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Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR) FAQs

Who is eligible to apply for Visiting Assistant in Research (VAR) status?

Advanced graduate students who are degree candidates at another university and who have made arrangements with a specific Graduate School faculty member at Yale for a research project under his or her direct supervision may be admitted to the Division of Special Registration as Visiting Assistants in Research (VARs).

Undergraduate students in combined or simultaneous B.S./M.S., B.A./M.A. or similar programs are not considered advanced graduate students. Student research to be conducted at Yale must relate to the visiting student’s thesis or dissertation. Students in Master’s programs that do not require a thesis are not eligible for admission as VARs.

What transcripts do I need? Must they be in English?

VAR applicants must provide a transcript from their current institution showing continuing enrollment during the period of study at Yale, along with all other graduate school transcripts. All transcripts must be in English or translated into English and must be uploaded to the online application prior to submission.

Mail sent to us via post or email cannot be accommodated and will be discarded.

Who should attest to my enrollment at my institution?

As a VAR, you must be currently enrolled at a degree-granting institution at the graduate level. An official proof of enrollment letter on institutional letterhead stationary must come from the office of a University Registrar or from a similar institutional office charged with administering enrolled student records. You will be prompted to upload this required letter to your online application.

How long may I be registered as a VAR student?

Initial enrollment may be for any length of time up to twelve months. After the initial enrollment period, students may apply to extend their enrollment for a cumulative total of up to two years. To apply for an extension, the student must submit a VAR Extension Application along with the applicable application fee. Once an extension has been approved by the program and the Graduate School, the student will receive a new letter of admission.

What is the Yale Adviser Invitation Verification Form and how does my adviser receive it?

The Yale Adviser Invitation Verification Form is part of the online application. The purpose of the form is to provide your prospective adviser with information regarding your proposed study at Yale and for the adviser to verify information you have entered on your application.

  • Within the Reference section of the online application, you will click “Add Recommender”. Select a form type of “Yale Adviser Form” and fill in your adviser's details. Your adviser will be emailed a link to the form to fill out on your behalf. This form must be submitted by your adviser before you will be able to submit your application.
  • The link your adviser receives will include information about your proposed study, including your proposed period of attendance.
  • If required, your adviser may also be asked to attest to your English language ability.

How do I find a research adviser?

It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify and contact a Yale Graduate School faculty member who agrees to be your adviser during your proposed stay at Yale.

  • Students seeking a compatible adviser are encouraged to review the research descriptions posted by most faculty members on their departmental websites.
  • Faculty members are under no obligation to advise VAR applicants.
  • Students will not be admitted without a faculty adviser.

Once you identify a Yale faculty member who agrees to serve as your adviser, you may enter that information in your application.

  • If your Yale adviser offers to provide any funding during your stay, you should enter the designated amount as a Yale Source of funding.

The application asks me to provide “proof of funding.” What is this?

VAR students are required to show proof of sufficient financial resources to cover tuition and living expenses while at Yale. This may include:

  •  financial support from your home institution
  •  an external award agency
  •  personal and/or family funds

Applicants must provide documentation for each source of funds.

  •  For each fellowship, grant and stipend, students must provide an official award letter detailing the amount and duration of each award.
  •  For personal funds, students must provide an official bank statement.
  •  For family support, students must provide a signed and dated letter from the family member indicating the amount and duration of the promised support, along with a corresponding bank statement showing sufficient funds.

For international students, the J-1 visa requires that you have substantial funding from sources other than personal or family funds. International students are required to have non-personal (non-family) external funding support of at least 50% of total costs (tuition plus monthly living expenses).

All documents uploaded showing support for resources or awards, including bank statements, must be in English.

How long does it take to review my application and render a decision?

Once your application and application fee are submitted, review of your VAR application may take anywhere between two to four weeks.

Will the University provide housing during my visit?

No. Visiting Assistants in Research are responsible for their own housing arrangements and living expenses. Information about housing options can be found at Yale Graduate Housing.

Please do not contact the Admissions Office or the Associate Dean's Office of the Graduate School regarding housing or accommodations as they will not be able to assist you.

May I take classes?

No. Visiting Assistants in Research are not eligible to take classes.

Non-degree students who wish to take classes must apply as Visiting Students, not Visiting Assistants in Research.

I am an international student. When will I obtain my immigration documents?

The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will typically contact you by email within 6-10 business days after you formally accept an offer of admission. At that time, you will be asked to fill out a mandatory survey. Once you complete the survey, OISS will prepare your DS-2019 immigration document and mail it to you via courier. This document will include your SEVISID number, which is required to pay the SEVIS fee and book a visa appointment. All questions regarding the visa process can be directed to OISS via email.

What should I do if I need to change my arrival or departure dates once I've been admitted?

If your start or end dates change, please first notify your program and your Yale Adviser. If you are an international student, you should also inform the Office of International Students and Scholars. Finally, email the Graduate School Non-Degree program office to let us know. We can issue you a revised letter of admission, as long as all parties agree to the date changes.

When and how do I pay Yale’s tuition?

Your tuition bill will be sent to your yale.edu email address. The bill is payable upon receipt, and will include instructions on methods of payment.

If you have not received your bill, please contact the Registrar's Office at registrar.gsas@yale.edu. If you have questions about paying your bill, please contact Student Accounts.

I have not received my bill, or I want Student Financial Services to directly bill my funding agency.

If you have not received a bill, please contact the Registrar's Office at registrar.gsas@yale.edu.

If you would like to request direct billing, please contact Student Accounts.

What is the Assessment of English Language Proficiency?

If you need a J-1 visa, your proposed Yale Adviser may be asked to attest to your English language proficiency when they complete the letter of recommendation form on your behalf. No separate form or letter is necessary.

I am currently a VAR at Yale. How do I request an extension of my VAR enrollment?

To apply for an extension, the student must submit a VAR Extension Application along with the applicable application fee. Once an extension has been approved by the program and the Graduate School, the student will receive a new letter of admission.

What should I do when I arrive in New Haven?

If you are an international student, you should first bring your passport and immigration documents to check in with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Next, inform your Yale department and adviser that you have arrived. On your official start date, go to the Registrar's Office for instructions about receiving your ID Card.

If you are a domestic student or permanent resident, please first inform your Yale department and adviser that you have arrived. On your official start date, go to the Registrar's Office for instructions about receiving your ID Card.