Reimburse Foreign Visitors for Travel Expenses

Departments and faculty hosting foreign visitors should inform their guests about U.S. immigration requirements governing eligibility for reimbursement of travel expenses. The type of visa the individual uses to enter the U.S. is critical to determining what reimbursement is allowed. There are no exceptions or retroactive do-overs.


Under the Competitiveness Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, payments to foreign visitors with B-1 and B-2 visa types and those traveling on a Waiver for Business (WB) or Waiver for Tourist (WT) are limited. UC Berkeley visitors traveling on one of these visa types or waivers can only receive reimbursement for travel expenses if they meet the requirements of the Certification of Academic Activity (PDF).

Please note: All foreign individuals receiving funds from the university (speaker fees, scholar payments), must have a GLACIER record. GLACIER determines residency status and tax treaty eligibility for the foreign individual. Read more about GLACIER.

B-2 Visas and WT Classifications

Foreign travelers visiting UC Berkeley on a B-2 visa or a Waiver for Tourist (WT) classification are considered tourists and must complete the Certification of Academic Activity (PDF) form. To receive travel expense reimbursement, these travelers must meet the following criteria:

  • Purpose of the visit must be for "usual academic activity"
  • Academic activity cannot exceed nine days
  • Payment must be offered by UC Berkeley
  • Visa holders cannot have accepted reimbursement for travel expenses from more than five academic institutions within the previous six-month period