Foreign National Non-Employee Visitors & Researchers

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. 

The Process of Inviting a Visitor


The process of inviting a visitor to Georgia Tech begins with the host department.

Instructions for host departments:
  1. Complete the Hiring or Hosting Eligibility Determination e-form group in iStart.
  2. Complete the Foreign National Affiliates and Visitors group of e-forms when instructed.
  3. Once the Office of Legal Affairs has completed export control review, Global HR will approve the process authorization form and provide an invitation letter to be sent to the visitor.
Instructions for visitors:
  1. Complete the Foreign National Affiliate or Visitor Information pre-arrival form.
  2. Once the visitor has arrived in the U.S., they must then complete the Arrival Information and Documentation e-form.
  3. Global HR will review arrival documents to ensure the visitor has arrived in a proper visitor/affiliate status.
Instructions for hosting a group of Foreign National visitors

Departments hosting a group of foreign nationals for a conference, seminar or workshop are required to work with Global Human Resources and the Office of Legal Affairs.

  1.  Notify Global HR and the Office of Legal Affairs via email. Provide the approximate number of foreign national participants, the intended dates and a short description of the visit.

  2. Global HR will provide a spreadsheet to the department. The department will need the GT identification number (if applicable), name, country of citizenship, gender, date of birth and email address of each participant.
  3. The completed spreadsheet and copies of each participant’s passport ID page should be returned to Global HR. (Note – departments may return the spreadsheet and passports in groups as small as five individuals)
  4. Legal Affairs will conduct an export control review and visual compliance. Global HR will be notified when Legal Affairs has completed the Export Control Review and Visual Compliance.
  5. A letter will be provided by Global HR to the host department for the participant and information about obtaining the B-1 visa or the visa waiver program will be sent to the participant.

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.