The Office of International Programs is committed to assisting JMU departments in the development of programs which bring international faculty to our home campus, thus enhancing the range and number of international experiences for all students and faculty. While supported by oIP, the sponsoring department is responsible for the visiting scholar’s stay while s/he is at JMU. Following are guidelines for the creation of such a program:
As a result of the countless study abroad trips, exchange agreements, consortiums, etc. the Office of International Programs has many connections at universities throughout world. If you have an interest in bringing a visiting scholar to your department, please contact the oIP Executive Director, Lee Sternberger, at 568-7002 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fulbright opportunities: There are a number of Fulbright programs which offer grants to bring faculty/staff to U.S. institutions for short-term visits, or longer visiting scholar stays. A synopsis of these programs can be found here. For more details, see http://www.cies.org/vs_scholars/.
Primary responsibilities: In any visiting scholar agreement, it is important to clearly specify the expectations the sponsoring department will have of the exchange visitor. Will the scholar be mainly responsible for lecturing, observing, conducting research, or a combination? What does the scholar expect of the sponsoring department?
Monetary expectations: What role will JMU take in the financial sponsoring of the visiting scholar? Some scholars are able to secure funding through their home institution, a program such as Fulbright, or other grant. However, JMU will very often be responsible for at least a minimal amount of services, such as housing, local transportation, meals, etc. In other situations, a visiting scholar may be hired as an adjunct professor and JMU would be fully responsible for his/her remuneration. These details will need to be addressed and the information provided to the oIP as soon as possible. The oIP is legally required to have this information prior to issuing the paperwork necessary for the scholar to apply for the correct visa.
Cultural excursions: Many visiting scholars have a strong interest in understanding local culture and exploring the surrounding community. It is strongly suggested that the sponsoring department consider hosting excursions to local places of interest such as Washington, D.C., a local cavern, Monticello, the American Cultural Museum, or something more closely connected to the scholar’s field of study. The Office of International Programs may be able to provide assistance in this regard.
J-1 Visa: The J-1 visa is a visitor exchange visa which is authorized through the Department of State. Many short-term or adjunct faculty members will be eligible for the J-1, as will visiting research scholars. It is acceptable for JMU to employ the holder of a J-1 visa, pursuant to the terms of his/her appointment. Because most J-1 scholars are out of the country at the time an appointment is made, it is imperative that the paperwork be completed as early as possible in order to give him/her time to apply for the visa and enter the U.S.
In order to process the J-1 visa application, the following is needed:
Honoraria for those in B1 Status: If a person is coming for a one-time speaking engagement and s/he is coming to JMU from an international location, s/he may be eligible to enter the U.S. on a visitor’s visa or a visa waiver. In this case, s/he may be paid “an honorarium …and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity.” In order to qualify for payment in the visitor visa category, the academic activity may not last longer than nine days, and the individual may not have received such a payment by more than 5 institutions within the past 6 months. Should a department wish to bring someone from another country here for a one-time engagement, the oIP should be contacted BEFORE arrangements are agreed upon to make sure that the person is legally eligible for the appointment. Also see note about Affiliate Accounts.
A prospective international visiting scholar may already be in the United States at a different university. If such a person is contacted to teach a course, give a lecture, conduct research at JMU, etc., it is imperative to understand the government regulations regarding the acceptance of honorariums. The first thing to ascertain what type of visa the scholar is currently holding. The following rules apply:
J-1 visa holders: A J-1 visiting professor or researcher may receive an honorarium from a university other than his/her sponsor ONLY after obtaining permission from the sponsor. JMU will not be permitted to offer an honorarium to such a person unless s/he has a statement from the sponsor verifying the sponsor’s approval of such an honorarium. Fulbright scholars are holders of J-1 status, and must be approved by the Fulbright Program to receive an honorarium for any lecture, research conducted, etc. Note: The payment of trip-related expenses is allowable without prior approval from the sponsor, including travel expenses, meals, lodging, etc.
H-1B visa holders: Many full-time and tenured international faculty members at U.S. universities are legally present in the U.S. under the H-1B status. This status does NOT allow any remuneration for services from a second university unless that university has also obtained H-1B approval for that visitor. In other words, a one-time lecturer in H-1B status at UVA may not be permitted to accept an honorarium from JMU (but can accept reimbursement for expenses). However, if a JMU department wishes to hire that same professor to teach one class, the department may opt to pay for the application to obtain H-1B approval, which the professor can utilize concurrently with the H-1B from UVA. Note: current H-1B application costs are $830 for most individuals.
Other visa holders: It is impossible to list each type of visa which a person may hold. If it is something other than J-1 or H-1B, the department must contact oIP to ascertain whether or not the prospective visiting scholar/adjunct faculty will be legally permitted to receive remuneration for his/her services.
Housing: The department is responsible for locating housing for the visiting scholar, or communicating the expectations that the scholar will responsible for his/her own accommodations. The oIP manages a few efficiency apartments near the JMU Campus, to be used on a short-term basis. Unfortunately, these units have very limited availability and, should they not be available, the department should assist the faculty in locating alternative housing.
Affiliate Accounts: If the scholar will be at JMU for more than a one-time engagement, it may be to his/her advantage to obtain an affiliate account in order to access services, receive emails, etc. You are strongly urged to apply for an affiliate account in any instance where the visitor will be at JMU for more than a week, and will not be put on payroll. Click here for additional information about affiliate accounts. Where the form asks for a social security number, if the person does not have a number, write “none” and send a note of explanation along with the affiliate application. It is important to begin the Affiliate Account process prior to the scholar’s arrival so there is no delay in services.
I-9 Completion: If the visiting scholar will be considered a JMU employee, as with any new employee, s/he MUST complete an I-9 and tax withholding paperwork on or before his/her first day on the job. If s/he has not completed an I-9, s/he MAY NOT continue working after the first day. The I-9 must be completed in person in the Office of International Programs with the Director of International Student and Scholar Services, J-MAC 6, Suite 23.
Taxes on the Foreign Worker: Most foreign workers are subject to U.S. income tax withholding, unless there is an exempting treaty with their country of origin, even for the one-time speaking engagement honorarium. Under many circumstances, it is mandated that the payment is taxed at 30%. This should be kept in mind when negotiating the contract with the visiting scholar. Because these laws are so complicated, and treaties must be reviewed to comply fully with the law, the department MUST contact the Payroll Office for complete information. http://www.jmu.edu/payroll/FNVisitors.shtml
Accounts Payable Paperwork: The following paperwork will be needed to process payments to visiting scholars:
Note: The honorarium amount may be subject to 30% tax withholding