Selection Criteria

The Institute accepts visiting scholars who are pursuing a research project on South Asia that is transnational, border-crossing, or comparative in nature. We welcome  applications from active academic researchers and university faculty members. Applicants are expected to hold advanced academic degrees. The Institute also welcomes applications from individuals with experience in government service, business or professional fields who are likely to benefit from interactions with research scholars. Current PhD students may apply for affiliation as a Visiting Student Researcher. These opportunities however are limited and are offered only in connection with current Institute initiatives or research projects. Furthermore, each visiting scholar must be nominated by a UC Berkeley faculty member.

Application Review

The Institute for South Asia Studies reviews applications for visiting scholars three times a year. 

  • For arrival during the Fall Semester (August 15 – December) - DEADLINE: April 15
  • For arrival during the Spring Semester (January – May 15 ) - DEADLINE: September 15
  • For arrival during the summer (May 15 – August 15) - DEADLINE: January 15

The application process, from acceptance as a visiting scholar until arrival in the U.S., often takes at least three months and can take up to six months to complete due to visa regulations. Scholars should plan their arrival date accordingly.

Privileges and Responsibilities of a Visiting Scholar

ISAS Visiting Scholars are independent researchers while in residence at Berkeley. Visiting Scholars enjoy full access to Berkeley libraries and electronic resources and receive an e-mail account for use during their stay. They may be invited to present or otherwise take part in seminars or conferences organized by the ISAS. Visiting Scholars are welcome to attend all announced scholarly events on campus. Classroom participation as an auditor is subject to the approval of individual faculty members. All Visiting Scholars are asked to submit a final report on the outcome of their research affiliation. The ISAS appreciates copies of publications or papers completed during a visitor's affiliation with the Institute.

Please note that office space may be available on a first come, first served basis.

Application Procedures

A complete application consists of:

  • Cover letter/letter of introduction (in English)
  • Research proposal addressing the following:
    • Title of proposed project while in residence at Berkeley
    • Description of research project and plan of research
    • Research goals during period of affiliation
    • Brief statement on how affiliation with the Institute will help you accomplish these goals or further your career development
    • Proposed arrival date and length of stay
  • Name and contact information for Faculty Sponsor at UC Berkeley
  • Curriculum vitae (in English)

For International Visitors ONLY

  • Proof of Funding:
    • The Institute does not provide funding for visiting scholars/researchers it agrees to host. Applicants must submit documentation verifying and detailing funding for the entire period of their desired affiliation. If funding documentation is not in English, the applicant should provide a translation.
    • Note that minimum funding requirements for issuance of United States visa are as follows:
      • Minimum $1,600 per month for scholar
      • Plus additional $500 per month for spouse
      • Plus additional $200 per month for dependent child
    • Funding may come from any of the following sources or a combination of them:
      • Scholar's home institution — Requires letter of support which details amount of funding, use of funds, and date to which funding is guaranteed
      • A fellowship awarded by the applicant's home government or a recognized international organization — Requires letter of support which details amount of funding, use of funds, and date to which funding is guaranteed
      • Personal funds — Requires a bank statement or letter detailing the total amount in savings available
  • Copy of passport information page for scholar and any accompanying dependents
  • Once all fees have been paid and secondary application materials have been received, the Institute will process the applicant's DS-2019 which will allow him/her to go to the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy to apply for the J-1 (Visiting Scholar) visa.
  • After receipt of the DS-2019 and related materials, applicants are required to pay a one-time U.S. government Homeland Security processing fee of $180. Instructions on how to pay this fee will be sent to applicants with the DS-2019 and may also be found at Once this fee has been paid, applicants will then contact the local Consulate or Embassy to apply for the J-1 visa. To find the address, phone number, and business hours of the nearest Consulate or Embassy, please visit the U.S. Department of State website: Usually an interview with the American authorities is required to secure the J-1 visa.

Complete applications may be mailed or e-mailed directly to:

Institute for South Asia Studies
Visitng Scholar Program
10 Stephens Hall (Rear Annex)
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California 94720-2310

Completed applications are then reviewed by the ISAS Visiting Scholar Committee. Applicants will be notified of the Committee's decision in writing within a reasonable period of time.

Successful applicants will be asked to submit additional application forms and to pay the required non-refundable fees listed below:

Fees* Spring Semester Fall Semester
University Visiting Scholar Service Fee
Visiting Scholars 1st Yr. $750 $750
2nd Yr $750 $1500
Visiting Student Researchers 1st Yr. $750 $1000
2nd Yr $750 $2500
ISAS Affiliation Fee* $1500 $1500
For International Visiting Scholars ONLY**
J1 Visa Duration Six months or longer Six months or less
J1 Visa Extension Allowed Not Allowed
J-1 Visa Processing Fee $540 $540
U.S. government Homeland Security processing Fee $180 $180

* Fees must be paid in US dollars and can be in the form of an international money order, cashier's check, or personal check payable to "UC Regents".
** These fees are in addition to the "Proof of Funding" required for the issuance of a J1 visa as described in the "Application Procedures" section above.

Once an invited Visiting Scholar has the visa in hand and travel plans scheduled, she/he should inform the Institute of her/his arrival dates and to schedule an appointment to complete the arrival forms required by the US government.

If you have specific questions regarding the ISAS Visiting Scholars Program, please e-mail or visit the following websites: