Becoming a Visitor

Oct 26, 2021 update: Updated guidance on the Visiting Scholar designation and procedure is posted below.

Nov. 26, 2021 update: We are currently not accepting any new Visiting Scholars for the AY 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 (other than scholars with whom we already have an active communication).

The European Institute hosts appropriately qualified researchers and doctoral students from other universities and institutions. Visitors are normally designated independent Visiting Scholars who conduct independent research. These are courtesy designations, with a duration of one year or less, that do not carry a formal appointment with Columbia University.

Visiting Scholars have access to Columbia’s libraries and may obtain four-week borrowing privileges by paying a monthly fee. The European Institute does not provide office space, telephones, computers, administrative assistance, or housing to Visiting Scholars. Visiting Scholars are responsible for arranging their own financial support and benefits, and the EI does not provide any funding to Visiting Scholars. Please see these pages for explanations of the position and privileges of Visiting Scholars at Columbia: Visiting Scholars who hold doctoral degrees(researchers from other universities and institutions).

Visiting Scholars are also welcome and expected to attend events on campus sponsored by the European Institute during their stay.

International Visiting Scholars
Please note that the Provost's Office requires all international Visiting Scholars to arrive on an appropriate visa. Scholars arriving on a B visa or an ESTA visa waiver authorization are not eligible to receive a Visiting Scholar designation (per University policy here). Generally, Visiting Scholars must arrive on a J visa.

Application Deadlines

Fall Intake

Scholars who intend to start their visit in the Fall semester should submit their initial review packet no later than: May 31st.

Spring Intake

Scholars to intend to start their visit in the Spring semester should submit their initial review packet no later than: September 30th.

Initial Review Application & Process

Submit the following documents as part of the initial review application packet, to the European Institute at [email protected]:

  1. CV
  2. Home Institution (current affiliation)
  3. Research proposal
    • Approx. 500 words that include the resources at Columbia you plan to use and members of the faculty with whom you hope to discuss your research.
  4. Faculty sponsor assent
    • You must obtain the agreement of a member of the Columbia faculty to be “nominal sponsor” for your request to be a Visiting Scholar. Faculty sponsors are not expected or obliged to serve as supervisors or advisors for your work; they simply provide the recommendation for your Visiting Scholar designation.
    • Normally the sponsor is one of the European Institute’s faculty affiliates at Columbia. **The faculty sponsor must be a Columbia faculty member who is part of the Arts & Sciences (Social Sciences or Humanities). For Barnard, SIPA, or other faculty, please reach out to those respective schools/departments to arrange for a Visiting Scholarship through them.
    • After identifying an appropriate member of the faculty, contact them via e-mail with your CV and a brief description of your project that explains the Columbia resources you intend to use. The European Institute does not match scholars with faculty; the scholars must make this search themselves.
    • If the faculty agrees to be your nominal sponsor, save that email and attach it as part of the initial review application packet.
  5. Proposed visit dates (mm/dd/yyyy - mm/dd/yyyy)


The European Institute will review your packet and, if appropriate, will submit it for the next two levels of review. You can read more about this updated University policy here.

  1. Visual Compliance screening
    • Required for all Visiting Scholars who have international scholar status or whose home institutions are located abroad.
  2. Provost Review
    • The Office of the Provost must review and approve of all Visiting Scholar applications, both for international and domestic scholars. *Any extension requests must also receive Provost approval. 

Final Application & Process

The EI will notify you if you initial review has been approved and provide a letter of invitation if you require one. At that point, submit the following documents as part of the final application packet, to the European Institute at [email protected]:

  1. EI Visiting Scholar Information Form
    • Complete the appropriate section based on visa sponsorship needs.
  2. All additional documents
    • As listed under the relevant section of the EI Visiting Scholar Information Form.

The EI will then submit a Visiting Scholar application to the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), which manages all Visiting Scholar requests (both international and domestic). You will receive an automated email from Columbia ISSO asking you to submit additional information via their online portal. The ISSO application will then come back to the EI for final review and document submission. After ISSO reviews and approves the request, they will notify you and, if applicable, mail your DS-2019 to you for your visa appointment.

Please contact the European Institute if you have questions about becoming a Visiting Scholar.