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Visiting Scholars

Scholars affiliated with other academic or research institutions may apply for unpaid residencies with the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies. Visiting scholars pursue their research projects at Stanford, engage with affiliated faculty, and participate in Abbasi Program events and intellectual life at Stanford. Visitors may be in residence for up to one academic year.


  • Title and Stanford affiliation as “Visiting Scholar”
  • Access to University Libraries and Archives
  • Access to athletics and fitness facilities*
  • University ID card*
  • Auditing university courses without a fee; subject to instructor approval
  • Campus parking privileges (for a fee)
  • University email account (for a fee)

*long-term visitors at Stanford for at least 90 days only.

Fees and privileges associated with the Visiting Scholar status are determined by the University and cannot be modified at the discretion of the Abbasi Program. 

More information


  • Scholars must be visiting from, and have an ongoing affiliation with, an outside academic or research institution or organization.
  • Scholars must have a doctoral degree or recognized research-related expertise in your field.
  • Scholars must have a source of financial support from outside Stanford University; appointment as a Visiting Scholar does not include any Stanford salary.


Applicants should first identify one or two affiliated faculty members who may serve as potential faculty sponsors/hosts for their visit.  

To apply, submit the following material:

  • completed application form (download here)
  • recent CV
  • research proposal (1-2 pages) 
  • proof of funding sources

All documents should be submitted to Abbasi Program Associate Director, Zack Al-Witri (

International visitors requiring a J visa (see below) must submit proof of funding sufficient to meet the minimum requirements for a J visa for the duration of the proposed visit and may also need to submit proof of English language proficiency (e.g. TOEFL or IELTS scores).

Applications for proposed visits that fall during the next academic year (September-June) are due by May 15



International scholars will need to apply for a J-1 visa to enter the U.S. as a Visiting Scholar, whether as a short-term or long-term visitor. 

Visitors to Stanford are responsible for ensuring that they obtain a J-1 visa. The Abbasi Program initiates a request for a DS-2019, which is required to apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your country.  Scholars are responsible for all fees and necessary mailing costs incurred in processing this visa. 

More information


I am a postdoctoral scholar.  Am I eligible to apply?

Yes, scholars holding a postdoctoral appointment at other institutions are eligible to apply and may be designated as “Visiting Postdoctoral Scholars.”

I would like to apply to be a visiting scholar for a short-duration (<90 days). Can I apply off-cycle?

Visiting Scholars usually stay at Stanford for an academic year.  If your proposed visit is short, you can apply off-cycle using the same form and application process above.  Please note that short-term visitors are not issued a Stanford ID card and do not receive free access to athletics facilities or free library borrowing privileges (access only).

I am in the process of applying for external funding (e.g. Fulbright).  Can I still apply to be a Visiting Scholar pending grant acceptance?

If grant notifications are expected after the deadline, you may apply for a Visiting Scholar appointment.  Indicate on your application form pending grant applications and expected decision dates. If selected as a Visiting Scholar, the Abbasi Program may provide official letters of support for grant applicants if needed. However, appointment as a Visiting Scholar is conditional on securing sufficient funding for the duration of the proposed research visit.

I have a tourist visa or am eligible for a visa waiver.  Can I enter the US as a tourist?

Visiting scholars are expected to engage in a collaborative activity or research, and their appointments should benefit the university.  The Department of State precludes such visitors from entering with a B-1 visa, which allows only for “independent” research, not collaboration. Foreign scholars requiring a visa must therefore enter on a J-1 visa.

How long does the J-1 visa process take?

The visa process can take 3-6 months. 

Would I have an office space or computer/IT equipment?

We cannot guarantee office space. If available, we may be able to provide a desk in a shared office space or a carrel in an open space.  Visiting scholars are advised to bring a personal laptop or computer.  We are not able to provide computers or IT equipment. However, tech support is available to connect you to the Stanford network and printing facilities. 

Can the Abbasi Program provide staff/clerical support or help finding housing?

The Abbasi Program provides support for processing Visiting Scholar appointments with the University and connection with the Abbasi community. We can direct scholars to available resources but the Abbasi Program cannot provide administrative or financial assistance related to research or personal expenses, mailing, postage, office supplies, housing, transportation, IT equipment, etc. 

Please email Zack Al-Witri ( with any further questions.