Visiting Foreign Scholars Program


Every year, UC Law SF welcomes up to three visiting foreign scholars from around the world. Visiting foreign scholars are granted access to the institution’s world-class library, have opportunities to interact with faculty members working in their field, and are encouraged to participate in faculty colloquia and campus events. Faculty mentors and our International and Comparative Law Librarian work with visiting foreign scholars to advance their research agendas. Visiting foreign scholars are expected to carry out their proposed legal research at UC Law SF, to visit campus weekly, and to participate regularly in the life of the vibrant UC Law SF academic community. Visiting foreign scholars are asked to submit current versions of their research at the end of their visit.

During their residency at UC Law SF, all visiting foreign scholars shall engage and contribute to the academic community including, but not limited to, presenting in the scholar’s field of expertise; mentoring students; assisting with LL.M. student recruitment; reviewing and making recommendations for our library collection; and assisting with international organizations, events, or other programs on campus.

Visiting foreign scholars may seek to audit one doctrinal lecture course (no skills, ethics, writing or clinical courses) on a space available basis and with the approval of the course professor and the Associate Dean for Global Programs.

The UC Law SF Visiting Foreign Scholar program is a designated U.S. Department of State Exchange Visitor Program created pursuant to the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (Pub. L. 87-256, 75 Stat. 527), more commonly known as the Fulbright-Hayes Act. The purpose of the Act is to foster mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges.

Application Process and Deadlines

In order to apply, please submit the following documents in English to

  • Detailed project proposal and timeline for project completion. Successful proposals are typically 3-5 pages long, and specify the research question and proposed methodology.
      • Applicants should specify why they would like to conduct their research in California or San Francisco, and at UC Law SF specifically. We encourage applicants to identify a faculty mentor in advance from among the UC Law permanent faculty, and communicate with them about their proposed project before applying.
  • Current resume or CV;
  • Visiting Scholar Application; and
  • Proof of English proficiency (if English is not your native language or if you have not graduated from an institution of higher learning where English is the language of instruction).  We strongly prefer a valid TOEFL score report with a minimum TOEFL score of 600 (PBT) or 100 (iBT) or an IELTS score report with a minimum score of 7.0.  Given the nature and expectations from visiting scholars, emphasis will be placed not only or the reading and listening components of these exams, but upon writing and speaking proficiency as well.
      • Under exceptional circumstances, if you are unable to take the TOEFL or IELTS examination, we may accept an equivalent demonstration of English proficiency.


UC Law SF admits up to three visiting scholars at any given time, for a period of up to one year, but we also welcome visitors for shorter periods.


The application period for visits beginning in Spring 2024 is now closed.

The deadline for applications for Fall is March 31 of that calendar year. Decisions are typically made, and offers extended by May 1. The deadline for visits beginning in Spring is September 15 of the previous calendar year. Offers are typically extended by November 1. Applications submitted after these deadlines may be considered only if the three positions have not been filled.

Scholars requiring decisions sooner due to exceptional circumstances (e.g. for fellowship or scholarship purposes) should indicate so on their application. UC Law SF cannot, however, commit to expediting such applications.

We regret that we cannot consider individual applications out of cycle or issue invitation letters prior to approval of an application through our regularly scheduled Global Programs Committee review process. These procedural requirements apply to all visiting foreign scholars, regardless of whether or not they were recommended by members of the UC Law SF community.

Visiting Foreign Scholar Fees

Visiting foreign scholars are required to pay the following fees to UC Law SF:

Visiting Foreign Scholar J-1 Visa Application Processing Fee* $900
Visa Application Processing Fee for Dependents* $500   per dependent
Campus Administrative Fee $500
Visiting Foreign Scholar Residence Fee $800   per semester/ $1600 per year
Total for One Year Visit with No Dependents $3,000

*Please note that visiting foreign scholars must pay additional fees to the United States government when they submit their visas for processing at the applicable U.S. embassy or consulate. Visiting foreign scholars who do not require a visa are required to pay only the campus administrative fee and the visiting foreign scholar residence fee.

**The visiting foreign scholar residence fee may be waived for Fulbright Scholars.

University fees are due one month after acceptance to the program, or as specified in the offer letter. There is no financial aid available for visiting foreign scholars.

Additional Information

Health Insurance Requirement

The U.S. Department of State and J-1 visa regulations require all J-1 exchange visitors and accompanying dependents to be covered by health, accident, and repatriation insurance that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements.  They must be covered by such insurance for the entire length of their stay, and the insurance must meet the following minimum benefits requirements:

  • Medical benefits of at least$100,000 per accident or illness
  • Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
  • Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
  • A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness

An insurance policy that meets the minimum benefits requirements must be underwritten by an insurance corporation with an A.M. Best rating of    “A-” or above, an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd. (ISI) rating of “A-I” or above, a Standard and Poor’s Claims Paying Ability rating of “A-” or above, or a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of B+ or above or be backed by the full faith and credit of the government of the exchange visitor’s home country.

UC Law SF requires all visiting foreign scholars who need a J-1 visa to provide proof of insurance that meets the minimum requirements set out by the regulations above.  Visiting foreign scholars may provide proof that their home insurance policy or a policy they have purchased meets the minimum benefits and underwriting requirements. In this case, UC Law SF works with an outside firm, Garnett-Powers & Associates (Garnett), which will screen the visiting foreign scholar’s home insurance policy or purchased policy for compliance with minimum requirements for J-1 exchange visitors.  If Garnett determines that the scholar’s policy does not meet these requirements, the scholar will be required to purchase a Garnett insurance plan for him/herself and any dependents prior to arrival in the United States.  Information on Garnett insurance plans is available upon request. If a visiting foreign scholar requires a J-1 visa and fails to comply with the insurance requirements and procedures above, UC Law SF regrets that it must terminate its sponsorship of the scholar’s visa.

Living Expenses

Visiting foreign scholars are responsible for all expenses related to their stay in the United States and do not qualify for UC Law SF financial aid or benefits.  The minimum requirements set by UC Law SF to cover the cost of living are as follows: U.S. $3,500 per month for a visiting foreign scholar; U.S. $1,500 per month for a spouse; $800 per month per child. Visiting foreign scholars are required to provide proof of funds that meet or exceed these amounts in order for UC Law SF to process documents necessary for them to apply for a visa.

Office Space

Unfortunately, due to space limitations, UC Law SF generally is unable to provide office space or assigned library carrels to visiting foreign scholars. Visiting foreign scholars have full access to the UC Law SF Library, library databases, and other campus facilities. They are welcome to research and write in the library as well as in other study areas.

Housing & Transportation

Visiting foreign scholars are responsible for securing their own housing during their research period. Due to heavy demand for the limited number of on-campus housing units, we cannot guarantee the availability of on-campus housing.

Finding suitable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area can be lengthy and challenging. Therefore, visiting foreign scholars are strongly encouraged to start searching for suitable housing (and childcare if applicable) prior to their arrival in San Francisco.  Please note that local hotel accommodations are expensive and not conducive to long-term stays.

UC Law SF does not offer any special discount plans for public transportation or parking facilities around the campus. Visiting foreign scholars are responsible for arranging and paying for the cost of transportation from/to the airport and public transportation throughout their stay.