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Foreign Visitor Visas

Obtaining a Visa for a Foreign Visitor

Most short-term visitors to the United States do not have to apply for a formal visa to enter the country. Visa and immigration requirements are always changing, however, and the time required to process visas has increased dramatically. We recommend that you contact the Bechtel International Center if you need more information on visas and bringing foreign visitors to campus. For example, Stanford University cannot pay honoraria to non-Stanford sponsored H-1B or F-1 visa holders directly (those who are employed at another university). Visitors who enter the United States on tourist visas and stay under 9 days can be paid an honorarium, but they still need an ITIN or a SSN.

What is an ITIN?

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service. It is a nine-digit number that always begins with the number 9 and has a 7 or 8 in the fourth digit, example 9XX-7X-XXXX. The IRS issues ITINs to individuals who are required to have a U.S. taxpayer identification number but who do not have, and are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Administration (SSA). ITINs are issued regardless of immigration status because both resident and nonresident aliens may have U.S. tax return and payment responsibilities under the Internal Revenue Code.

Obtaining an ITIN for a Foreign Visitor

All non-U.S. residents without a social security number must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to be paid honoraria. ITINs are obtained through the Bechtel International Center. For the details of the ITIN procedure, visit the Bechtel International Center’s website at

Currently, the ITIN Procedure is as Follows:

1. Obtain a copy of the visitor’s passport, entry visa, and I-94 card (if applicable). Fill out the application for the signature ready W-7 (for the ITIN). This is available in the Forms and Links section of the website.

2. Bring these documents to the Humanities Center, and we will arrange for a $125 fee to be paid to the Bechtel International Center from your workshop account.

3. The workshop administrator will take the paperwork and proof of payment to the Bechtel International Center. (Steps one through three can be done in advance of your speaker’s visit.)

4. Within a few days the Bechtel Center will issue signature-ready W-7 (ITIN) forms and an 8233 form (see below). Depending upon timing of your presenter’s visit, have them sign both of these forms and return them to Kent Safford. If this is done after the visit, Bechtel will provide an electronic PDF that can be emailed to the visitor. They can download it and sign the hard copy and mail it to Kent at the Humanities Center.

5. Bechtel will then countersign the two forms and when ready, Kent will pick them up so that they can be included in the document support for the honorarium request.

When your visitor arrives, please copy the I-94 card (arrival/departure card) that is stapled inside their passport. This is required for honoraria processing and this is your only opportunity to get that copy. It is removed by airline officials upon departure from the U.S.

Tax Treaty Forms (8233)

If the visitor is from a tax treaty country, federal taxes are not withheld as long as an exemption (form 8233) is filed. If form 8233 is not submitted, IRS regulations require Travel and Reimbursement to deduct 30% of any honorarium paid to a foreign national. Please advise any overseas or resident non-U.S. nationals that you invite to speak of this requirement. This form may be found on our website.