Info for Foreign National Course Faculty
General Visa & Tax Information for Course Directors and Staff of MBL’s Advanced Research Training Courses
Course Directors and Course Assistants
Non-US citizens not currently in the United States who wish to participate in an MBL course as a Course Director or Course Assistant must enter the US on a J-1 visa.
All Course Directors, regardless of the duration of their stay at the MBL, must obtain a J-1 Visa. Course Directors receive a letter of temporary appointment and are eligible to receive a stipend from the MBL.
All incoming Course Assistants, regardless of the duration of their stay at the MBL, must obtain a J-1 visa. Course Assistants receive a letter of temporary appointment and are eligible to receive payment from the MBL.
International students who are in the US on an F-1 visa may only work and receive payment, provided they have valid employment authorization from USCIS and a duly endorsed I-20 document for OPT or STEM OPT from their sponsoring institution.
Other Course Staff
A course lecturer is typically invited to a course for 1-3 days to engage in limited course activity. As such as the following information applies:
9 days or less: Lecturers who will be receiving an honorarium from the MBL and whose stay is for 9 (calendar) days or less and falls within the 9/5/6 rule (see below) may enter the US under a B-1 Visa (Visitor for Business) and under the ESTA/Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Over 9 nine days: Course participants (lecturers, instructors, etc.) staying at the MBL for more than 9 (calendar) days must have a valid J-1 visa.
Course Faculty, Module Leaders, and Course Managers:
Non-US citizens not currently in the United States who wish to participate in an MBL course as faculty, module leaders, and course managers are advised to enter the US on a J-1 visa which is the most appropriate visa for this type of activity and because it permits compensation.
Non-US citizens not currently in the United States who wish to participate in an MBL course as teaching assistants must enter the US on a J-1 visa which is the most appropriate visa for this type of activity, and because compensation is permitted.
F-1 visas: International teaching assistants who are in the US on an F-1 visa and who wish to TA in an MBL course, may only work and receive payment from the MBL provided they have valid employment authorization from USCIS and a duly endorsed I-20 document for OPT or STEM OPT from their sponsoring institution. This documentation must be provided to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the course start.
Required Forms for J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa
Please contact email@example.com to discuss the Language Proficiency process for ARTC faculty.
Honorarium Payments to Foreign Nationals
An honorarium is a gratuitous payment to a foreign national for that individual’s participation in a common academic activity, such as lecturing, teaching, or other means of knowledge sharing that is for the benefit of the MBL.
For short-term visits made for the purpose of delivering a lecture or speech, at the MBL, only certain visa classifications are authorized to accept an honorarium.
Note: Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for further guidance.
Who is Eligible to Receive an Honorarium?
- B-1 visa holder, provided the individual meets the conditions of the Honorarium Rule.
- VWB (Visa Waiver Business) holder, provided the individual meets the conditions of the Honorarium Rule. Note: If the event for which the honorarium is offered is arranged before the individual travels to the U.S., the individual must seek admission as a B-1 or VWB non-immigrant.
- J-1 scholars at the MBL or from another university for an occasional lecture at the MBL, if permitted (in writing) by the sponsoring institution.
- H1-B, E3, TN and O-1 visa holders may receive an honorarium only if they are sponsored by the MBL. (H-1B, E3, and O-1 visa holders at another university may only receive reimbursement for travel and/or incidental expenses, not an honorarium for academic activity at the MBL.)
Honorarium Rule ("9/5/6" Rule)
The 9/5/6 Rule is defined as an activity that does not last longer than 9 calendar days at any single institution and the visitor has not accepted honorariums or expense reimbursements from more than 5 institutions in the previous 6-month period.
Honoraria CANNOT be paid under the following circumstances:
- Individuals bearing responsibility for grading or taking class attendance.
- Forum, workshop, seminar, lecture series or multiple course lectures that qualify as personal and professional services.
- A foreign national on F-1, H-1B, TN and O visas.
- Travel reimbursements for B-2/VWT visas.
- A foreign national who does not meet the 9/5/6 Rule.
Tax Implications for Course Directors and Other Staff
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. government tax authority, has issued strict regulations regarding the taxation and reporting of payments made to non-United States citizens. As a result, the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) may be required to withhold U.S. income tax and file reports with the IRS in connection to payments made by MBL to individuals who are not U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens (green card holders) and who receive awards, travel reimbursements, honorarium, stipends, or employment compensation.
The MBL is required to determine whether you will be treated as a “resident alien” or a “nonresident alien” for U.S. tax purposes. The substantial presence test is used to calculate the number of days that an individual is present in the U.S. and determine whether the individual is a nonresident alien or resident alien for purposes of calculating U.S. tax withholding. MBL is generally required to withhold taxes from all payments made to nonresident aliens. The MBL is required by law to report to the IRS all payments made to a nonresident alien that are subject to U.S. tax.
In order for MBL to make this determination, you must submit information through the Foreign National Information System (FNIS). This automated system determines and produces the necessary tax form (W-9 or W-8BEN) and withholding for your stay at the MBL. You will be asked to review, sign and date the tax document before payment is processed.