The B-1 status is commonly used by foreign business persons for visits to the United States; however, it is clearly available to scholars who plan short visits to one or several campuses. The B-2 visitor for pleasure, or “tourist,” status may also allow short visits to campuses. B-1 and B-2 status are not appropriate for scholars who are accepting any type of formal academic appointment. Persons in B‑1 or B-2 status may be eligible to receive customary academic honoraria incident to a campus visit of nine days or less. Persons in B-1 status can be reimbursed for expenses incident to their stay. Persons in B-1 or B-2 status are not eligible for employment or academic study in the United States.
Although for many years the Immigration and Naturalization Service and educational institutions did not closely police these payment rules for B‑1 visitors, the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act made it very important that institutions closely monitor payments to foreign visitors and obtain documentation that payments can legally be made. It is, therefore, very important that consideration be given to immigration status when making financial arrangements for visitors. In order to avoid financial hardship for international visitors and embarrassment to the University, application should be made for another, more appropriate status if payments to or for visitors will not fit into the limitations of the travel and per diem or honoraria incident to a stay of nine days or less.
The only documents needed to obtain a B‑1/B-2 visa at a U.S. consulate is a letter of invitation from an institution in this country and documentation showing adequate finances for the visit and intent to return home at the end of the trip. A strict security review may also be required.
Contact Noel Sloan, Tax Compliance Manager, for inquiries regarding the appropriate taxation of reimbursements and honoraria at 742-3255 ex. 222.
Texas Tech University Office of International Affairs, MS 5004, 742-2974, fax 742-1286