Inviting Visitors to Campus

Have you invited someone to speak at the university, or lecture in your class? Has someone asked to visit and/or do research in your lab? Is a Postdoctoral Scholar from another institution asking to work with you? Do you need volunteers for an event? Do you think you need to hire a contractor or vendor?

There are many different reasons why visitors may come to the university, and we welcome the opportunities for teaching, learning and collaboration. Anytime a Canadian or International visitor is invited to campus by a university group or staff member, the proper steps must be taken to give them the information they need, mitigate risk to the university, and grant system access where appropriate.

Canadian Visitors

Please note if a formal letter of invitation is indicated as a requirement for one of the categories listed below.

Types of Academic Visitors - Sample Letters

There are several kinds of Academic visitors, most of whom come on campus to do research or speak, and they require a formal invitation letter which outlines the terms of their stay. Please select the type of visitor above for a sample invitation letter. You can include this letter when submitting a template based hire if system access is required.

When Academic visitors will be accessing laboratories, working with animals or attending field activities they are required to sign a waiver. This is very important to ensure that we mitigate risk to the university.

Guest Postdocs are individuals who have been awarded a fellowship from an external granting agency following a competitive process. These individuals do not have an employment relationship with the University. The University does not administer funds on behalf of the granting agency. When inviting or hosting a guest Postdoc you must coordinate with the the Postdoc Office to initiate the invitation letter and if applicable, the required immigration process.

The guest Postdoc will be given access to University systems and services as the last step in the process with the Postdoctoral Office. The guest Postdoc will be set up in PeopleSoft as a General Associate.

When guest Postdocs will be accessing laboratories, working with animals or attending field activities they are required to sign a waiver. This is very important to ensure that we mitigate risk to the University.

A contractor or consultant provides services to the university on a contract basis, and these contracts are handled by Supply Chain Management (SCM) within the Finance and Services portfolio. They will help you determine whether or not the work can be done by an employee, and if the university has a Preferred Supplier/Vendor for that kind of service. If you have specialized needs that can't be met by a preferred supplier, or wish to use a vendor outside of the preferred list contact Supply Chain Management at to discuss next steps.

After you have confirmed the need for a contractor/consultant and have chosen a supplier/vendor (either from the preferred list, or through working with SCM) a purchase requisition must be submitted through Finance PeopleSoft. Approval of the requisition will generate a PO number, which the Contractor/Consultant will require in order to invoice for the service.

Contractors performing non-office work must attend a Contractor Accountability to Safety Program (CASP) Orientation.

If the Contractor/Consultant requires access to university systems and services, the UCalgary responsible manager must submit a Template Based Hire (TBH) for a General Associate relationship. The PO number is required on the TBH form and can be found by following this Quick Reference Guide.

Volunteer contributions enhance the university's programs and activities. We want to ensure that volunteer experiences are safe and rewarding.

To engage a Volunteer visit Risk Management and Insurance for the formal definition of a volunteer and information on engaging them.  International visitors who are not University of Calgary students cannot be volunteers.

After the appropriate registration steps have been completed, you may be directed to contact UService ( to arrange an Associate-Limited Access (ALA) relationship which will create a UCID and if necessary, will allow certain privileges such as an IT account. 

Examiners, Evaluators, and Interviewees, Business Visitors, Research Collaborators: these are just some of the other types of visitors that may come to the University. If these visitors are Canadian, there is no formal invitation letter or process required, unless they require access to university systems, including email and library (see below).  It is still important to assess the purpose and risk of these invitations or collaborations and mitigate as required.  Some examples of mitigation:

  • Be aware that general visitors of this type are not covered by the University of Calgary's general liability insurance, workers compensation, or healthcare. Advise any general visitor that they are responsible for ensuring they are adequately covered with comprehensive health care, hospitalization, and other insurance during their activities at the University.
  • When visitors will be accessing laboratories, working with animals, or attending field activities they are required to sign a waiver. This is very important to ensure that we mitigate risk to the university.

If the visitor needs a Unicard or access to university systems or services they can be set up as a General Associate or Associate – Limited Access based on their relationship with the university. One example may be a Business Visitor.  If appropriate assessments and consultations have been made (e.g. risk assessment) you can request someone that doesn't fit the above categories as a "Business Visitor.."  A sample letter is below, you can include this letter when submitting a template based hire if system access is required.

International Visitors

In order to be admitted to Canada, most International visitors will at minimum require a formal invitation letter from the University to successfully enter the country. This includes short term visitors such as business visitors, examiners and evaluators, public/guest speakers, self-funded academic researchers, and employment interviewees.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) considers the following type of international visitors to be temporary foreign workers – Guest Postdoctoral Scholars, Guest Lecturers, Visiting Professors and Research Award Recipients – as while they are not paid or funded by the UCalgary, they come to campus for more than just a few days to collaborate or work with UCalgary academics. These visitors/temporary workers require a work permit to enter Canada and you will require the processing support of our Immigration Services unit to register and pay an administration fee to IRCC before they enter Canada.

For more information on International Visitors, how they are differentiated, and what requirements they must meet, refer to the International Visitors page.