Purpose and invitation
For a visiting scholar or graduate student, essential information about the visit should be clear in the form of an invitation or appointment offer letter that includes at a minimum:
- Purpose of the visit
- Dates of the visit
- UC San Diego financial commitment, if any
See a sample invitation letter (Word file).
Visitors under a performance agreement or independent contractor do not require an invitation letter as the intended purpose should be clearly defined in their agreement with the University.
Paying/ reimbursing a travel expense
Not all visits involve UC San Diego paying/reimbursing travel expenses, however in some cases it is an essential component of the visit. Eligibility for payment/reimbursement of actual travel expenses depends on:
- Clear documentation of the visit’s purpose
- For a foreign visitor, having the appropriate visa type
For a visiting scholar and graduate student, the appointment title is specific to the primary purpose of the individual’s application for admission to the United States and the duration of the visit. The visitor’s non-immigrant status will determine which visa rules will need to be followed once in the United States.
A courtesy appointment processed by the Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs (OPVSA).See the OPVSA website for guidance on payment options that are allowable.
Visiting Graduate Student
A pre-doctoral graduate student (PhD, MA, MS, MBA, or MD) pursuing research at UC San Diego related to their degree program at their home institution.Refer to the Graduate Division website for more information regarding payments to visiting graduate students.
Independent Contractor/ Consultant
Arrangements to secure the services of an Independent Contractor/Consultant may be entered into only when the services are so unique, specialized, or highly technical that they cannot be performed economically or satisfactorily by existing university staff.The copyright and copyright rights to any published report or other materials produced by an independent consultant shall belong to the University, as set forth in the Independent Consultant Agreement Terms and Conditions, Article X.; however, the independent consultant may be listed as a "Consultant" in any published report or other materials. See Independent Contractor/ Consultant Overview and BFB-BUS-34: Securing the Services of Independent Consultants to learn more.
The invitation letter
In order to document the intent and details of the visit, it is strongly encouraged that a letter of invitation (Word file) be sent to the individual invited to UC San Diego who will receive payment for services or travel expenses. The letter should come from the department that is sponsoring the activity. The letter should contain the following information:
- Detailed description of the event or activity
- Date / Length of the event (typically less than three months)
- The amount of any payment that will be made
- Whether travel and/or incidental expenses will be reimbursed
- Contact information at the sponsoring UC San Diego department for further information
How to process a travel reimbursement for a visitor
Preauthorize the trip and pay travel expenses through MyTravel, and include the invitation letter using the attachment feature.
The US Department of State, U.S. Visas – Business and Pleasure (PDF)
The US Department of State, U.S. Visas Business Travel to the United States (PDF)
U.S. Department of State J-1 Visa – Professor and Research Scholar Program
President Clinton’s Executive Order 12989 (PDF)