activities performed during the visit. Step 1: Determine Visitor Category outlines in detail the definitions of and review requirements for each category.

Steps 2 though 5 primarily address Category 2 and 3 visits and involve conducting research security reviews, securing the appropriate agreements, and Visitor onboarding and close-out procedures.

Academic Visitor Eligibility

Academic Visitors can include graduate students, postdoctoral associates and fellows, scientists, researchers, scholars, and other individuals from industry, educational, government, and other institutions. As a general rule, individuals who recently have been employed at the University of Pittsburgh are not eligible to perform similar activities as an Academic Visitor due to U.S. Department of Labor Fair Labor Standard Act provisions. Refer to the following chart to determine broad eligibility:


Not Eligible

External organizationally supported individuals

Current Pitt faculty and staff

External self-supported individuals

Pitt enrolled students

External graduate students

External undergraduate or high school students (see below for Carnegie Mellon University students)


External individuals covered under research or service contracts with Pitt that include on-campus visits

Academic Visitors must be hosted physically on a University of Pittsburgh campus, which includes the main campus in Oakland, all regional campuses, and all facilities managed by the University of Pittsburgh (e.g., through direct ownership or rental agreements). Proposed visits that are fully virtual are not permitted under the current Academic Visitor guidelines. Other University mechanisms exist that can facilitate non-resident research, scholarly, and educational activities.

Individuals who are in unique University roles and supported via a University salary or stipend or any other University employment mechanism (e.g., postdoctoral fellows, paid visiting scholars, and health science research fellows) are not eligible for Academic Visitor status. Furthermore, neither undergraduate students (except for Carnegie Mellon University below) nor high school students are eligible for Academic Visitor status. The University's Office of the Provost developed guidelines (PDF) that outline the procedures to be completed for certain types of individualized undergraduate research (for both Pitt and non-Pitt students). The Office of the Provost also created an Undergraduate Research website that directs Pitt students to relevant University programs. Finally, the University's School of Medicine offers a Summer Undergraduate Research Program for students, regardless of affiliation, and the University's Office of Science Education Outreach (within the Schools of the Health Sciences) offers research-related programs for undergraduate and high school students.

Visits Involving UPMC Facilities

In some cases, University of Pittsburgh research or other activities take place within University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) facilities. Visitors who participate in these activities should be treated as University of Pittsburgh Academic Visitors. A University host should contact the appropriate UPMC department about Visitor processes if the Visitor will be hosted administratively in a UPMC department, if the Visitor's activities will take place within UPMC facilities, and if the Visitor's activities will occur under UPMC management and supervision. In addition, individuals who wish to have a clinical experience (including observation) in UPMC facilities should direct inquiries regarding these activities to the UPMC clinical site where the experience will take place.

Academic Visitors from Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) faculty members, staff, and students who visit the University of Pittsburgh under Pitt’s Academic Visitor guidelines are governed by a master agreement between CMU and the University of Pittsburgh. Unlike potential student Visitors from other universities, graduate and undergraduate CMU students are eligible for Academic Visitor status at the University of Pittsburgh. For CMU Visitors, the procedures that precede and follow Step 3: Centralized Invitation Review and Agreement Processing should be observed as usual, with only the agreement used in Step 3 deviating from the norm.

Please contact the Visitor Liaison if you have any questions regarding Academic Visitor eligibility.

Characteristics of Visits

Official Visitor Host

The University of Pittsburgh is the official host for all Academic Visitors. Departments and schools inviting the individual are responsible for the administrative and day-to-day oversight of the Visitor. Checklists for Hosting Visitors can help University administrators and faculty hosts determine mandatory and recommended obligations related to Visitor oversight. The host department and faculty member(s) also must ensure that the Visitor’s activities at the University remain in scope with their intended purpose.

Length of Stay

The initial term for any visit cannot exceed one year. An extension to the visit may be considered with ample justification and support from the University administrator's and/or faculty host’s dean or department chair. The overall duration of a visit, including extensions, is limited to two years. The process for requesting an extension is described under Step 3: Centralized Invitation Review and Agreement Processing in the Visitor Agreement Amendment section.

Visits will be counted as continuous from the first day on campus to the last day on campus, even when a Visitor is not on campus for the entire period. Accordingly, visits will be classified as either Category 2 or 3 visits if they exceed 14 days, and the appropriate procedures should be followed.