A Restricted Party Screening (RPS) is recommended for all Category 1 Visitors and required of all Category 2 and 3 Visitors, as well as their affiliated institution, company, or sponsor. U.S. Government agencies and its allies maintain lists of individuals and entities, which are restricted or prohibited from participating in certain types of transactions with U.S. persons (defined as U.S. citizens and permanent residents or any corporation, business, organization, or group incorporated in the U.S. under U.S. law). Individuals and entities can be placed on these lists for multiple reasons ranging from tax evasion to terrorism. These lists include both domestic and international individuals and entities. RPS are necessary in order to rule out possible restrictions or prohibitions on prospective Visitors and their sponsors. This short step also ensures that Pitt and the sponsoring school/department do not unknowingly violate the law.
Please note that for the duration of the Pandemic, or until the University declares a return to normal operating procedures, Category 1 visitors are generally not permitted at the University.
An RPS is required for Category 2 and 3 Visitors and their affiliated institution, company, or sponsor due to their length of stay on campus, and in most cases, their proposed research activities and access to higher risk University laboratories. An RPS will identify those individuals who are under investigation, have convictions, and/or had some adverse administrative action taken against them relating to research or other activities. This RPS will be conducted automatically through the MyEC system and reviewed by the Office of Export Control Services as part of the Export Control Review. Additional information on the MyEC system is located under "MyEC (My Export Control) Electronic Visitor Process" on the Visitor Agreement Procedures section.
An RPS is recommended for Category 1 Visitors and their affiliated institution, company, or sponsor and will be done automatically through the MyEC system. If the MyEC system is not used, the host departments and schools are responsible for performing their own RPS through the Amber Road RPS Tool. Departments and schools should retain RPS results for their records. If your visitor appears on a restricted or prohibited list, it may be possible to host the visitor but only after review and approval from the Office of Export Controls Services.
As mentioned above, an RPS will be conducted automatically for Category 2 and 3 Visitors via the MyEC system, and this system's use also is recommended for Category 1 Visitors. In cases where the MyEC system is not used for Category 1 visitors, departments and schools are encouraged to perform an RPS directly through the Amber Road system. To learn more about how to conduct an RPS, please read the guidance written by the Office of Trade Compliance. RPS results must be kept on file by the department or school that conducts the RPS.
If no match is obtained on a Category 1 Visitor RPS, your transaction can proceed without contacting the Visitor Liaison.
If a match is obtained on a Category 1 Visitor RPS, please send an email to the Visitor Liaison. Please attach the RPS page to your email and provide as much information as possible about the party, i.e., copy of passport, resume, CV, etc. The Visitor Liaison will convey this information to the Office of Trade Compliance staff to help with further review and follow-up with the host school or department. The Visitor Liaison will contact you to advise you if the individual or entity has been cleared, or if further information is necessary in order to clear them.
Certain organizations and individuals are subject to trade sanctions, embargoes, and other restrictions under U.S. law. If your prospective Visitor is a citizen of an embargoed country, or their sponsoring institution is located in an embargoed country, there is a high probability that a specific government license and/or an internal control plan will be needed in order for the University to host this type of Visitor. Currently, the U.S. Department of the Treasury lists the following countries as fully embargoed: the Crimea Region of Ukraine, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria.
The University can host a Visitor from an embargoed country who is in the U.S. on an approved visa, but a review of their planned activities will be required first in order to determine if a specific government license is required. The MyEC system will automatically perform this check for you for Category 2 and 3 Visitors. It will also be done automatically for departments and schools choosing to use the MyEC system for Category 1 Visitors. If the MyEC system is not used for Category 1 Visitors, and an embargoed country is an element of a proposed Category 1 Visit, please contact the Visitor Liaison for advice.
Export Controls include U.S. laws and other regulations that involve the shipment, transfer or disclosure of controlled items, technical data and software to foreign countries or to foreign persons and entities within the U.S. These laws aim at protecting the national security, economic interests and foreign policy of the United States. An Export Controls Review is necessary whenever research or other visitor activities involve the use of laboratories. The information requested via the MyEC electronic review process is reviewed by the Office of Trade Compliance in order to determine if any government licenses or other internal controls are needed for the proposed activities.
