Visiting Student Application Process
Students who are pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution of higher education in the US (other than MIT) or abroad and who have been invited by a MIT department or laboratory to do research in their field of studies, may apply for Visiting Student Status for a minimum of 3 weeks and a maximum of 12 months. All research must be conducted on the MIT campus. Please be aware that the appointment process can take up to 90 days for international students.
It is strongly suggested that students invited to conduct research on the MIT campus, no matter how short their visit, have a visiting student appointment for the minimum term of 3 weeks. The Visiting Student Program was created to help protect the non-MIT student visitors and MIT’s reputation, and a visiting student appointment ensures that these students have an officially established affiliation with MIT.
The International Students Office (ISO) is the MIT office overseeing the process at the Institute level for both U.S. and international students. Just as with the procedure for admitting regular graduate students, the procedure for admitting Visiting Students is centralized within the Education Office. However, the process involves faculty members and their administrative assistants [AA] since they will be the source of the information needed for the application.
Note that the faculty host is responsible for a $1000 processing fee and research funds cannot be used. Either the faculty host or the visiting student can pay the registration and student life fees ($1356 for Spring term registration + student life fee; $900 for Summer term registration; $1656 for Fall term registration + student life fee). All fees are waived for visits of less than five weeks. A visiting student must register for 12.NIV (visiting student) but the student is not allowed to register for classes or earn academic credit while at MIT.
After receiving the Visiting Student Information form, the Education Office will be responsible for:
- Obtaining approval from the Vice President for Research Office. (allow 5-10 business days for approval)
- Entering the student information in MIT's admissions database to obtain a MIT ID number for the applicant (allow 48 hours to generate MIT ID number)
- Drafting an invitation letter for the faculty host's signature and sending it to the student with instructions for the next steps
- Notifying the applicant to create an MIT email address and providing instructions for submitting an iMIT application for a MIT-sponsored J-1 visa (allow up to 30 days for ISO to approve and process the application).
- Sending the Certificate of English Proficiency to ISO
Note: A certificate of English Proficiency is required before ISO will complete the paperwork for a J-1 visa. The faculty host is responsible for certifying English language proficiency and the completed form should be sent to Brandon Milardo (firstname.lastname@example.org) in the Education Office.
The easiest ways to do this are:
-Ask the prospective visiting student to send us the scores from either the TOEFL or IELTS exam if available.
-Conduct an interview with the visiting student either in person, via videoconference, or by phone.
- Collecting from the student a MIT Inventions and Proprietary Information Agreement (IPIA) form, signed by the student and an authorized official at their home institution.
- Submitting a payment form if the faculty member of department is paying any of the registration or student life fees. A copy will be sent to the faculty host's AA. Note: The fees are waived for visits of less than five weeks.
- Sending the visa document to the visiting student. The student will then schedule an appointment to apply for a visa.
When a visiting student is continuing for a new term, the AA in the Education Office will prepare the required registration letter, obtain the faculty host's signature, and give the signed letter to the visiting student to hand-deliver to the Registrar.
If the visiting student will be paid by the faculty host, the AA should notify Karen Fosher directly.