What You Need to Know Before Paying a Honorarium to a Non-Resident Alien
Before you invite an international visitor to perform a honorarium for Boston University, particularly one that is already in the U.S., to Boston University, you must make sure that the individual has or will have an immigration status that permits the payment of an honorarium. The information below will assist you in determining whether or not an international visitor is eligible to be paid an honorarium.
Summary of Immigration Status Visa Categories
*Payment of a honorarium is NOT permitted for the following visa categories:
- A-1, A-2 – Foreign Diplomatic Personnal
- G-1 through G-4 – Representative of an International Organization
- F-2, H-4 – Dependents of F-1 and H-1
*If not employed by Boston University, payment of a honorarium is NOT permitted for the following visa categories:
- F-1 – Student
- H1B – Temporary worker in a Specialty Occupation
- I-1 – Representative of Foreign Information Media
- O-1 – Person of Extraordinary Ability
- R-1 – Religious Worker
- TN – Professionals under NAFTA (for citizens of Canada and Mexico)
*Payment of a honorarium for the following visa categories is permitted, but must follow restrictions; academic activity must not last longer than nine days and the visitor cannot receive payments from more than five institutions within the past six months:
- B-1 – Visitor for Business
- B-2 – Visitor for Pleasure
- WB – Visa Waiver for Business
- WT – Visa Waiver for Tourism
*If not employed by Boston University, payment of a honorarium is permitted for the following visa categories with restrictions:
- F-1 – Students (not sponsored by Boston University) with authorization from their school for CPT or one OPT with Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
- J-1 – Exchange visitors including students, scholars, researchers, and trainees (not sponsored by Boston University) must receive a written permission letter from their sponsoring institution
- J-2 – Dependents of J-1 exchange visitor with EAD
Documents Necessary for Paying an International Visitor an Honorarium:
- Disbursement Request Form
- Copy of Passport Picture
- Copy of Immigration Stamp when entered the US
- Copy of I-94 Card
- If person’s visa immigration status is B-1/B-2 or Visa Waiver, they must sign the B Honoraria Certification Document
- If the international visitor has a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and would like to apply for tax exemption on their honorarium payment, they have to complete the Foreign National Information Sheet (link to sheet). If they are found to have a tax treaty that exempts them from taxes, they must sign the provided 8233 form and statement in order to receive the exemption.
- If the individual does not have either a SSN or ITIN or if there is no tax treaty with their country they will be taxed at 30% withholding of federal taxes and at 5.3% withholding of state taxes. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule. If you know that the individual receiving the payment will have to pay taxes and you would like them to receive a specific amount, please gross up the payment amount.
If you have any questions on how to process an honorarium payment or have general questions about the visa categories, please contact the Payroll Office at 617-353-2270.