Within academia, it is a customary practice to give a visiting scholar a nominal monetary gift, generally at a time when the individual has come to campus to engage in some sort of academic activity during which he or she shares his or her expertise. Before extending an honorarium to an international scholar, it is important to first understand whether or not it is legally possible to pay the honorarium.

Eligibility to Receive Honorarium

Not all foreign nationals can receive honoraria payments from the University. The following individuals are eligible to receive such payments:

  • anyone with unrestricted work permission (U.S. citizens, permanent resident, asylee)
  • an individual in J-1 professor, Research Scholar or Short Term Scholar who has received advanced, written permission from the "Responsible Officer" or the "Alternate Responsible Officer" of his/her J program to engage in the activity for which the honorarium will be given. No one else at the institution has the legal authority to grant this permission. [Legal reference: 22 C.F.R. 62.16 and 22 C.F.R. 62.20 (g)]
  • an individual who entered the U.S. as a visitor in either B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status [Legal reference: American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act.]

No one else is eligible to receive honoraria payments. Individuals already in the U.S. in some other non-immigrant status are not eligible for honoraria payments unless they have been granted some form of unrestricted employment authorization. This does not mean that CUA cannot invite speakers from other institutions to lecture or give presentations. It does mean, however, that CUA will have to pay the individual's employer or sponsor for the amount of the honorarium and that institution will be responsible for dispersing those funds to the individual.

Limitations on Payment of Honoraria

In some circumstances there are limits on the duration of the specific activity and on the frequency that an international can receive an honorarium:

Immigration status is…

Time Limit on activity

Limit on Frequency

US citizen, permanent resident or has unrestricted work permission



J-1 Professor, Research Scholar or Short Term Scholar

None, assuming authorized by RO/ARO of their J program sponsor

None, assuming authorized by RO/ARO of their J program sponsor

Visitor in B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status

No longer than 9 days

Cannot receive more than five honoraria payments from U.S. institutions in the preceding 6 months

Amount and Taxability

Under immigration regulations, there is no limit on how much an individual can receive as an honorarium payment. It is important to note, however, that honoraria payments could be subject to tax withholding. CUA departments wishing to pay honoraria to internationals are encouraged to discuss this in advance with the Payroll office.

Applying for an ITIN

A Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is an identification number used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the administration of tax laws. It is issued either by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or by the IRS. A Social Security number (SSN) is issued by the SSA whereas all other TINs are issued by the IRS. This number is used for identification purposes for federal income tax filing only. Students and Scholars will only be issued an ITIN if you have a filing requirement and file a valid federal income tax return.

To obtain an ITIN, you must complete IRS Form W-7, IRS Application for Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (PDF) . The Form W-7 requires documentation substantiating foreign/alien status and true identity for each individual. You may either mail the documentation, along with the Form W-7, to the address shown in the Form W-7 Instructions, present it at IRS walk-in offices, or process your application through an Acceptance Agent authorized by the IRS. Form W-7(SP), Solicitud de Número de Identificación Personal del Contribuyente del Servicio de Impuestos Internos (PDF) is available for use by Spanish speakers.

Acceptance Agents are entities (colleges, financial institutions, accounting firms, etc.) who are authorized by the IRS to assist applicants in obtaining ITINs. They review the applicant's documentation and forward the completed Form W-7 to IRS for processing.

For detailed information please visit: Internal Revenue Service

NOTE: OIS and CUA cannot process ITIN numbers for individuals. This is the responsibility of the individual applicant.