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Category Academic
Type Policy
Approved by Senate, 18 April 2018
Date Policy Took Effect 
Last approved revision 8 February 2022
Sponsor Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Responsible officer Senior Analyst, Research and Policy


This policy lays out University expectations and processes in relation to students who visit the University for a period of time without being formally enrolled.  It standardises and clarifies responsibilities and ensures that the University meets its duty of care to visiting students, including in case of emergency.

Organisational scope

The policy applies University-wide. It covers all students who visit the University as part of an educational arrangement who are not formally enrolled at the University.

Staff members of the University who temporarily engage in non-formal educational activities while employed, are not considered to be visiting students, and are not covered by this policy.


Visiting student
A student, who is normally enrolled at an institution other than the University of Otago, who visits Otago to carry out academic or other unpaid work related to their studies, and who does not concurrently enrol in any Otago paper or programme.
For the purposes of this policy, being physically located at a University of Otago campus or in a facility linked to the University of Otago (e.g. a hospital which accepts Otago students for placement activities) for a period of time, with access to at least some University services or resources, on the basis of an agreement made in advance with the University. Arrangements based on formal enrolment or employment are excluded from this definition.
Short-term visit
For the purposes of this policy, a visit of no more than seven days duration (measured continuously from first arrival on campus to departure from campus).
Home institution
The institution at which a visiting student is enrolled.
Host department
The University of Otago department that agrees to host a visiting student.
Department contact person
A University of Otago staff member designated to oversee a particular student's visit.
Travel arrangements
Logistical arrangements relating to a student's visit, including transport, accommodation, visa requirements, living costs, travel insurance, etc.
Visiting Student System (Sojourn)
The University of Otago web-based application which is used for approving and recording student visits (this application is named 'Sojourn').
Visiting Student Administrator (Sojourn Administrator)
The staff member(s) tasked with maintaining records in the Visiting Student System (this position is also known as 'Sojourn Administrator').


1. General principles

  1. The University encourages the acceptance of visiting students where such arrangements have strategic or other benefits to the University.
  2. In addition to hosting students who are enrolled at other institutions, the University may also host students who are not currently enrolled elsewhere, but who have a demonstrable connection with the University, such as prospective students carrying out preparatory work or recent Otago graduates completing tasks associated with their studies.
  3. While a visiting student may carry out activities across multiple Otago departments, a single department shall be considered their 'host department' for their visit.
  4. Where a student is accepted for a visit, the host department will:
    1. assign a department contact person to oversee the student's visit
    2. ensure the details of the student and their visit are recorded, and
    3. provide appropriate on-campus support for the student (see clause 3).
  5. All students visiting the University for longer than seven days (measured continuously from first arrival on campus to departure from campus) will be recorded in the University's Visiting Student System ('Sojourn') as per clause 5.
  6. Visiting students are subject to the same requirements as enrolled students with respect to University rules, requirements and expectations, including the Code of Student Conduct, health and safety requirements, patient and research-subject confidentiality, ethical approval in relation to research activities, and safety checks prior to working with children.
  7. Subject to any external restrictions, visiting students are not prevented from carrying out paid work for the University of Otago while visiting.
  8. As non-enrolled students, visiting students from other countries are not subject to the Education (Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice.

2. Travel arrangements for visiting students

  1. The University accepts no liability for providing, nor responsibility for organising, accommodation, transport or any other travel arrangements for visiting students.
  2. Notwithstanding clause 2(a), staff may offer advice or assistance with travel arrangements in consultation with their Head of Department. Any such assistance should take account of possibilities for academic or other conflicts of interest and the University's Ethical Behaviour Policy (see also clause 2(d) below).
  3. Visiting students from other countries are required by law to have appropriate visas; comprehensive travel insurance for the full period of their stay in New Zealand is also strongly recommended. The University accepts no responsibility or liability in regard to these matters.
  4. Staff are prohibited by law from providing immigration or visa advice.

3. Support and provisions for visiting students

  1. Support and resources should be agreed in writing between the host department and the visiting student and/or their home institution prior to the student visiting the University.
  2. All visiting students shall have an appointed department contact person (see clause 8).
  3. Provisions available to visiting students will vary depending on the circumstances and duration of the visit. They may include, but are not limited to:
    1. access to academic staff (whether generally or in relation to specified staff)
    2. a University visitor's ID card for the duration of the visit
    3. an appropriate work space
    4. access to a University computer
    5. access to University library resources (online access to journals and other external content is excluded for contractual reasons)
    6. access to the University's student wifi network
    7. access to department devices (e.g. printers, photocopiers)
    8. the opportunity to participate in lectures or tutorials
    9. the opportunity to participate in departmental seminars or other events, and
    10. access to University laboratories or other teaching and learning facilities.
  4. Where a visiting student believes support, access or other agreed arrangements are not being provided, they should seek resolution via the following avenues (in order of escalation):
    1. discussion with their department contact person
    2. complaint to the Head of their host department, whether in writing or through a meeting
    3. written complaint to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor or Divisional Head of their host department's Division.
  5. Discussions and decisions will be made with reference to written agreements established in accordance with clause 3(a) and other provisions laid out in this policy.

