Guidelines for Visitors Participating in Academic Activities

Columbia University routinely hosts visitors to be engaged in research or other academic endeavors (“academic visitors”) who come for a short period of academic collaboration/research or independent research.

These guidelines do not apply to prospective student applicants, visits by family members, or other non-academic visitors.  

Under all circumstances, academic visitors must meet the requirements detailed in the Faculty Handbook and University visitor guidelines; if international visitor, have a valid visa sponsored by the University; have completed a valid I-9 if they are to be appointed; and follow any other applicable policies and regulations.


Academic visitors must be approved by the unit head or host principal investigator.


Academic visitors may be allowed on campus in situations where they are actively engaging in collaborative research or projects or other academic activities, subject to the following additional conditions:

  • Academic visitors must be approved by the unit head or host principal investigator and included in all campus density calculations.
  • Academic visitors must be appropriately prioritized and generally may not take priority over Columbia affiliates if density/occupancy constraints arise. If the presence of a visitor will prevent a Columbia affiliate from desired on-campus activity, the issue must be resolved by the Unit head or host Principal Investigator.
  • Academic visitors engaging in research or other academic endeavors must complete the Safe Research at Columbia or other required training. If the visitor is short-term and does not yet have a UNI, the visitor must be emailed a PDF of the training and directed to review it before coming to campus.
  • Academic visitors must complete the daily symptom self-check using the ReopenCU App. In the event that the visitor does not yet have a UNI, the visitor must complete a paper symptom self-check form and provide the form to the principal investigator or Unit head. The principal investigator/unit head must retain these completed forms for 21 days, confirm that the visitor has not developed symptoms and then destroy them.
  • Academic visitors must get an initial gateway COVID-19 diagnostic test, like other affiliates, within 14 days before coming to campus.
  • At this point in time, COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended for academic visitors.
  • Per New York State’s Travel Advisory, academic visitors traveling to New York State must adhere to any travel/entry requirements and are encouraged to follow state/CDC recommendations.
  • Academic visitors must commit to the Columbia Community Health Compact

These guidelines will be updated as needed as circumstances change.

Download the Academic Visitors Guidelines.