Office of Global Engagement
International Students and Scholars

Individuals interested in coming to Brown University as a VRF must consult with the particular department they are interested in working with. Brown University departments should refer to the procedures outlined below. Additionally, please review the Visiting Research Fellows page on the Graduate School's website.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Be an enrolled graduate student in their home country and coming to Brown for research purposes
  • Be coming for research purposes only and will not enroll in classes at Brown. VRFs cannot have official student status at Brown.
  • Must receive an appointment through the Graduate School
  • Must have a project timeline established that will not exceed 2 years. VRF appointments cannot exceed a 2 year period.
  • All J-1 VRF appointees must provide proof of Brown University International Scholars Insurance (Inbound) coverage for the entire duration of their VRF appointment with their application.

There are no fees attached to the Visiting Research Fellow status (i.e. no enrollment fee, health service fee or health insurance fee)


All new J-1 DS-2019 Requests must be received by the OISSS at least 3 months in advance of the requested start date. Extension Requests must be received by the OISSS at least 1 month in advance of the current DS-2019 end date. Some visa applications may be subject to additional Administrative Processing.

  1. Sponsoring departments should submit the following to the Graduate School:
  2. Once the Graduate School receives the above documentation they will issue an invitation letter to the Visiting Research Fellow.
  3. Once the visitor accepts the invitation from the Graduate School, the Graduate School will forward the appropriate documentation to OISSS. (To help expedite this step you may wish to request a copy of the invitation letter from the Graduate School and scan/email the letter to the Visiting Research Fellow in order for them to accept the invitation more quickly)
  4. Once OISSS receives the packet, they will review the Request documentation and follow up with the sponsoring department with any questions. Please allow up to 3 weeks for the processing of the request and issuance of Form(s) DS-2019. Plan ahead and leave sufficient time for processing.
  5. Once the DS-2019 is ready OISSS will contact the sponsoring department. The sponsoring department will need to send the DS-2019 documentation to the Visiting Research Fellow.

Health Insurance Plan

An international Visiting Research Fellow is required to purchase the Brown University International Scholars Insurance (Inbound) coverage for the duration of their time in the United States. The Brown University International Scholars Insurance plan is the only insurance accepted at Brown University for VRF appointments. Please follow the link for information regarding the Brown University International Scholars Insurance (Inbound) and enter the Group Access Code provided:

Acceptable documents for demonstrating health insurance coverage include:

  • A health insurance card issued by CHUBB/ACE with the Visiting Research Fellow’s name on it;
  • A signed letter on letterhead from CHUBB/ACE stating coverage; or
  • Proof of payment.

The Brown University Graduate School will provide confirmation to the OISSS that the Brown University International Scholars Insurance is in effect. An international Visiting Research Fellow who does not provide proof of this health insurance will not have their appointment activated and will not receive a Brown ID card. No other health insurance will be accepted by OISSS for purposes of issuing a J-1 DS-2019.

Additional Information

  • Unless the VRF is currently studying at a U.S. institution, all International Visiting Research Fellows must come to Brown University under the J-1 visa.
  • The VRF should NOT schedule their visa interview at the U.S. Consulate until their DS-2019 is ready. Pertinent information on the DS-2019 is needed to schedule an appointment at the U.S. Consulate for a J-1 visa.
  • If the program is funded by the exchange visitor’s government, other organizations or by the individual, a letter of award or a financial statement should be attached with the request form for review.
  • The VRF and the Department should pay close attention to the end date on Form DS-2019 for your exchange visitors. Extensions must be completed before the expiration date in DS-2019. Please don’t wait until the last minute to request an extension.
  • If the VRF will not arrive in the U.S. within 30 days of their anticipated J-1 start date, you must notify OISSS immediately. OISSS will need to amend the J-1 start date in their SEVIS record accordingly. Failure to do so will result in termination of their J-1 status.
  • Please remind your VRF that upon arrival all Brown University international students and exchange visitors are required to register at the Office of International Student and Scholar Services within 5 business days of arrival on campus. Failure to do so will result in termination of status.