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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 1 - Administration
Publication Date: November 7, 2014
Policy Reviewed Date: November 18, 2021
Policy Owner: VP for Research

1.34 Visiting Scholars and Researchers


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recognizes the value that visiting scholars and researchers bring to UTSA. Such visits foster collaboration, diversity, and professional relationships, enrich the academic environment, and enhance UTSA’s mission of excellence and innovation in teaching, research and community service. Accordingly, this policy sets standards for scholars and researchers (each a “Visitor”) who visit UTSA on a temporary basis in order to conduct scholarship activities or to perform research—including, without limitation, observing laboratory techniques or practices. For purposes of this policy, Visitors are generally recognized experts in their field and/or are qualified to conduct advanced level research or scholarship and are not UTSA employees or students.


This policy facilitates the inviting and welcoming of Visitors to UTSA and fosters positive visits.  It provides Hosts and Host Units a transparent process to navigate through the administrative and regulatory steps associated with a prospective visit and outlines the responsibilities, burdens, and other costs associated with the visit. It also helps Visitors better understand UTSA’s expectations of them during their visits.


This policy applies to all Visitors (as defined by this policy) and to all UTSA faculty, staff, officers, and organizational units that play a role in screening, inviting, welcoming, training and overseeing Visitors or their visits.       



UTSA or UT System Policies or the Board of Regents' Rules & Regulations

  1. UTSA Handbook of Operating Procedures (HOP) Chapter 10 - Research

Other Policies & Standards

  1. UTSA Research Website:
  2. Global Initiatives website:
  3. UTSA Records Retention Schedule


If you have any questions about HOP policy 1.34, Visiting Scholars and Researchers, contact the following office:

Office of the Vice President for Research


Host: The UTSA faculty or staff member with primary responsibilities for facilitating the potential or actual visit and serving as the administrative liaison between UTSA and a prospective Visitor or to an actual Visitor during his/her visit.

Host Facility/Lab: The physical location at UTSA that will house a Visitor when performing day-to-day activities associated with his/her research or scholarship.

Host Unit: The Host’s Department, College, Institute or Center at UTSA, which shoulders the costs and the administrative and regulatory responsibilities associated with a particular Visitor and visit.

Non-U.S. Person: Anyone who does not meet the definition of a U.S. person in the Export Administration Regulations (EAR; 15 CFR § 772.1) or the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR; 22 CFR §120.15) and so may require additional immigration documentation. A U.S. person is a U.S. citizen, a lawful permanent resident alien of the U.S., or a refugee or someone in the U.S. as a protected person.  Any non-U.S. corporation, business association, partnership, trust, society or any other foreign entity or group as well as international organizations and foreign governments are considered “non-U.S. person(s).” 

Sponsored Program(s): Internally or externally funded activities conducted in research, instruction, training, or public service as a result of a formal written agreement (such as a grant, contract, or cooperative agreement), which agreement is typically obtained as a result of a formal application and approval process.

Visitor: An individual who conducts scholarship activities or performs research (including observing laboratory techniques or practices) at UTSA on a temporary basis.

The Visitor is not any of the following:

  1. a guest visiting UTSA solely as a vendor, commercial representative, or non-laboratory based educational trainer,
  2. a UTSA employee (faculty or staff),
  3. a faculty member receiving a Visiting Professor title listed in HOP policy 2.02, Faculty Appointments and Titles, Section IX.A.2.1,
  4. a registered UTSA student, nor
  5. a student participating in an organized educational program governed by another HOP policy (e.g., an internship or a reciprocal educational exchange program (see HOP policy 5.20, Authorization for Waiver of Mandatory or Incidental (Discretionary) Fees for Qualifying Academic Programs)).    


