Non-Degree Visiting Students (NDVS) Guide for Administrators

The information below is provided for University administrators who work with international non-degree visiting students.  Most of the links below will place you in the relevant section of this page, but we also encourage you to read the information that follows here it its entirety, particularly if you are new to this role.  In case of questions, please contact the adviser for your department.

About Non-Degree Visiting Students

Non-Degree Visiting Student (NDVS) is a specific academic designation with the University. The requirements for the designation of 'Non-Degree Visiting Student' (NDVS) are set by the office of the Provost.  Details about NDVS eligibility, benefits, and restrictions can be found in the Student Manual. Please also see the information provided by the Graham School. The sections outlined below are taken from the student manual.

Graduate Level NDVS Eligibility

Per the UChicago student manual, Graduate Non-Degree Visitors are advanced graduate students pursuing a graduate level degree at another academic institution, who are at the research or writing stage, and who temporarily work on their research project with a faculty member at the University of Chicago. Graduate non-degree visiting students are:

  • Considered to be in a full-time student status;
  • Charged the Non-Degree Visitor fee per quarter as well as other mandatory fees;
  • Eligible to participate in laboratory-based research;
  • Not eligible to enroll in courses at the University (thus exempt from the immunization requirements);
  • Not allowed to take on a teaching position with the University; and
  • Given student privileges such as access to the libraries, athletic facilities, and electronic networks

Graduate non-degree visiting students must comply with all University rules and regulations and are subject to student disciplinary systems. This status is available for no more than four consecutive quarters, including the summer quarter. This status may be extended by up to four consecutive quarters upon recommendation of the faculty sponsor and the area Dean of Students and with the approval of the Executive Vice Provost. (Student Manual)

Undergraduate NDVS Eligibility

Per the student manual, Undergraduate Non-Degree Visitors are advanced undergraduate students pursuing a degree at another institution who would benefit from undertaking research at the University of Chicago. Undergraduate non-degree visiting students are:

  • Considered to be in full-time student status;
  • Registered through the appropriate area Dean of Students or the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies;
  • Charged a Non-Degree Visitor fee as well as other mandatory fees;
  • Required to have health insurance;
  • Eligible to participate in laboratory-based research;
  • Not eligible to enroll in courses at the University (thus exempt from the immunization requirements); and
  • Given student privileges such as access to the libraries, student housing, athletic facilities, and electronic networks.

Undergraduate non-degree visiting students must comply with all University rules and regulations and are subject to student disciplinary systems. This status is available for the summer term only and will not be extended. Summer term is understood to extend from the first day after the end of the spring quarter to the last day before the beginning of the autumn quarter; this is meant to accommodate differences in the academic calendars of institutions world-wide. (Student Manual)

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Required Expenses and Costs

NDVS are responsible for all tuition and fees, unless other arrangements have been made by the department.  To qualify for a DS-2019, admitted international NDVS must prove that they have sufficient funds to cover the following expenses:

  • Tuition and fees
  • An estimated cost of living
  • Mandatory health insurance
  • Additional costs for dependents (spouse, children), if applicable

Even if the department is paying all tuition and fees for the NDVS, the estimated expenses must be provided to OIA, as they must be itemized on the student's DS-2019.  All expenses are estimates assessed by a quarterly basis. Quarterly expenses cannot be prorated, even if you are here for part of a quarter only.

Estimating Expenses

When you request an NDVS document, you must provide the estimated expense amounts for the categories listed above on the request form. This is the case even if the PI or department is providing funding to cover all costs. Use the following guidance in creating your estimated expenses:

  • Tuition and fees: This should be a pre-determined and set amount with your department
  • Cost of living: Should reflect a modest lifestyle and should be the same for all students.  The estimate cannot be adjusted for personal circumstances
  • Health insurance: Use the current USHIP premium amounts
  • Dependents, if applicable: The additional cost per dependent per quarter is $1,000/dependent

Tuition and fee expenses must be calculated for the entire length of the quarter, even if the visitor is staying less than one quarter.  If the visit extends into the following quarter (by even a day), estimated expenses and funding for the entire quarter must be provided. We recommend paying close attention to quarterly start and end dates.  The cost of living can be adjusted to the time the NDVS is actually at the University.

A listing of all acceptable funding types can be found on our website, as well as requirements for each.  Please ask students to carefully review these requirements.  Providing insufficient or unacceptable documents will cause the application to be returned to the department and delay processing.

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Undergraduate NDVS Funding

Required Funding for International NDVS - Undergraduate 

Please note that international undergraduate NDVS can come to the University for the summer, i.e. at maximum from the day after spring quarter ends until the day before autumn quarter begins. 

