Payments to Foreign Visitors & Organizations

Many campus departments invite foreign nationals to campus to lecture, perform or provide services and agree to make some type of payment to these visitors. The visitor's visa status determines whether the university is legally able to pay such visitors, however, and this should be determined before the visitor comes to campus. General guidelines for visa types most common in higher education are listed below.

Alien registration or green card. Payment is allowed.
B-1, B-2 Honoraria payment is allowed if the visitor does not stay at SLU more than 9 days and attests that he/she has not received more that 5 honoraria payments in the last 6 months. Payment for services is not allowed.
F-1 Payment is only allowed if SLU is the sponsor of the visa.
H-1 Payment is only allowed if SLU is the sponsor of the visa.
J-1 Honoraria payment is only allowed if SLU is the sponsor of the visa or the institution that sponsored the J-1 provides a letter of authorization. Payment for services is not allowed.
TN (Canada, Mexico) Payment is only allowed if SLU is the sponsor of the TN.

Step by Step instructions for departments planning on issuing payment to short-term international visitors are available here.

Tax Reporting and Withholding on Payments to Foreign Persons and Organizations

The Business Office will reimburse the travel expenses for visitors if the sponsoring department authorizes the payment and provides original receipts.

In order for the University to issue payment to a foreign person or organization for goods or services, a valid W-8 form must be on file in the Business Office. The type of W-8 form required is dependent on several factors such as where the services are performed, the type of organization, whether treaty benefits are claimed. The three possible W-8 forms and a general description of when the form is appropriate are listed here.

W-8 ECI Required when payment is not for personal services and foreign organization claims their income is effectively connected with the conduct of business in the U.S. A U.S. social security number or EIN is required to complete this form.
W-8 EXP Required when payee is foreign government or other non profit organization.
W-8 BEN Required for all other payments to foreign persons and organizations. A social security or taxpayer identification number is only required if the payee claims the income is exempt from withholding due to tax treaty benefits.

Payees required to submit a W-8 Ben will normally be subject to withholding of 30% unless claiming tax treaty benefits. If such benefits are available, but the payee does not have a U.S. social security or taxpayer identification number (ITIN), the payee may apply apply for an ITIN by submitting a completed W-7 form to the IRS or an acceptance agent with proof of citizenship.

Individuals who have a SSN and wish to claim treaty benefits must also submit a completed Form 8233 to the Business Office before payment is made. The U.S. has tax treaties with over 50 countries, many of which allow for such exemptions, but require an additional letter attached to the Form 8233. The Business Office will assist individuals in completing these documents, but requires the following information to do so:

  1. Individual's name and U.S. address
  2. Social security number or TIN
  3. U.S. visa type and number
  4. Country and passport number
  5. Permanent foreign address
  6. Description of services
  7. Compensation
  8. Number of days the individual will perform services in the U.S. during calendar year

For assistance and additional information, please contact Mary Cosmo in the Business Office.