In many cases, departments wish to invite an international visitor to campus for a very brief period of time. Examples include giving a single lecture or participating in two or three days’ worth of research collaboration. In such cases, it is most appropriate for the individual to come to the U.S. as a business visitor (B-1 or VWB status), assuming they are not already in the U.S. in another status. This option does not require advance paperwork from OIPS (i.e. the DS-2019 form for a J-1 short-term scholar), and depending on the individual’s country of citizenship, may not even require a visa.
The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) handles visa and immigration-related questions.
The International Tax Office handles tax-related questions about honoraria, travel reimbursements, and Certification for B or VW visa holders receiving honoraria and/or travel reimbursements. The International Tax Office is located in Merten Hall, room 4422.
Letters for Departments
The Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) provides information about two types of letters for departments inviting non-immigrant visitors who will come to George Mason University for short-term educational/business purposes. The B-1 visa is issued to qualified applicants who request to enter the U.S. in “Visitor for Business” status. The VWB passport endorsement is issued to those from countries exempt from visa requirements for visitors. If you have any visa questions, consult with an OIPS advisor. Click here to view the office hours.
Visa Instruction Letter
The Visa Instruction Letter specifies important information about non-immigrant status for B-1 and VWB visitors who will be paid or reimbursed by the University. It provides information about resources to help the prospective visitor learn about his or her status in the US, and it serves as documentation for the prospective visitor to show the consular officer and immigration officer, so that the appropriate visa and entry endorsements are issued. If you plan to pay or reimburse the visitor, you can issue this letter to avoid status difficulties that would prevent the payment from being issued.
Download: Visa Instruction Letter
The Invitation Letter specifies the details of the visitor’s activities at George Mason University, and indicates the expected duration of the visit. This letter can be provided with the Visa Instruction Letter or, for those visitors who will not receive payment from Mason, it can be issued as documentation for the visitor’s employer or government as well as for the U.S. consular officer. Please note that certain visitors may be eligible to enter the U.S. in visitor status without visas. Click here to learn more.
Download: Invitation Letter
Download: Guidelines for Preparing Letter of Invitation to Foreign Visitor