4. Payment of costs

  1. The host department has discretion to require full or partial recovery of identifiable costs associated with resourcing a student's visit as a condition of approving that student's visit. Recovery of costs is not mandatory.
  2. Any costs payable should be agreed in writing between the host department, the student and their home institution (if any) prior to the student visiting the University. This should include agreement about who is responsible for payment.
  3. Invoicing and payment of costs shall be carried out in accordance with the University of Otago Accounts Receivable Procedure.

5. Approval and recording process for student visits lasting more than seven days

  1. Initial discussions on a potential student visit should include:
    1. the student
    2. the staff member liaising with the student
    3. the Head of the proposed host department
    4. the student's home institution (if any)
    5. other University staff and departments (where appropriate), and
    6. other parties involved in facilitating the visit (if relevant).
  2. Where a visit is supported, initial discussions should conclude with written agreement on resources and support that will be provided (as per clause 3(a)) and any costs that will be charged (as per clause 4(b)).
  3. Once a department informally agrees to host a student, the student is required to formally apply through the Visiting Student System. This shall include:
    1. provision of personal details, personal and emergency contact details, department and host details, and intended dates for the proposed visit, and
    2. completion of a declaration accepting University terms and conditions as a visiting student.
  4. The Head of the host department, or their delegate, shall have authority to formally approve or decline the visit through the Visiting Student System. Formal notification of the decision shall be emailed to the visiting student and, if approved, to the student's department contact person.
  5. For an approved visit, information in the Visiting Student System will be updated as required. This may include:
    1. cancelling a previously approved visit
    2. updating a visiting student's contact or personal details
    3. updating the start date of a visit, and/or
    4. updating the end date of a visit.
  6. Visiting student records held in the Visiting Student System shall be subject to the University's Information and Records Management Policy and Privacy Policy.

6. Short-term visits

  1. Organisation, approval and recording of short-term visits (visits of no more than seven days) may occur solely at departmental level.
  2. For short-term visits, departments are responsible for:
    1. agreeing the provision of resources (if any) with the visiting student as per clause 3(a)
    2. agreeing and organising the payment of any costs as per clause 4
    3. appointing a department contact person for the student, and
    4. ensuring that contact details, including emergency contact details, for the student are maintained for the duration of their visit.
  3. Departments may elect to use the Visiting Student System and the process described under clause 5 for short-term visits. However, this is not normally recommended for very short visits (i.e. one to three days).

7. Responsibilities of visiting students

  1. Students visiting the University of Otago must comply with the University's relevant statutes, regulations, policies and other rules as per clause 1(f). Non-compliance may result in sanctions, including but not limited to:
    1. reporting of non-compliance to the student's home institution, and/or
    2. termination of the student's visit.
  2. As regards information about their visit, visiting students are responsible for:
    1. keeping their department contact person informed of their visit plans, including proposed adjustments to their visit dates, or cancellation of their visit
    2. keeping their contact details up-to-date in the Visiting Student System prior to their arrival
    3. checking their provided email address regularly and responding to University requests to confirm or update previously provided information, and
    4. recording details of any changes to their contact information in the University's Visiting Student System.
  3. Visiting students are expected to raise any issues which arise in connection with their visit in a timely manner, via their department contact person.

8. Responsibilities of department contact persons

  1. As regards the student's visit, the department contact person is expected to:
    1. serve as the central point of contact for the visiting student and assist with the resolution of any issues that may arise
    2. serve as the main University contact for the visiting student's home institution
    3. ensure that any necessary induction activities are carried out in relation to the visiting student (see also clause 1(f)), and
    4. ensure that the visiting student has access to resources and support as agreed under clause 3(a).
  2. As regards information held in the Visiting Student System, the department contact person is expected to:
    1. confirm the arrival of a visiting student on campus, and
    2. confirm the departure of a visiting student from the University, and
    3. provide any update information about a visiting student to the Visiting Student Administrator for updating in the Visiting Student System.

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

If you have any queries regarding the content of this policy or need further clarification, contact

Michael Swanson
Senior Analyst, Research and Policy

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