Visiting Scholars Program

CLACS welcomes scholars from around the world who wish to conduct research on Latin America and/or the Caribbean (broadly defined) with the intent to foster new ideas and collaborations.

Program Overview

Visiting Scholars are independent researchers affiliated with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and in residence at Berkeley. CLACS accepts Scholars who are pursuing a research project related to Latin America in any discipline. We welcome applications from academic researchers, university faculty members, and Ph.D. students, as well as from individuals with experience in government, business, or other professional fields who are likely to benefit from interactions with research scholars.  

Visiting scholars give public talks and participate fully in the intellectual life at CLACS.

Visiting Scholar appointents are temporary (3-12 months) and are categorized as either a Visiting Scholar (academic researchers and faculty who have held a PhD or equivelent degree for at least five years and hold a paid university position) or a Visiting Student Researcher (currently enrolled MA or PhD students who possess a BA degree or its equivelent).

Privileges of a Visiting Scholar/Student Researcher

  • Enjoy full access to UC Berkeley’s libraries and electronic resources.
  • Receive access to shared office space at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and a Berkeley email address.
  • Welcome to attend all public events on campus.
  • Audit courses taught at Berkeley, subject to the instructor's approval.  

Responsibilities of a Visiting Scholar/Student Researcher

  • Invitation to present in seminars or conferences organized by CLACS.
  • Invitation to write an article for the Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies or the CLACS Blog. 
  • Share copies of work produced during the residency.
  • Please note that CLACS does not provide funding for the Visiting Scholars/Visiting Student Researchers it agrees to host. Applicants must submit documentation verifying and detailing funding for the entire period of their desired affiliation. For information about minimum funding requirements for issuance of a United States visa, please click here.

Visiting Scholar Requirements


Non-U.S. citizens will apply for a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa sponsored by UC Berkeley. Visiting researchers receive a J-1 visa and their spouse and dependents receive J-2 visas. The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies will serve as the official host department and sponsor for the J-1 visa and campus affiliation. Visiting researchers should not initiate the visa application process until their appointment has been officially approved by the CLACS Director and by the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar & Postdoc Affairs Office (VSPA).

NOTE: Visa processing requires a minimum of 3-6 months. Scholars should NOT make any travel arrangements until after the visa is approved and issued.

Income and Funding

CLACS does not provide funding for Visiting Researchers. Visitors are required to provide proof of their own funding (such as a sabbatical salary, grant, or fellowship from an extramural organization). J-1 scholar funding requirements are established by the U.S. Government. The minimum funding requirements are currently: $1,800 per month available for yourself, plus $500 per month if you are accompanied by your spouse, plus $300 per month per accompanying child. (For example, visitors planning to come with a spouse and two children would need at least $2,900 per month, or $34,800 per year.)

Health Insurance

All international visiting scholars on the UC Berkeley campus are required to have medical insurance that meets the University's minimum coverage requirements, either through the UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar Benefit Plan or from another insurer. Please refer to the VSPA Visiting Researcher Health Insurance page for more information.

English language proficiency

UC Berkeley requires all international scholars to provide proof of English language proficiency (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS, or signed documentation from an approved English language school). Upon verification, a confirmation of demonstrated proficiency in English can be issued by CLACS. Visiting researchers cannot rely on staff support for translation services.

For more information regarding Visiting Researcher requirements, please contact the Berkeley International Office or visit the VSPA website.

Application Guidelines

The application process, from acceptance as a Visiting Scholar or Visiting Student Researcher to arrival in the United States, usually takes at least three months and can take up to six months to complete due to visa regulations. Scholars and Student Researchers should plan their arrival date accordingly.

Application Components

A complete application consists of:

  • A cover letter/letter of introduction (in English)
  • A research proposal that includes the following:
    • Title of proposed project
    • Description of research project and plan of research
    • Research goals during period of affiliation
    • Brief statement on how CLACS affiliation will help accomplish these goals or further career development
    • Proposed arrival date and length of stay
    • One letter of recommendation from scholars who are familiar with your work
  • Curriculum vitae (in English)
  • Proof of funding (for more information, click here
  • Copy of passport information page for scholar and any accompanying dependents

Complete applications should be e-mailed directly to Julia Byrd ( sends e-mail))

Application Review

Completed applications are reviewed by CLACS. Applications are evaluated on the strength of the project, the scholar's ability to complete the research independently, and the availability of resources to support the scholar's research goals. 

Affiliation Process

If an applicant is accepted, CLACS and UC Berkeley will facilitate the affiliation and visa process. 

Once all fees have been paid and secondary application materials have been received, CLACS will process the applicant’s DS-2021 form, which allows the scholar to go to the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy to apply for the J-1 (Visiting Scholar) visa. 

Once a Visiting Scholar/Researcher has the visa in hand and travel plans scheduled, they should inform CLACS of their arrival dates and schedule an appointment to complete the arrival forms required by the U.S. government.

Affiliation Fees

Visiting Student Researchers 

J-1 Visa Processing Fee

$600 (plus an additional $300 fee if expedited processing is required)

Campus Service Fee


Visiting Scholars 

J-1 Visa Processing Fee $600 (plus an additional $300 fee if expedited processing is required)
Campus Service Fee