Visiting Student Program

How does the Visiting Student program work?

Each year usually accepts the equivalent of nine visiting students. These months are centrally tracked in the Visiting Student portal. There are standardized dates for each appointment start (1st or 15th of the month) and end (last day of the month). 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 study, 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 from the day ISO receives the required application documents on iMIT 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 since they will be the source of the information needed for the application.

Note that the faculty host is responsible for a $1,000 processing fee and research funds cannot be used. Either the faculty host or the visiting student can pay the monthly Visiting Student Fee ($625/month, includes registration, MIT Student Extended Insurance Plan, and student life fees). 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.

How do I start the process?

To initiate the VS appointment process, the faculty member or Administrative Assistant should complete a Visiting Student Mentoring Plan** and the English Proficiency Assessment*** and the offer letter and submit them, along with the required student information, to the Education Office via the Visiting Student Request form. All applications must be submitted via the linked form; Word documents will no longer be accepted by the Education Office.

*For students whose visits are less than five weeks in duration, the Visiting Student fee will be waived, but they will still be required to enroll in the MIT SEIP unless their host institution is in Massachusetts and they can provide proof of enrollment in their school’s student health insurance plan.
**Mentoring Plan not required for visits of less than five weeks in duration.
***International students only

What happens once my appointment has been approved?

After receiving the Visiting Student Information form, the Education Office will enter the student’s information into the Visiting Student portal. An email will be sent to the student to notify them they are responsible for:

  • Creating an MIT account and Kerberos ID
  • Uploading the following pre-admissions documents to the visiting student onboarding app (
    • CV/Resume
    • Official Undergraduate and/or Graduate Transcripts
    • Mentoring Plan (to be completed by the MIT Faculty Host)
    • Copy of Passport
    • Certification of English Language Proficiency (international students only)
    • Signed Visiting Student Acknowledgement
  • Once the student has uploaded the pre-admissions documents and they have been accepted by the Education Office, approval will continue to the Department Head, then to SoS, and finally VPR.

The student will then be responsible for completing the following post-admissions tasks:

  • iMIT (
  • CovidApps to document vaccination status and for campus access
  • Sexual harassment training
  • Bill and payment
  • MIT Department Invitation Letter (to be uploaded by the Education Office)
  • MIT Medical information
  • Mandatory orientation sessions

Once the student arrives on campus, they will be required to complete the following steps:

  1. Online check-in with ISO within 10 days of arrival
  2. J-1 visa orientation. Register for a session date in iMIT within 10 days of arrival.
  3. Confirm registration as a Visiting Student in onboarding app – must be registered within 30 days of program start date
  4. Download digital MIT ID. Physical ID cards available at Atlas Center
  5. Lab training

When a visiting student is continuing for a new term, 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.

Upon conclusion of the visiting student appointment, both the student and the faculty host will receive exit surveys to complete as part of the visa requirements.

Useful Links

International Students Office

Visiting Student Fees

Visiting Student Mentoring Plan template

Visiting Student Estimated Expenses While at MIT Form

Visiting Student program FAQ – updated October 2021