Carnegie Mellon University

ISR Visitor Procedures

Visitors from other universities and from industry can add significant value to the ISR community. However, there are various university policies and procedures that must be followed to protect the department, the university, and the visitor during their stay. In addition, effective January 5, 2015, the State Department has imposed new requirements on visitors from outside of the US ("J Visitors").

This procedural document provides an outline of the steps that must be followed to bring a visitor to campus. Please note that students who have recently graduated from the University may be considered visitors for purposes of employment and immigration; please contact Helen (per the below) for all visitors, regardless of source.

  1. Email Helen Higgins indicating your desire to invite a visitor to the university; if you have not already spoken with Nick about office space requirements, please copy him on the email.   
  2. Download the Visitor Questionnaire Form.
  3. Complete Part III of the Visitor Questionnaire Form.
  4. If you are going to charge fees to the visitor, complete Part IV of the Visitor Questionnaire Form.
  5. Email the completed Visitor Questionnaire Form to Helen Higgins ( The rest of the questionnaire will be completed by Helen Higgins and the invited visitor.
  6. Helen will then begin working with various university departments AND WITH THE VISITOR to process the request

The State Department now requires us to objectively measure the English language proficiency of all new J visitors. OIE is required to retain evidence of how proficiency was measured and present it to the State Department upon request. While a TOEFL score or similar documentation is generally sufficient, we expect that most faculty will simply wish to interview the visitor candidates either in person or via videoconferencing to determine proficiency. An interview sheet must be used to document this conversation and can be obtained here.

If a visitor is going to be assessed a fee for the visit (generally this applies to corporate visitors but may apply to others), you must contact Nick Frollini when the request is initiated. Nick will review with you the terms and conditions of such a visit and discuss how funds will be allocated once the visitor arrives and will handle invoicing as is appropriate. All fees to be paid during their stay must be itemized and provided in the invitation letter.

If the faculty member host is going to provide financial support while the visitor is here, a formal offer letter will need to be requested from the Business Office (Helen Higgins will prepare the letter). The university mandates minimum compensation levels for foreign visiting scholars; see Helen Higgins for current minimum rates. Note that paid visitors will be subject to additional requirements under PA law and university policy, including criminal background checks.

Faculty members should work with Helen Higgins to assemble an invitation package that will include:

  • Invitation letter; offer letter for CMU Supported External Visitors.
  • Visitor agreement (provided by Helen based on the University’s most current standard form; these are not negotiable).
  • Other information if needed.
In order to comply with all of the new State Department requirements, all invitation letters must be prepared by Helen. These letters and the accompanying documentation will now be more complicated and subject to additional requirements and this will ensure that all letters will meet OIE, CMU, and State Department requirements.
  1. Confirm the actual arrival date with Helen Higgins.
  2. Confirm the need for an office space.
  3. Review computing needs with Helen and/or the ISR ITS Staff:
    • Will a machine be needed?
    • What about wired network access?
    • Andrew and/or CS email accounts?
    • CMU ID Card for access?
  4. Provide charge strings to Helen for these expenses (for Corporate Visitors, the Business Office will provide the charge string once all agreements have been signed and invoices processed; no charges will be authorized for Corporate Visitors unless all documentation is in place and invoices have been processed).