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University of Georgia

Inviting an Unpaid International Scholar or Visitor

Hosting an Unpaid Visiting Research Scholar (VRS)

UGA welcomes the opportunity to host Visiting Researchers and Scholars (VRS), at all levels from undergraduate to faculty/professional, and works to assure that they have a productive visit.

In the interest of providing access to resources for the VRS, while also protecting the VRS and UGA, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the Office of International Education will implement new VRS hosting procedures effective May 1, 2014. The new procedures will start with the faculty sponsor and/or sponsoring unit completing a VRS questionnaire and will include obtaining a Visitor Agreement signed by the VRS as well as an onboarding process. The full procedure can be found on the OVPR VRS webpage: .

Questions about hosting a VRS can be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Immigration process and information for unpaid visiting researchers:

Departments wishing to invite international guests or visitors for an unpaid visit to UGA in order to conduct a workshop, present a lecture, participate in a conference or a participate in a brief collaborative visit, etc. may do so by issuing a letter of invitation to the guest. Depending on country of origin they will either be required to obtain a B-1/B-2 visa from the US Embassy or Consulate or they can be eligible for the WB/WT (Business Waiver or Toursit Waiver) process available to individuals from countries that are participants in the Visa Waiver Program through the US Department of State. (click here for Visa Waiver Program Information)

To request a letter of support for a visa application, please complete the B-1 Visa Support Letter request in our iStart portal.  For information about using iStart, please review our iStart Departmental User Guide.  

Citizens of Visa Waiver Countries

If the guest's country of citizenship is a participant in the visa waiver program they are exempt from having to obtain a visa to enter the US. They will present their passport and letter from UGA to verify the purpose for their visit to the US Customs and Border Protection Officer at their port of entry. The officer will stamp their passport and also validate their I-94. Individuals who enter using this process will be admitted to the U.S. for a maximum period of 90 days. WB/WT status holders are NOT eligible to extend their stay or change their status while in the US.

Please Note: Regulations now require Citizens of Canada to present a passport when they enter the US.

Please Note: Visa Waiver applicants will have to process an approval through the U.S. government's ESTA program. More information on ESTA can be found here.

Required to Obtain B/1-B/2 Visa

Individuals who need to obtain a visa should access the website for the United States Embassy or Consulate for the country where they will be submitting their application. Because procedures vary from country to country this will be the best source for identifying the forms, supporting documents and fees that they must pay. UGA should issue a letter of invitation (see application form above to request such a letter) addressed to the Embassy of the United States where the guest will obtain their visa. When the guest enters the US in the B-l/B-2 visa category they will be admitted for a period of time suitable to complete the purpose of the visit. Individuals in this visa category CAN extend their stay or change their status while in the U.S. by applying for an extension of stay to the U.S. government.

Payment of Travel Expenses or Honoraria

All payments to international guests are the sole responsibility of UGA Payroll/International Tax Compliance Office. The OIE / ISSIS office has no role in this process. You can access extensive information at It is critically important that copies of all required documents be obtained BEFORE the guest leaves the university.

Last modified on Monday, 31 October 2016 16:13