Visiting International Research Student


A Visiting International Research Student (VIRS) is an international student conducting research full-time at UBC, under the supervision of a UBC faculty member. The student is either enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or graduate-equivalent program at another university or is a participant in a UBC-recognized (through Go Global) “bridging” program*. UBC is a hub for outstanding researchers from around the world and welcomes Visiting International Research Students (VIRS) to participate in our community of inquiry.

*Examples of “bridging” program: DAAD Rise Worldwide and Mitacs Globalinks. Please contact us with respect to other programs. 

A VIRS student is enrolled as "full time" at UBC for immigration purposes.


A VIRS student must:

  • Not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status

  • Intend to come to UBC solely for the purpose of research

  • Have a plan to conduct research for one month or longer (maximum 12 months)

  • Obtain the approval for research activities at UBC by obtaining signatures from

    • Host supervisor (i.e. a UBC faculty member who has agreed to act as supervisor through the proposed research period at UBC)
    • Home university or sponsoring program
    • UBC Department Head for the unit or laboratory with which the visiting research student will be affiliated
    • Supervisor from home institution

Deadline and how to apply to become a Visiting International Research Student

**Please note: as of May 8, 2018, there is an new application process for VIRS at UBC.**

We need to receive your completed application at least eight weeks prior to the planned start date for the research. Please take into account that the study permit and/or entry visa application processing times may very (for details, please click here) and your VIRS application should be received well in advance for you to receive the Letter of Acceptance to apply for study permit and/or entry visa.

  1. Download and save the VIRS Approval Form onto your computer. Please complete the form and obtain all required signatures.
    ** Please save the form in .pdf or .jpeg format**

  2. Complete the VIRS Initial Application Online (survey) and upload the Approval Form where indicated.

  3. Proceed to the next step and apply for a UBC Student ID Number (you will receive the link to complete this step after successfully submitting the VIRS Initial Application).

  4. Complete and submit the online application using the link you will receive from Go Global.

  5. Create your Campus Wide Login (CWL) account using the student number you will receive after submitting the online application. *A Campus Wide Login (CWL) lets you to access the Student Service Centre (SSC), where you will be able to make fee payments.

  6. Pay the VIRS Program Fee ($415.00) which will be charged to your account on SSC about one week after you obtain your UBC Student ID Number. 
    Eligible students will receive their UBC Letter of Acceptance by e-mail within 10 business days of fee payment.

  7. Apply for appropriate immigration document (for example - Study Permit, Temporary Resident Visa (TRV), and/or Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) as applicable using the Letter of Acceptance you will receive.
    *Check out processing times for various immigration document applications on the Government of Canada website.
    As a general rule:
    - Students engaged in research lasting six months or longer require a study permit
    - Students engaged in research lasting less than six months are advised to apply for a study permit, but may complete their research under visitor status.


A VIRS student pays a program fee of $415.00 for any period from one month up to one year. The fee must be renewed after one year, should the VIRS student wish to extend their research period.

As any new international student, VIRS students will automatically be enrolled in the iMED Health Insurance program. Information on cost, coverage length, and opt-out eligibility can be found here.


  • No tuition fees will be assessed.
  • VIRS program fee will be reviewed on an annual basis and are subject to change without notice.
  • Full refund only available to applicants whose legitimate Entry visa and/or Study Permit application(s) has been denied.  

Student Status

Depending on the student’s academic level at his/her home institution, a VIRS student will be registered in VURS 499 (Undergraduate), VGRD 500 (Master) or VGRD 600 (Ph.D.), a non-credit, non-tuition bearing course code which denotes full-time engagement in academic research.

A VIRS student will have access to the UBC Library, email services, Go Global services, and, on an urgent need basis, health/counseling services. Use of other services and facilities including but not limited to areas such as athletics and transcripts can be accessed on a fee paying basis, as available.


  • A VIRS student will be registered at UBC for all UBC academic terms that overlap with the length of their planned visit.
  • A VIRS may not enroll in any UBC course, but may apply during their stay to be admitted as a Visiting Undergraduate or Visiting Graduate Student, should they wish to enroll in courses while conducting research.
  • Once admitted as a Visiting Undergraduate or Visiting Graduate Student, the VIRS status will be removed.
  • If student whose home institution has a formal exchange agreement with UBC, the students is encouraged to first consider coming to UBC through the exchange program.
  • The maximum length of proposed research period that a VIRS student can be approved for is one year (12 months). At the end of the approved visit period, the student may request an extension for up to one year.


How to Apply for your Study Permit



Last reviewed shim8/14/2018 3:37:06 PM