Visiting Research Only (VRO) Students

Western International is processing VRO student applications under Self-funded Academic Researcher and Short term (120-day) work permit exemption for researcher categories due to travel entry requirements to Canada changes 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 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. We will continue to process the VRO student applications under the Research Award Recipient category.

There are some important considerations to keep in mind before VRO supervisors commit to hosting and supervising a VRO student. 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 travel once their research is complete. If they are not able to leave Canada, the host supervisor must be ready to support them until they are able to leave the country.

Western's Vaccination Policy and VRO Students

Once VRO students are term-activated on Western's student record system, they will receive a message to their Western email address ( that includes information about Western's vaccine policy and a personalized link to upload their proof of vaccination. Students may email for questions. 

  • Even if students are considered fully vaccinated for entry to Canada, and declared exempt from quarantine, they may be required to obtain additional vaccines upon arrival. This is because the definition of fully vaccinated in Ontario/at Western varies from the definition for entry to Canada. 
  • VRO students who are considered fully vaccinated according to Western’s vaccination policy will need to upload their proof of vaccination as soon as possible. This can be done before arrival in Canada, if appropriate.
  • VRO students who are not fully vaccinated according to Western’s vaccination policy must contact via their Western email address ( to request a temporary exemption to Western's vaccination policy. Students will be required to follow a rapid testing process in order to come to campus. Once they are fully vaccinated, they will need to use the personalized link set to them to upload their proof of vaccination.

For more information, visit our Vaccine FAQ for International Students page.

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.
    • $63.00 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