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Frequently Asked Questions

We have a new international faculty member coming to our department for next semester/year. What's the process?

The International Students and Scholars Office will receive a copy of the appointment letter from the Office of the Provost and will follow up with the incoming faculty member. An FNIF will be emailed to them and the appropriate visa will be issued accordingly. You may also call our office for clarification about the incoming faculty member's visa category and process.

We have a lecturer coming next month to our department; I think they are a non-US citizen but I am not sure. What do I have to do?

Please ask the faculty sponsor in your department if you can send the FNIF (Foreign National Information Form) to the guest lecturer. If they are in the United States, then they should return the form directly to the payroll office. If they are currently abroad, then they should return it to the International Students & Scholars Office in order for us to issue the appropriate visa for them to enter the United States. We will forward a copy of the FNIF to the payroll office.

We had a guest lecturer today who was promised an honorarium. There was no prior arrangement made by anyone.

This person would most likely not be paid the same day if they have not completed any forms prior to their arrival. Honoraria, stipends, etc. will have to be sent to the guest lecturer at a later time. They must go to the payroll office in order to complete the FNIF and other tax forms. If that is impossible, then please make copies of all their travel papers such as passports, Social Security card (if they have one), EAD card (Employment Authorization Document, if they have one), I-94 form and submit them to the payroll office on their behalf.

There are several professors coming to a conference at Smith. Some of them are from another country. They are being paid a small stipend and will live on campus. Can we pay them? Can we reimburse them for travel expenses?

Please have the conference chair contact the Office for International Students & Scholars for advice. There are different visa categories that would allow them to get honoraria and be reimbursed for expenses depending on the length of their stay. Please allow as much time as possible for visa processing for those participants coming from another country.

Is an honorarium paid to an international guest lecturer taxed?

Yes, there is a withholding tax of 30 percent for stipends and honoraria. If the foreign visitor is from a tax treaty country, then they may complete Form 8233 to take advantage of the treaty, provided that they have a Social Security number or ITIN. Tax treaties are very complicated and only the payroll office can determine if the individual is qualified for a treaty benefit at the time of payment.

What happens if someone does not have an Social Security Number (SSN) and they are only here for a short time? Or have a tourist visa which does not qualify them to apply? Can that individual get paid without an SSN?

The payroll office is authorized to issue an ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) to individuals who do not qualify for a Social Security Number. This number is then used in lieu if the SSN.

I think I have a fair understanding of the foreign visitor visa issues, but it seems that each faculty visitor has a different situation and there are always problems. Who can I call?

All matters pertaining to immigration, visas, travel and entry to the United States should be directed to the International Students & Scholars Office. Matters dealing with payment, treaty countries, SSN, etc., should be directed to the payroll office.