To prompt this review, please enter the requested data into the MyEC Electronic Visitor System and submit the electronic form. The Visitor Liaison will then facilitate the export controls review with the Office of Trade Compliance. If there are questions about information provided on the form, either the Visitor Liaison or a member of the Office of Trade Compliance will contact you. The Visitor Liaison will notify you electronically via the MyEC system once the review is completed. Additional information on the MyEC system is located under "MyEC (My Export Control) Electronic Visitor Process" on the Visitor Agreement Procedures section.
Training requirements will vary according to each Visitor’s activities. The host department must determine and ensure that the Visitor completes all relevant training related to his/her activities. A training table (Appendix A) is provided to assist with determining the relevant training for the Visitor. If the Visitor has completed substantially similar training at their Home Institution, contact the Visitor Liaison for a consideration of reciprocity.
Visitors are permitted to perform only the research that is outlined and approved in their individual agreements and must undergo all University-based training that is appropriate for the specific research. This training will include both the required safety and regulatory training related to the specific laboratory he/she will be visiting (e.g., EH&S and IACUC) as well as any other applicable University-wide training (e.g., sexual harassment prevention). All training must be completed before the Visitor begins any research activities. The host department and faculty member(s) are responsible for ensuring that the required training is completed. Read about each training and their requirements at the Office of Research Protections Training Site.
Note: If the Visitor is in need of a sponsored Pitt Account, please contact the Technology Help Desk.
Domestic Visitors must provide assurance of health insurance coverage. International Visitors holding a J-1 visa and their dependents are required by the U.S. Department of State to have health insurance that satisfies federally mandated J Scholar Visa Insurance Requirements. Typically, the Visitor is responsible for paying the cost of his/her health insurance plan and will be billed directly by the plan provider. However, the University department or school may choose to budget for and reimburse these costs to the Visitor for the term of the Visit.
All Visitors who fall into Category 2 or 3 are required to maintain health insurance coverage while at the University of Pittsburgh. Visitors who currently do not have health insurance must enroll in a plan and provide assurance of insurance.
If you are a domestic visitor, you must provide assurance of health insurance to your host department prior to arrival at the University of Pittsburgh. Since UPMC Health Plan is the primary health provider in the University of Pittsburgh area and the Pittsburgh region, you should ensure that your current health insurance or whichever health insurance you select affords access to UPMC facilities or other facilities accessible from the Pitt campus. You will be responsible for covering the costs of your coverage unless your host department agrees to cover this expense, in which case you and the host department will work out a process of reimbursement for your insurance premiums.
For domestic visitors who do not have medical insurance, the following websites contain information about different plans that can be purchased. UPMC Health Plan has a healthcare concierge available if you have questions about the UPMC Marketplace.
If you are an international visitor traveling on a J-1 visa, you must provide proof of health insurance through the Office of International Services (OIS) within 30 days of the start date indicated on your immigration documents. OIS will define for you what documents and other proof is required to satisfy this requirement. As a Visitor on a J-1 visa, you must be certain that your health insurance coverage meets the following requirements:
- Medical benefits of at least $100,000 per accident or illness
- A deductible not to exceed $500 per accident or illness
- Repatriation of remains in the amount of $25,000
- Expenses associated with the medical evacuation of the exchange visitor to his or her home country in the amount of $50,000
International visitors traveling on a different visa type must provide assurance of health insurance to your host department prior to arrival at the University of Pittsburgh. Since UPMC is the primary health provider in the University of Pittsburgh area and the Pittsburgh region, you should ensure that your current health insurance or whichever health insurance you select affords access to UPMC facilities or other facilities accessible from the Pitt campus. You will be responsible for covering the costs of your coverage unless your host department agrees to cover this expense, in which case you and the host department will work out a process of reimbursement for your insurance premiums.
For international visitors who do not have medical insurance, the following websites contain information about different plans that can be purchased. Please note that UPMC health plans meeting J-1 visa standards require an additional policy through a company called Assist America for repatriation and medical evacuation coverage. UPMC has a healthcare concierge available to assist you with determining eligible UPMC health plans and with obtaining repatriation and medical evacuation coverage through Assist America.
- Federal Marketplace
- UPMC Marketplace
- UPMC Marketplace Concierge: 1-877-563-0292
- Assist America
- Health Insurance Options via Office of International Services
If you anticipate that your Visitor will be in direct contact with minors during their visit, PA law requires these individuals to obtain specific clearances prior to initiating any activities that will include contact with minors. The University’s Human Resources department has developed instructions on these clearances, and how to obtain them which shall be the department’s responsibility.