Aerial view of campus on the edge of the ocean

Visiting International Research Students (VIRS)

A Visiting International Research Student (VIRS) is an international student conducting research full-time at UBC, under the supervision of a UBC faculty member. The student is either enrolled in an undergraduate, graduate, or graduate-equivalent program at another university or is a participant in a UBC-recognized (through Go Global) “bridging” program*. 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.

*Examples of “bridging” program: The Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP) and Mitacs Globalink. Please contact us with respect to other programs. 

For immigration purposes, a VIRS student is enrolled as "full time" at UBC.


A VIRS student must:

  • Not have Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status
  • Intend to come to UBC solely for the purpose of research that must be academically relevant and align with the 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 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)

    • Home university or sponsoring program

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

    • Supervisor from home institution

Getting a UBC supervisor as a VIRS student

It is the responsibility of an individual applicant to identify, contact, and obtain approval from a UBC faculty member to act as their VIRS supervisor. It may be helpful to browse through the list of faculty members on the UBC faculty or department webpages to find one that best matches your research interests and academic background. Please note that the decision to take on a VIRS student is at the discretion of the faculty member.

Prospective students coming to UBC for research

Your program, pathways and contacts at UBC all depend on a crucial distinction of whether you plan to come to UBC to do Salaried Research (as an employee) or whether the 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. Follow the column of information straight down to understand what each pathway entails.

Helpful acronyms

  • LMIA - Labour Market Impact Assessment
  • IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly known as Citizenship and Immigration Canada)
Related links (Non VIRS)

Application, FAQs + study permits for VIRS

Resources for coming to UBC


Nazlyn Pirani

Email enquiries + advising appointments

When emailing us, please include:
  • Your student number in the subject line
  • Your full name and if you are an incoming or outgoing exchange student in the body of the email

You can email us to make an appointment to speak with the VIRS advisor

Nazlyn Pirani

VIRS Advisor

Go Global

Telephone: 604 822 0942

International House
1783 West Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z2