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Visitor Policy

Definition and Purpose

Each year, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) receives hundreds of requests to visit our facilities, to meet with and learn from faculty or to just spend time at CVM.

This webpage clarifies the types of visitors CVM hosts, the visit planning and approval process, and the related services that the college will provide to the host and to the visitor. 

Casual short-term visits, with no appointment in Workday and no international visa handling, are processed solely by each department. The Office of Human Resources and the Office of International Affairs and Professional Services (OIAPS) will guide and assist if there are questions concerning departmental casual visits.

The need for an appointment in Workday or international/visa handling will trigger formal processing by OIAPS.

Types of Visitors and Status at CVM

There are various types of visitors to CVM and any formal visitors as defined above will be processed into one of the following categories.

Research/ Academic Visitors

Visiting academics

Researchers or scientists from other institutions who have academic credentials. This may include faculty on sabbatical or visiting as a part of a collaboration. Visiting faculty may be at the CVM for up to one year.

Visiting academics must hold a research or faculty position at another institution.

Sabbatical academics in collaborative relationships/projects will incur no fees.

‘Lab’ interns

Postgraduate research students who have a desire to be mentored and learn in a lab. Interns visit for up to 12 months with proof of student status and funding from home institution or government (stipend/fellowship).*

‘Lab’ interns must:

  • Describe individual benefits from the learning/experience gained through the internship
  • NOT displace regular employees; work under the close observation of a regular employee
  • Understand that they are not entitled to a job at the conclusion of the training period
  • Understand that the individual is not entitled to wages
  • Be willing to cover the costs related to mentoring and campus access

*Funding minimums will be evaluated and matched yearly to the Tompkins County Livable Wage.

Initiating, Requesting and Finalizing Visits

All visitors must be sponsored by a faculty member. Faculty members must submit documents to their department administrator or the OIAPS for review. Final department chair/unit director approval must be four-six months prior to the visit.

These documents include:

  1. A Visitor Request Form. This form collects information required to process visitor documents, commitment of the faculty member and department, and clarifies the best category and/or status for each visitor.
  2. A CV. This describes relevant education and research experience.
  3. Letter of Intent. This summarizes the academic and research goals of the visitor, and is provided by the visitor.

Processing will not commence without these documents and funding proof. Once the documents are reviewed, they will be submitted to the appropriate department chair or CVM unit director.  OIAPS will coordinate directly with the proposed visitor to gather all other documentation required in order to process the application. The faculty sponsor will be kept informed.

OIAPS will provide a visitor with college documents that acknowledge the expectations made of the visitor (including costs) and benefits provided by Cornell. The appropriate letter of visit will be issued only at this time. 

The following table lists the specific documentation required for each visitor.

Requirement Visiting academic 'Lab' intern
Visitor Request Form Yes Yes
Letter of Intent Yes Yes
Faculty Mentor Commitment Yes Yes
Chair Approval Yes Yes
Financial Support Yes Yes
Proof of English Yes Yes
Learning Objectives Yes Yes
Proof of Matriculation Yes (if student)
Health Insurance Yes Yes
Liability Insurance
Liability Waiver Yes Yes
Parental Approval

Approval Process for Visitors

As CVM does not charge tuition to any visitor, we have no visitors with a student status and academic transcripts. Visiting students who need academic credit and need to visit for more than 12 months must be admitted to the college as a non-degree student.

The following sequence is used to process a visitor.

Step Process Ideal Timeframe*
Visitor Request Form, CV, Letter of Intent from from visitor
  • Completed by faculty member
  • Submitted to department administrator or OIAPS
  • Assessed for proper status and viability by OIAPS
  • Paperwork and checklist submitted to department chair/unit director
  • Signed visitor form by department chair/unit director sent to OIAPS.

If the Visitor Request Form has not been signed, the visit is not finalized.

