Visiting Research Only (VRO) Students

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

Visiting Research Only (VRO) Students general criteria

  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.
    • $63.00 per month for University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP)
    • $35.00 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 London Transit (LTC) bus pass through the University Students' Council (USC) or Society of Graduate Students (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.

If you are interested in visiting Western University for the purpose of taking courses as a visiting student, learn more through the Office of the Registrar. Information about document requirements and fees can be found below. 

Health Care and Medical Students

If you are a health care student arranging a clinical placement or practicum at Western University, please immediately contact for assistance. Health care students interested in a short-term clinical placement or practicum may be eligible to enter Canada as Visitors without a Work Permit.

Clinical and Research Fellows (who hold an MD, Doctor of Dental Medicine or equivalent), and medical residents are invited and managed through the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Postgraduate Medical Education Program office. Please contact 519-661-2019 or for assistance.

Information about Clinical Clerks and Visiting Student Electives (Undergraduate Medical Students) is available through the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Undergraduate Medical Education Program office. Please contact for assistance. If you are a health care student interested in research (not a clinical placement), please contact the academic department/faculty member responsible for inviting you to come to Western

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

We recommend hosting faculty/departments submit VRO applications to our office 6 months prior to the start of the visiting period, given uncertainties of visa processing time. You may check current processing times for visitor visa or work permit application from outside Canada. Please note the times may not reflect how long it actually takes IRCC to process their applications.

VRO students without a valid visa can apply for their visitor status or work permit only AFTER our office has received and approved their complete VRO application.

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 three possible employment authorization streams for VRO students:

Research Award Recipients Academic award Research Award Recipients

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