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Washington and Lee University

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Guidelines for Inviting Visiting International Professors and Short-term Scholars

Since September 11, 2001, the US Government has enacted many new 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.

If you are considering inviting a professor or other international 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 Amy Richwine, the International Student and Scholar Advisor at x8144. She can help you assess the requirements, manage the visa and other paperwork and ensure that the university is following the US Government regulations with each and every international visitor.

Because the new regulations are resulting in increased paperwork, security clearances, and considerable delays in procuring a visa, we ask that you allow 2-6 months to prepare for your 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 Personnel 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 person 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 visa BEFORE the expiration of the 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 Amy Richwine about the person's need for employment authorization.

If you wish to sponsor a person for an H or TN visa, you will need to work with the university’s legal counsel and the immigration lawyers we have on retainer. Be advised that procurement of an H visa may take up to six months.

If you wish to invite a short-term visitor who already has an H1B 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.  Please speak with Joan Swisher in the Business Office about the options and consequences of not having one.

The university usually sponsors the professor/research scholar for a J-1 visa. You need to work with Amy Richwine to get the documentation required for the international visitor 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 from 1 day to 3 weeks may be able to come in on a tourist/business visa. 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 medical insurance that meets specific US government requirements. 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 Amy Richwine know at least 2-6 months in advance. The visa types mentioned above are only some of the most common visas for visitors. Amy Richwine 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.