Aerial view of campus on the edge of the ocean

Visiting International Research Students (VIRS)

UBC is a hub for outstanding researchers from around the world and welcomes visiting international research students (VIRS) to participate in our community of inquiry.

The VIRS program is for students conducting full-time research full-time at UBC. The student is under the supervision of a UBC faculty member.

What is Full time?

The student can be either:

  • enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or graduate-equivalent program at another international university 
  • a participant in a UBC-recognized “bridging” program.
    • Examples: The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) and Mitacs Globalink. Please contact us with respect to other programs. 


A VIRS student must meeting all of the following criteria:

  • Not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Intend to come to UBC solely for the purpose of research that aligns with their academic program at their home university.
  • Plan to engage in research education and conduct research for one month or longer (maximum 12 months)
  • Have no intention to enter into an employment relationship with the university related to the research
  • Obtain the approval for research activities at UBC by obtaining signatures from:
    • Host supervisor (i.e. a UBC faculty member who has agreed to act as supervisor through the proposed research period at UBC)

    • UBC Department Head for the unit or laboratory with which the visiting research student will be affiliated

    • Home university or sponsoring program

    • Supervisor from home institution

Getting a UBC supervisor as a VIRS student

Prospective students - is VIRS the right pathway?

Your program and contacts at UBC will help you decide whether you should plan to come to UBC to do salaried research (as an employee) or whether your research is part of your educational program requirement (as a student). 

Use the first two levels of the chart to determine the right path to follow. 

flow chart of different ways a student can come to UBC for research
Helpful acronyms
  • LMIA - Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada)

For students who want to research and take courses as a UBC Student

Visiting Students - VISI

Application, FAQs + study permits for VIRS

Resources for coming to UBC


Mathew Lyle

Email enquiries + advising appointments

When emailing us, please include your full name and student number in the subject line.

Mathew Lyle

VIRS Advisor

Go Global

Telephone: 604 822 0942

UBC Life Building
1001 - 6138 Student Union Boulevard
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1