Academic Programs

Guidance on Visitor Procedures

FAQs on Visiting Students, Unpaid Interns, Visiting Scholars to Advanced Education, Graduate Programs for Participation in Clinical Activities

Note: All parties above referred to as “Visitors” throughout the document.


Why do we need a Visitors policy?

As a health care facility, we must ensure that “visitors” adhere to HIPAA policies as well as all University policies.

Who does this policy not cover?

Visitors who will not be observing/shadowing in a clinical area or attending seminars or presentations where patient records may be reviewed.

What about visitors who work on research projects without compensation from UNC?

These individuals, whether UNC students or not, must comply with all requirements for research participation. Depending on the research, this may also include HIPAA and a background check. Contact the associate dean for research’s office for specific requirements for visitors participating ONLY in research activities with no clinical activity component.

Who does this policy cover?

Per University and School of Dentistry policies as a health care facility, this applies to visitors who will be observing/shadowing in a clinical area or attending seminars where patient records may be reviewed.  These individuals may NOT provide any clinical care unless approval is given by the associate dean for education.

Who is a visiting student?

An individual currently enrolled in good standing at another (not UNC) dental school or institution of higher education.

Should we document the student’s status?


  • A letter of recommendation from their academic dean or other letter(s) of recommendation or transcripts;
  • What to require as documentation of student status in addition to the letter of recommendation is decided on by the sponsoring program.

Is there an exemption to the documentation and other forms that are required for visiting students? 


This policy does NOT apply to students being interviewed for admission to an advanced education or graduate program.

Who is an Unpaid Intern (“Observer”)?

An individual (non UNC-CH resident or graduate student in a clinical specialty or an observer extern or a visiting scholar) engaged in “experiential learning” in a profession (i.e., observing in clinic or auditing clinical seminars).

What is the University policy on unpaid volunteers, interns and visiting scholars?

Click here to review that policy.

What forms must be completed?

To obtain current versions of forms, click here.

Note: EVERYONE, regardless of length of time visiting, must fill out these forms.

  • Request and Approval Procedures
    • Those staying one to seven days:
      • UNC unpaid volunteer, intern and visiting scholar request form
        • Note: For visiting students and unpaid interns (observers/scholars), mark as UNPAID INTERN
      • Release of liability form
      • Confidentiality statement
      • HIPAA test
      • Documentation of current Tuberculosis (TB) skin testing at least two weeks prior to arrival. The TB skin test must have been completed within the past 12 months and cannot expire during the period of time visiting the UNC School of Dentistry. The TB test should include both, date test was placed and date test was read information. Any positive TB test, regardless of prior vaccination, will require a current chest radiograph along with a medical radiologist consultation. All vaccination forms, radiographs and medical evaluations (with English translations) related to a positive TB test must be submitted to the Office of Clinical Affairs
      • Note: For those staying less than seven days, no background check is required and the Office of Clinical Affairs will provide a temporary PID for completion of the HIPAA test.
    • Those staying eight or more days:
      • All of the above, plus …
      • Background check request form
      • SOD Affiliate Application (Obtain this from School of Dentistry HR. You will be given a regular PID.)
    • Those providing direct clinical care for any length of time:
      • All of the above (both categories), plus …
      • Provide evidence of malpractice insurance from their home institution
      • Provide documentation of current Basic Life Support (BLS) training (must have been trained in the last two years) prior to arrival

How long does it take to process a request and receive approval?

You should submit the forms and immunization documentation at least three weeks before you expect the person to arrive at the School of Dentistry.

Where are the forms/documentation sent when completed?

Please remember to keep a copy of your forms and documentation!



Who is responsible for the individual during their visit?

For Visitors who wish to observe in an Advanced Education/Graduate Program, the department must manage their own visiting student/scholar program and all student/scholar contact will be directed to that department. However, the general procedures outlined here, must be followed. In addition, a faculty member must be identified within the department, who would then serve as the mentor and primary contact point for the visiting student/scholar. Current students may also be identified to serve as mentors and hosts to help achieve the educational objectives of the visitor.

When can the Visitor start?

Visitors are not permitted to participate in any clinical activities (clinic observation or clinical seminars/courses) on site until all forms (and criminal background check if required) have been accepted and signed off.