Guidelines for Inviting Visiting International Professors and Short-term Scholars

The US Government has enacted many regulations governing international visitors. Failure by the university to follow these regulations may result in substantial penalties and forfeiture of the university's ability to sponsor international students or visitors in the future. The process for obtaining a visa can take several months. Therefore, please plan at least 3 months in advance. 

If you are considering inviting a non-U.S. citizen to teach, perform research, speak, or perform another educational activity (including speaking to a class or consulting with faculty), please review the following guidelines and then contact Hunter Swanson, the International Student and Scholar Advisor. He can help you assess the requirements, manage the visa and other paperwork, and ensure that the university is following the US Government regulations required for every international visitor. 

About Tax ID Numbers and Social Security Numbers:

The US Government requires ALL longer-term international visitors who are paid a salary or have room/board as part of their remuneration package to have a Social Security Number. Even most short-term visitors may need either a SSN or an International Tax ID number in order to be paid. Depending on the tax treaty between the US and the visitor's country, some or all parts of the remuneration package may be taxable.

If the professor/research scholar is a US permanent resident:

Please liaise with Human Resources and the Business Office to complete the necessary paperwork. The Office of International Education requires a photocopy of the individual's permanent residency documentation for its files, but no other additional information.

If the professor/research scholar is a non-resident currently working in the US at another institution:

If the scholar is currently on a J visa sponsored by another institution, and is coming to teach at W&L, we will need to initiate a transfer of the J-1 visa record BEFORE the expiration of the scholar's current visa. If the person is a short-term visitor on a J-1 visa coming from another institution in the U.S to W&L to work, such as a single speaking engagement, we will need a letter of permission from the sponsoring institution.

If the visitor in on an F student visa (such as a PhD candidate), you may seek advice from Hunter Swanson about the person's need for employment authorization.

If you wish to sponsor a person for an H-1B or TN visa, you will need to work with the university's legal counsel and the immigration lawyers we have on retainer. 

If you wish to invite a short-term visitor who already has an H-1B visa, this person will not be allowed to be paid by anyone other than the sponsoring institution. There are also other visa categories which prohibit payment from other than the original sponsoring institution.

If the professor/research scholar is a non-resident from outside the US:

Visiting professors, research scholars and visitors being paid a salary or honorarium will need either a SSN or an International Tax ID. Joan Swisher in the Business Office will determine which is more appropriate. 

The university usually sponsors professors/research scholars arriving for 3 weeks or more for a J-1 visa. You need to work with Hunter Swanson to get the documentation required for the international scholar to take to the US Embassy to get his/her visa. Any dependent accompanying the visitor will also need the same documentation. Please allow 3-6 months for this process. Short-term visitors for less than 3 weeks may be able to come in on a tourist/business visa, although they are not allowed to perform paid services for the university for more than 9 days in this visa category. Please contact Joan Swisher in the Business Office to have her help you determine if your visitor is eligible.

The professor/research scholar is required by law to have health insurance that meets specific US government requirements. The cost is typically between $150-$350 per month - the younger the visitor the more afforable the premium. The University will usually arrange to pay this, so please make it part of your budget.

These are very basic guidelines. Again, If you are considering inviting a professor or research scholar to the university, please let Hunter Swanson know at least 3 months in advance. The visa types mentioned above are only some of the most common visas for visitors. Hunter Swanson can help you with the visa questions and either Deborah Caylor or Joan Swisher in the Business Office can help you with the questions that are related to payment and tax.