Tuition for international undergraduate NDVS differs across the University. Please contact the school/division hosting the undergraduate NDVS for updated expenses including tuition, cost of living (room and board) and any additional fees (e.g. USHIP). 

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English Language Requirement for NDVS

NDVS must meet an English language requirement.  NDVS must meet the requirement in one of the following ways:

  • TOEFL spoken score of 18 or better
  • IELTS spoken score of 6 or better (academic test)
  • PTE spoken score of 50 or better
  • AEPA of "Basic" or better*
  • Having attended a U.S. higher education institution full-time for at least one academic year within the past 5 years
    • Only applies to school in the U.S. Employment in the U.S. does NOT count towards the English language requirement

*Proficiency levels of the AEPA exam are

  • Excellent
  • Proficient
  • Functional
  • Basic
  • Limited

The English language requirement may be waived if the applicant is a native of or studied in full-time status for at least one academic year within the last five years in only the following countries:

  • The U.S.
  • The United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Caribbean countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago
  • Guyana, or 
  • English medium universities in Canada or South Africa.

Students who studied in English in other countries, for example, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc., are not exempt from the English language requirement.

If an NDVS you are inviting has met the English language requirement by other means than those listed above, please contact OIA before submitting a request.

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Immigration Status for NDVS

All NDVS will be given J-1 Status.

When an NDVS comes to the University in J-1 status, the J category applied will be "student, non-degree" which is limited to a total of 2 calendar years by federal regulations. For more details regarding the J-1 status, including the potential 2-year home residency requirement,  visit our comparison of F and J student status webpage.

A Note about Tourist Status, B-1/B-2, and/or ESTA

Individuals in B status or under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) are not eligible to be an NDVS at the University. If someone is currently in the U.S. in either category, the only way to become an NDVS with the University of Chicago is to leave the U.S. and re-enter in the appropriate status. 

Note: If a prospective NDVS is in F-1 or J-1 status with another institution in the U.S. or if a prospective NDVS is in another non-immigrant status in the U.S., please consult with OIA on appropriate steps.

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Required Health Insurance

All NDVS Students: Per University policy, all non-degree Visiting Students are required to have health insurance that meets or exceeds the University standards. Students are automatically enrolled in and billed for USHIP insurance each quarter. To opt out of (waive) USHIP, students must provide proof of insurance that meets or exceeds the University minimums.

J-1 NDVS: In addition to the University requirements listed above, federal regulations make health insurance a condition of Ex­change Visitor (J) status in the United States and specify the types and levels of cover­age. The requirement applies to all J-1 Exchange Visitors and their J-2 dependents for their entire stay in the US.  The University's USHIP coverage also meets the federal J-1 requirements. Compliance with the insurance requirement is the student's responsibility.

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Other Important NDVS Info and Resources

Departmental Responsibilities

All departments requesting NDVS status and bringing NDV students to the U.S. are responsible for all of the following:

  • Supplying all of the required information that is necessary to completed the NDVS request to OIA through either the electronic request form or Slate (if set up for NDVS admissions)
  • Informing OIA of any changes in arrival date if the NDVS will not arrive by the start date listed on the Form I-20 or DS-2019
  • Advising newly arrived J-1 NDVS to check in electronically within 3 business days of arrival with all relevant immigration documents (Form DS-2019, passport, and visa). This includes the documents of spouses or children in J-2 status
  • Properly registering the NDVS in AIS as 'full time' every quarter present, including summer
  • Informing OIA of early departure of an NDVS who leaves the program before the indicated end date on Form DS-2019
  • Updating OIA regarding any changes in funding or other material changes from what was originally indicated on the Request Form
  • If students are at a low English level, the department is responsible for providing resources and English-language assistance to ensure the visitor has the sufficient ability to to understand and comply with University policies, follow immigration laws, and participate in campus student life.

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5-Point Letter for J-1 or F-1 NDVS Holding a Medical Degree

To comply with immigration law, foreign physicians coming to the U.S. to conduct non-clinical research in J-1 status must present -in addition to other documents- a document from the University of Chicago specifying from which activities they are restricted. When submitting an NDVS request for a foreign physician to OIA, please include the 5-point letter, signed and dated by the faculty supervisor. The NDVS will be required to sign and date the relevant section of the document before applying for a visa to come to the University.

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NDVS Request Approvers:

Requests for immigration documents for international NDVS must be approved by the Office of the Dean of Students within each school/division. 

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