Foreign nationals visiting Georgia Tech for meetings, tours or short-term independent research must receive clearance from Global Human Resources and the Office of Legal Affairs before they arrive. Most foreign national affiliates and visitors will enter the US in B-1 or VWB status, however other statuses may be permissible. The foreign national will apply for a B-1 visa at an American consulate abroad and should present a letter of invitation from the Georgia Tech faculty host. If a foreign national comes from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver (VW) Program, they may enter the United States in VWB status (similar to B-1 status) without getting a visa stamp from a U.S. consulate. Foreign national affiliates or visitors whose activities will be controlled by Georgia Tech will come as J-1 Exchange Visitors.
Departments should initiate the process with Global HR as early as possible to ensure Legal Affairs has time to conduct the export review and the affiliate or visitor has adequate time to obtain the visa (if applicable). We recommend starting the process at least 30 days in advance.
The process of inviting a visitor to Georgia Tech begins with the host department.
The hosting department must complete the Hiring & Hosting Eligibility Determination e-forms prior to sending a letter of invitation to the foreign national. Global HR will provide further guidance after the Hiring & Hosting Eligibility Determination process is complete.
Affiliate or Visitor Responsibilities
Provide information and documentation upon request.
B-1 Visitors for Business
Persons coming to the U.S. to engage in short-term, temporary professional activities related to their employment abroad, may be admitted in B-1 status. Visitors in the B-1 classification are usually admitted for a 6-month period, and extensions may be permissible. Appropriate B-1 activities include, but are not limited to, consulting with peers, lecturing or speaking, participating in conferences or seminars, training, and independent research that provides no benefit to Georgia Tech.
Visitors coming to the U.S. for pleasure, are admitted under the B-2 category.
The Visa Waiver Program
Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), citizens of participating countries may travel to the US for business for up to 90 days without first obtaining a B-1 visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. No extension of stay is allowed. Those entering for business purposes are admitted in WB status and those entering for pleasure are admitted in WT status.
All visitors using the VWP must have an approved travel authorization from the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
Criteria for Payments to Business Visitors ("9/5/6" Rule)
Individuals admitted to the U.S. in B-1, B-2, WB, and WT status may not be employed by Georgia Tech. However, business visitors may receive an honorarium if these conditions are met:
- The visitor is performing an academic activity for the benefit of Georgia Tech. These activities may include lecturing and teaching.
- The activity being compensated is completed in nine days or less.
- The visitor has not accepted an honorarium payment or reimbursement for qualifying activities from more than five institutions in the previous six-month period.
Business visitors (B-1 and WB) may be reimbursed for expenses including lodging, meals and travel. More information on how to request these types of payments may be found here.