unit logo
  1. Home
  2. Knowledge Base
  3. Payroll Services
  4. Payments to Foreign Nationals or Nonresident Aliens (NRAs)
  5. Foreign Honoraria

Foreign Honoraria

Reason for Directive

UF is bound by U.S. immigration law and IRS regulations when making payments to foreign individuals.

An honorarium is a payment made by colleges and universities to visiting teachers, lecturers, and researchers for participation in a university sponsored activity where no payment is legally required and no contractual obligation for performance exists.

There is no monetary limit or minimum for an honorarium payment. It is a monetary “thank you,” where the individual remains free to withdraw from the event at any time without notice or recourse by the university.

An honorarium may be paid to a foreign national for “usual academic activity.” These activities include lecturing and sharing of knowledge or performance.

Who Must Comply?

All departments processing an honorarium payment to a foreign national or nonresident alien.


Before committing to pay an honorarium to a foreign national, departments must ensure that the person has the appropriate visa that allows such a payment. Only certain visa classifications are authorized to accept an honorarium. An individual already present in the U.S. may not necessarily be here in the correct visa classification to accept such payment. For more information, see Honoraria & Travel Reimbursement Criteria by Visa Types.

If services are being performed within the United States, payment to the foreign national is subject to 30% tax withholding. Services being performed outside of the United States are not subject to tax withholding and typically require less paperwork.

  1. The recipient completes his/her foreign national information in the FNIS portal. In order for the recipient to obtain FNIS access, the department must submit a FNIS Request (select ‘Honorarium/Independent Contractor’ for question #14.)
  2. Once all of the required documents are obtained (see list below), send the documents to Payroll Services at payroll-services@ufl.edu to run the substantial presence test and to request a supplier number.
    • W-8BEN– This form establishes that someone is a foreign person (certificate of foreign status.) It supports the 30% tax rate charged.
    • Certification of Academic Activity Form – This form confirms that an honorarium recipient complies with the “9-5-6 Rule.”
    • Passport page showing the passport number and date that the passport expires.
    • I-94 retrieval information from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search. Need I-94 and Travel History. This information should be obtained when the recipient is in the U.S.
    • Entry stamp in the passport (only if the passport is stamped.)
    • Social Security Card (only if the recipient was ever issued one.)
    • Travel itinerary from the airlines.
    • Letter or email inviting the person to lecture. The letter should include the dates of the lecture as well as the amount of the honorarium.
    • Advise if the department is reimbursing the individual for any travel expenses. If so, provide the total reimbursement amount and any related receipts.
    • Advise if the department wishes to gross up the payment amount to cover the 30% tax withholding deduction.
    • Verification of the visitor’s information against the SDN List (Use either the FIRST or LAST name, whichever is most unique, but not both together. DO NOT complete any other fields in the search criteria.)
    • For overseas banking, provide a completed Wire Form (you may leave the amount field blank.) For domestic banking, provide a completed ACH form with a voided check or bank statement.
  3. Send all completed forms and required documentation to Payroll Services at payroll-services@ufl.edu.

Last Reviewed

Last reviewed on 03/20/2024