Financial Matters


Any payment made to a visiting scholar is reportable income to the IRS and subject to 30% federal tax withholding unless exempted by a tax treaty. The U.S. currently has fifty-three tax treaties that cover the payment of honoraria. To claim a treaty a scholar must file a form 8233 with the IRS 10 days prior to receiving a payment. The scholar must also have an Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) to claim the treaty benefits. For a list of tax treaty countries, please refer to the following website:

Please contact Luanne Brown in the payroll office to set up an appointment to fill out the 8233. The scholar will need to bring the following: Passport, I-94 or IAP-66, SSN or ITIN card.

Social Security Number

J1 and H-1B scholars are eligible to apply for a social security number. PIC will provide a letter from Grand Valley authorizing that the J-1 scholar's employment is at GVSU and pertinent to their purpose of stay. The Scholar will need to apply for a SSN in person at the Social Security Administration (located at 3045 Knapp St. NE).

IMPORTANT: Newly arrived scholars must wait 10 days after their date of entry to the US before applying for a Social Security Number. Applications submitted too early often result in added delays of one month or more.

The following documents are required for an application:

  • Passport
  • I-94
  • DS-2019
  • Social Security endorsement letter (from PIC)
  • Contract letter (if applicable)

Individual Taxpayer Identification Number

ITIN is used for individuals that do not qualify for a Social Security Number and must file a tax return or receive exemption from taxes under a tax treaty. The ITIN does not entitle the recipient to Social Security benefits or give the right to work in the United States. The application process for an ITIN takes approximately 6-8 weeks. Potential visitors are encouraged to file for an ITIN prior to their arrival in the United States.

To apply for an ITIN, an individual must complete IRS form W-7. Please refer to and Publication 1915 for more information.

The following address should be used in section 3 of the W-7 form so that the ITIN number is received by GVSU:

Payroll Office
Grand Valley State University
1035 Zumberge
1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401

Payment Options

Extended Stay Visiting Scholars

The payroll office welcomes all foreign national visitors. Prior to inviting a visitor, please be aware that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) impose strict regulations on payment to foreign national visitors. Grand Valley State will adhere to these regulations at all times.

Luanne Brown in the Payroll office determines what payment options are available.
Phone: (616) 331-2255
E-mail: [email protected]

Short Term Visiting Scholars

Grand Valley State University has two options for payment to short-term foreign national visitors / nonresident aliens (NRA).

1. Travel reimbursement
Foreign national visitors are allowed to receive reimbursement for business and travel related expenses. If the visitor entered under a tourist visa they are not eligible to receive any type of reimbursement. GVSU policy requires that an expense request form be submitted to the accounting office along with copies of receipts. A GVSU employee who has signing authority on the account being charged must approve the form. The expense check will be paid in U.S. currency only.

Send form to: 
Kim Suber
2015 Zumberge Hall

2.  Honorarium
Honoraria are payments made to a professional person for services where compensation is not legally or normally required. Any payment made to a scholar is reportable income to the IRS and subject to 30% federal tax withholding unless exempted by a tax treaty. The scholar will need either an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) or a Social Security Number (SSN) to be able to receive the payment. The individual will also need to file a tax return by April 15 of the following year. Honoraria can be paid to visitors with the following visa types: B-1, B-2, and J-1.


Page last modified April 26, 2024