IMPORTANT: Read this document thoroughly if you plan to invite a speaker who is not a United States citizen.

 

VISA CLASSES AND ALLOWABLE PAYMENTS TO VISITING FOREIGN INDIVIDUALS

The UW-Madison complies with federal immigration regulations that pertain to payments made to visiting foreign individuals. The university cannot make any payments to such visitors who do not obtain the proper immigration status (visa) prior to performing services for the UW-Madison. For guidance with determining the appropriate visa for your speaker, consult with the Office of International Faculty and Staff Services (265-4000; www.ohr.wisc.edu/ifss).

The visa class, as defined by the United States Code of Federal Regulations, determines what types of payment, if any, can be made to visiting foreign individuals.

Which visa classes allow payments to visiting foreign individuals?

The B-1 and B-2 visas, issued to visiting businesspeople (B-1) and tourists (B-2), allow the visitor to receive honorarium as well as reimbursement of travel, lodging and meal expenses. Honorarium payments to B-1 visa holders and all payments to B-2 visa holders are limited to a maximum nine-day stay. It is important to note that the visa stamp in the passport indicates both B-1 and B-2; it is at the port of entry into the United States where the INS inspector determines which classification applies. A visitor who will receive honorarium and/or reimbursement of travel, lodging or meal expenses needs to have an invitation letter from the UW-Madison detailing the activities in which he or she will be engaged and the expenses that will be reimbursed and/or amount of honorarium. The visitor needs to present this letter at the United States consulate for visa issuance and at the port of entry to apply for B-1 rather than B-2 designation if necessary. It is the responsibility of the visitor to ensure that the B-1 classification is assigned by the INS official at the border. This should be clearly stated in the invitation letter.

The J-1 visa, issued to visiting research scholars, professors and short-term scholars, allows the visitor to receive honorarium as well as reimbursement of travel, lodging and meal expenses. The visitor's sponsoring U.S. university must send a letter to the UW-Madison expressing permission for the visitor to travel to the UW-Madison to give a lecture for which he or she may receive an honorarium and be reimbursed for travel expenses.

The W-B and W-T classes, issued to some individuals in lieu of the B-1 and B-2 visas, are actually visa waivers. Visitors from many countries do not need a visa if they are coming to the United States for business or pleasure for less than three months. They will be granted W-B (business) or W-T (tourist) status at the port of entry. These visitors may be paid under the same conditions as the B-1 and B-2 visa holder.

There are other visa classes that may allow certain types of payments. Contact the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty prior to your speaker's arrival in the United States to inquire about a specific visa class.

Which visa classes do not allow or otherwise restrict payments to visiting foreign individuals?

The H-1B visa, issued to individuals who are temporarily employed to work in the United States, does not allow the visitor to receive honorarium. However, this visa does allow reimbursement of the visitor's travel, lodging and meal expenses.

The O-1 visa, issued to individuals of extraordinary ability, i.e., those who have risen to the very top of their field and have enjoyed sustained national or international acclaim, does not allow the visitor to receive honorarium. Like the H-1B visa, however, the O-1 visa does allow reimbursement of the visitor's travel, lodging and meal expenses.

The TN visa, issued to non-immigrant Canadian and Mexican professionals who are temporarily employed to work in the United States, does not allow the visitor to receive honorarium. Like the H-1B visa, however, the TN visa does allow reimbursement of the visitor's travel, lodging and meal expenses.

There are many other visa classes that do not allow payments to visiting foreign individuals. Contact the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty prior to your speaker's arrival in the United States to inquire about a specific visa class.