General Visa & Tax Information for Participants In the Advanced Research Training Courses


Early visa application is important if you wish to come to the course on time. Visas require a wait time for an interview at a US Embassy or Consulate, a wait time while the visa is being processed, and in some instances, a wait time for administrative processing depending on your individual circumstances. Added together the entire process can take weeks or months, so please start the process as soon as you are accepted into the course. If you wait too long and cannot get a visa, your place in the course will be given to someone else. Wait times for visa appointments can be found on the Visa Wait Times page.


Non-US citizens not currently in the United States who wish to participate in an MBL course, may enter the US on any of the following visas:

  • J-1 Visa (Exchange Visitor Program). Appropriate for students or others whose participation in an MBL course is NOT related to their employment or business and for any individual receiving financial aid or salary/compensation from MBL. It is recommended that foreign national students who accept a scholarship award from the MBL enter the US in a J-1 visa status. Individuals who wish to come on a J-1 visa sponsored by the MBL must complete a Request for DS-2019 Form found on the J-1 Visa Instructions page.
  • B-1 Visa (Visitor for Business). Appropriate for non-US citizens who are NOT receiving financial aid from MBL and whose participation in an MBL course is related to their employment or business.
  • ESTA/Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Same as the B-1 visa described above, but the individual must be from a participating country (see Visa Waiver Program Requirements) and cannot remain in the United States for longer than 90 days. Must pre-register before traveling and pay an administrative fee of $14 on line (see details at Visa Waiver Program.)

Before making your decision, it is suggested you read the Exchange Visitor Visa page of the US Department of State found at Exchange Visitor Visa as well as the information on potential tax issues below. You should also review the Skills List by Country to see if the two-year residency rule might be applicable if you were to apply for a J-1.

Non-US citizens currently in the United States at another institution may participate in MBL courses. It is, however, the responsibility of the individual to notify the International Office at their home institution of their plans to come to the MBL.

Tax Issues

Financial assistance received by individuals who are not US citizens and who do not pay income taxes in the US are generally subject to US tax withholding. This is determined by many factors including the type of visa on which the individual enters the US. Amounts of tax withholding range from 14% to 30%. The MBL utilizes a secure on-line information system (FNIS), to gather and analyze immigration/visa data which will determine if any tax withholding is necessary. For more information, please visit Tax Information for Recipients of Financial Aid & Honoraria.