  1. Vice President for Research (VPR) or his or her designee:
    1. Responsible for the oversight and development of this policy and its associated guidelines and procedures;
    2. Grants exceptions to this policy's guidelines/procedures; and
    3. Make decisions about additional routing and screening of prospective Visitors/visits.
  2. Host Unit/Host:
    1. Coordinates with relevant university personnel to obtain appropriate approvals and screenings and once obtained, extends formal invitation to Visitor;
    2. Forwards appropriate forms (including all required screening forms, release, and any applicable Visitor agreements) to Visitor and coordinates with Visitor for prompt return of these documents;
    3. If the Visitor is a Non-U.S. Person, forwards information relating to approved prospective Visitor and visit to the Office of International Programs (OIP) for further screening and approval, as required by law, and works with OIP to finalize visa paperwork (if applicable);
    4. Cooperates with the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) to assess whether any technology or information in the facilities is subject to Export Control laws and regulations;
    5. Ensures that Visitor undergoes a criminal background check, receives a proper appointment at UTSA and proper training before accessing the Host Facility/Lab;
    6. Cooperates with Office of Sponsored Project Administration (OSPA) and other UTSA offices when applicable to determine what agreements will need to be in place before the visit begins;
    7. Maintains records relating to a visit and Visitor as required by UTSA’s record retention policy; and
    8. Ensures that Visitor fulfills compliance and training obligations.
  3. Visitor:
    1. Submits to the Host in a timely manner, prior to the visit, all required and requested information, including a signed invitation letter, release, and any applicable Visitor agreements;
    2. Complies with all terms and conditions associated with his/her visit, including (without limitation) following all applicable laws, regulations, UT System Regent's Rules, and UT System and UTSA policies; and
    3. Makes adequate progress on scholarly or research activities.


*Note:  These Procedures must be followed for each and every visit, even if the Visitor is a repeat Visitor and/or the intended visit is similar to a prior visit.

  1. Inviting a Visitor
    1. Eligibility Criteria. Unless an exception is approved by the VPR or his or her designee, a potential Visitor must meet the eligibility criteria established by the VPR or his or her designee, which are found in Section I of the Guidelines and Processes Relating to Visiting Scholars and Researchers:
    2. Preliminary Information/Documentation. With as much advance notice as practicable, Visitor shall supply Host with information and documents necessary to show that Visitor meets the eligibility requirements and to allow UTSA to conduct screenings and to make internal decisions about the prospective visit. See Part II of the Visiting Scholar/Researcher Approval and Screening Form:
    3. Screenings and Approvals.
      1. Mandatory Preliminary Screenings/Approvals: The Host must ensure that the following screenings/approvals occur before a Visitor receives an invitation or visits UTSA:
        1. Approval from Supervisor of the Host Facility/Lab (only if he/she is not also the Host)
        2. Screening by the Office of Research Integrity (if applicable). See for more details; and
        3. Screening by the Office of International Programs (if applicable). See for more details.
        4. Criminal Background check. See for more details.
      2. Additional Screenings/Approvals: After all mandatory screenings/approvals are completed, the VPR or his or her designee will determine if any additional screenings/approvals are necessary (e.g., related to human subjects research or biosafety requirements). See Part II of the Visiting Scholar/Researcher Approval and Screening Form:
    4. Issuing the Invitation.
      1. The Host Unit will issue all formal invitation letters to potential Visitors after all screenings and approvals in Section A.3. above have been completed.
      2. Because the invitation letter gives the Visitor notice about requirements or conditions relating to the prospective visit, the letter must be signed and returned in advance of the visit. See Section IV of the Guidelines and Processes Relating to Visiting Scholars and Researchers for more information about mandatory and potential conditions or requirements.
  2. Hosting a Visitor
    1. Follow The Guidelines and Processes Relating to Visiting Scholars and Researchers:




  1. Guidelines and Processes Relating to Visiting Scholars and Researchers

  2. Visiting Scholar/Researcher Approval and Screening Form

  3. Form C: Non-US Citizens– Advance Approval Form for Services Rendered

  4. J-1 Request Form

  5. TN Form

  6. Person of Interest form

  7. Criminal Background Check Authorization Form