At least four-to-six months before visit
Visitor Application Processed and Accepted
  • Collection of documents by OIAPS
  • Visitor classification and status assigned
  • Where needed, immigration documents are issued
At least three months before visit
Visit Preparation

Resources shared by OIAPS:

  • On-campus resources (library, internet, etc.)
  • Area resources (accommodation, transportation, banking, etc.)
  • CVM-specific travel advice (appropriate biosecurity guidelines and recommendations, vaccines required, specialized clothing or equipment needed)
  • Collection of documents for onboarding/Cornell/NetID
  • Timeline of arrival confirmed by OIAPS to department
Two months before visit
Visitor Arrival

Welcome and check-in provided by OIAPS, including

  • Confirm immigration status/arrival for check-in
  • Review of policy and procedures, including EHS2021
  • Request and grant building or software specific access
  • Add visitor to Daily Check
Day of arrival
Routine Check-in
  • Be point of contact for any questions or concerns while here
Exit Interview Close-out by host department, including
  • Collecting Cornell/NetID
  • Collection of building keys
  • Deactivate software and building access
Last day

Visitor Costs

Visit fees, at the discretion of the academic department director or chair, can be evaluated on a case by case basis. In the interest of the standardization of CVM, an exemption should only be granted in exceptional circumstances. The association dean of academic affairs will be included in fee exemptions when applied. 

All visits will incur fees, which are defined each year. The fees can be paid by the host faculty, department, section, or visitor. Visitor-related costs are used to cover fees for specific services that are granted upon Workday appointment, such as TCAT transportation, library services, web access and space usage.

There are no volunteers in CVM laboratories. Volunteers and voluntary activities will be reviewed for structured programs and adhere to CU Policy 6.5. Visitors will be placed in the correct title for visit purposes.

CVM-Provided Resources and Benefits for Visitors

The following table lists the specific Cornell benefits provided to the different types of visitors.

Benefit “Visitor” (Extern, visiting vet, visiting academic, ‘lab’ intern) “Employee” (Self-funded vet interns/residents) “Volunteer” (Wildlife Health Center and Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists)
Visa Sponsorship
  • Support to complete and process application (see notes below)
(if > 3 months or requested) X N/A
Orientation and Welcome Pack
  • Contains information on CVM key contacts, directions and parking.
In-person Orientation
  • Information on specific service/lab rules and regulations; Wi-Fi registration.
Cornell ID
  • Provides access to select buildings, TCAT transportation and library material check out.
(if > 3 months or requested) X N/A
  • Provides access to Cornell email, library services and software.
(if > 3 months or requested) X N/A
Housing Assistance
  • List of pre-screened on-campus and off-campus options provided, local hotels close to CVM, Ithaca contact information for housing posts. Coordination with campus housing managers for direct billing possible.
State/Federal Withholding
  • Taxes withheld per U.S./state laws.
(with allowance)
CVM Software and Data Access
  • Temporary access offered.
English Language Support
  • Professional English and Conversation classes can be organized and sponsored at extra cost.

Please note that the lab intern (unpaid/paid/allowance) human resources title will grant TCAT access.

Additional resources

Notes on Visas for Visitors

Given current immigration and visa scrutiny, processing and preparation times for visas may be increased. Added controls and credential checks are in place. CVM documents and files will need added reviews. Visits are encouraged to be processed in the most accurate and appropriate visa status as possible in order to avoid possible entry complications or denials. 

CVM Policy on Visa Sponsorship

CVM visitors who are foreign nationals with short-term and casual (no or limited CVM/Cornell benefits/services needed) are encouraged to use the visa waiver program and tourist/business B visas when possible. If the visitor is in need of and requests visa sponsorship to gain college and university benefits/services, CVM will sponsor a visa with department and human resources approval. 

B Visa/Visa Waiver Program

This visa should be used only if visit activities are casual and extremely short. Support documentation that is given to the visitor should highlight that no payment/compensation is being given and that no academic matriculation, credentials, transcripts or documentation will be issued as a result of the visit. Customs and consular officials can be difficult if the visit is considered to fall outside of the U.S. Immigration Regulations that apply to this category and may deny entry or visa. 

J1 Visa

Compensation can be paid. Requires proof of:

  • minimum funds (provided by visitor’s home institution, government, fellowship or Cornell) currently at $31,200 per year/$2,600 per month
  • English competency
  • Health and repatriation coverage
  • Consular processing

CVM is limiting visitors for a one-year sponsorship period. 

This visa category allows only incidental animal/patient contact. It allows for a dependent spouse/partner to apply for U.S. work authorization. It has flexible U.S. arrival and departure, which grants the visitor a 30-day grace period to be in within the U.S. (no longer being paid). 

No added processing cost to Cornell/CVM. Five year maximum sponsorship, 12 month gap needed between new J sponsorships and can require a two-year home residency period for the visitor upon completion. In-house CVM handling allows for DS2019 printing/validating and J1 scholar check in.