Visiting Research Only (VRO) Students

With the recent changes in travel restrictions, Western International will begin with assessing and processing VRO student applications under Self-funded Academic Researcher and Short term (120-day) work permit exemption for researcher categories. We will continue to process the VRO student applications under the Research Award Recipient category.  Effective September 7, 2021, travel entry requirements to Canada have changed for foreign visitors. With the required documentation, self funded VRO students may apply to enter Canada on a TRV or eTA, if fully vaccinated.

The following outlines the requirements of the VRO host supervisor when inviting a VRO student as a SFAR (Self-funded Academic Researcher) or a Researcher under the short term (120-day) work permit exemption. VRO students must meet the following entry requirements:

  • Fully vaccinated VRO students may qualify for the fully vaccinated traveler exemption, which means they are exempt from the 14-day quarantine period and Day-8 testing requirements if they have received the full series of accepted COVID-19 vaccines, as well as all other entry requirements for entering Canada as outlined at
  • VRO host supervisor is responsible to ensure an appropriate quarantine plan is in place (if required) and that the VRO student has suitable living arrangements while in London.

However, it is important to note that although we are able to process VRO student applications, there are some additional considerations to keep in mind before VRO supervisors commit to hosting and supervising a Visiting Research Only student during COVID-19. COVID-19 continues to impact travel around the world, and travel restrictions can change at any time. Host supervisors who invite a VRO to Canada and to Western, must be prepared to financially support them if their home country doesn’t allow travellers at the time of their research completion. If they are not able to leave Canada, host supervisor must be ready to support them until they are able to leave the country.

Western University frequently welcomes and hosts visiting research students from all over the world.

  All prospective Visiting Research Only students coming to Western:

  • must be registered at, or affiliated with, a foreign institution outside Canada as a student
  • must have paid tuition and be in good standing at their home institution
  • are not permitted to take courses, and not be charged tuition fees by Western University
  • are responsible for paying the following fees which will be billed to his/her Western Student account:
    • $200.00 administrative fee that registers the student with the Office of the Registrar and gives the student access to the library, etc.
    • $52.00 per month for University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)
    • $32.00 for a Western student identification card

Please note that because tuition and ancillary fees do not apply, VRO students are not eligible for a Western Campus Recreation membership or an LTC bus pass through the USC or SOGS. VRO students interested in these services must contact Western Campus Recreation and the London Transit Commission (LTC) privately.

I am an international student wishing to visit Western University to conduct research

Please explore our research areas of excellence and contact the laboratory or department of interest to you to secure a host supervisor. Please note that Western International does not match prospective Visiting Research Only students with host supervisors.

Information about document requirements and fees can be found below. 

I wish to invite an international undergraduate or graduate student to Western

Please explore this website for important information, resources and forms. If you have questions about this process, contact

It is recommended that you start this process at least two (2) months prior to the VRO students anticipated start date to allow time for visa processing.  

I would like to invite a postgraduate researcher to Western

Please contact the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) for postdoctoral fellows, or the Office of Faculty Relations for visiting professors/lecturers and self-funded academic researchers.

Mihaela Harmos, SGPS
Jennifer Holburn, Office of Faculty Relations
Connie Zrini, Office of Faculty Relations

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) considers research activities as “work,” and have clarified that visiting international student scholars conducting research must qualify for employment authorization in order to conduct research only on campus, as either a visiting undergraduate student (VUGS) or a visiting graduate student (VGS).  Visiting Research Only (VRO) students no longer qualify for study permits unless they are the recipient of a Global Affairs Canada award or scholarship.

There are two possible employment authorization streams for VRO students:

Self-funded academic researcher and research award recipient information
Self funded researchers Research Award Recipients

1. Self-funded academic researcher (visitor status)      2. Research award recipient (work permit)

Please note that the existence of an exchange or research collaboration agreement is an important factor to consider when inviting a VRO student to campus. Please advise Western International of same prior to preparing the documents required.


If you have questions about Visiting Research Only students, please contact