Visiting Research Students

A Visiting Research Student (VRS) is a PhD researcher at their home institution who wants to conduct research in the framework of a PhD programme at UAntwerp through a temporary stay. The collaboration between UAntwerp and the home institution is formalised by an individual VRS Agreement.

The VRS procedure applies to researchers when no other registration as a UAntwerp student or employee is possible for the purpose of this person's stay, such as an Erasmus+ traineeship.


  • The VRS is PhD researcher at their home institution located abroad.
  • The VRS stay fits into either a specific project collaboration (not an Erasmus or bilateral agreement) between two or more universities, or the VRS arranges the stay at their own initiative.
  • The stay does not need to involve obtaining any credits.
  • The VRS confirms that they have sufficient personal funds to cover the stay in Belgium. The VRS receives no contractual remuneration from UAntwerp for their research.
  • Internships are excluded from this procedure.

Tuition fee and programme components

Visiting Research Students do not pay tuition fees, and are not entitled to credit certificates. No programme components are awarded, nor can they be applied for through VRS registration.


  1. The VRS contacts a mentor at UAntwerp to conduct research during a limited stay. The researcher formulates an idea of the research to be carried out during this stay, and checks with the home institution whether the research project can be carried out at UAntwerp.
  2. The mentor formulates or confirms the research project to be carried out, and informs the faculty member responsible of the stay of the VRS.
  3. The faculty member launches the registration procedure in Mobility Online.
  4. A VRS agreement is drawn up and signed by the VRS, the supervisor at the home institution and the mentor at UAntwerp. Upon completion of the procedure, the VRS receives all information needed to prepare for the stay in Belgium.


After arriving in Belgium, the Visiting Research Student receives: 

  • the status of 'exchange student' at UAntwerp after registering with the Education Administration Office, and is granted access to all of UAntwerp's student facilities; or
  • the status of 'student' in Belgium if they have a long-stay visa and a valid residence permit after registration in the foreigners’ register. The VRS is exempt from a work permit and does not pay any social security contributions or taxes in Belgium.

The VRS is automatically covered by physical injury insurance and civil liability insurance as part of UAntwerp activities.