Global Research Toolkit

Visa and Immigration Issues

Researcher and Student Researcher Mobility

Pre-departure Preparations

Determine if project personnel need a pre-departure health consultation. If your institution has one, this usually may be arranged through your on-campus health and wellness center. Identify any required immunizations for entry to this foreign location. Preventative medications and/or malaria prevention supplies may also be needed.

Ensure that your researcher completes any necessary travel authorization forms and researches available insurance policies. Often institutions have different policies based upon faculty and student travel. Also check with your Export Control Office if your researcher will be bringing a laptop with them and/or has any other possible exposures during the expected travel (see the section on Export Controls).

Air Travel

Travel can be a significant part of a budget for an international activity. Determine how many flights project personnel will take per year for the following travel:

  • Domestic project personnel travel to the foreign project site
  • Foreign-based project personnel at the foreign site travel to your country
  • Project personnel travel to international sites for meetings/conferences/additional research

For air travel in excess of 14 hours, business class fare or a foreign layover directly en route to the final international destination for a brief rest period (not to exceed 24 hours) may be authorized, provided certain conditions apply.

Fly America Act

The Fly America Act mandates the use of U.S. certified air carriers for federally funded international travel.

Passports and Visas

A new passport is generally not an allowable direct charge to a federal grant. However, if additional passport pages are required to accommodate travel for an international activity, this may be an allowable expense. Confirm in advance with travelers whether additional pages will be needed.

Find out if a visa is required for entry to the foreign location. If so, determine if it is necessary to have the visa before leaving your home country or if it can be purchased upon landing at the foreign airport. Also, verify whether foreign-based project staff need a visa to enter the host country or any other countries in which project-related work will take place. Check to see if your institution has any contracted expedited passport and visa services (i.e., when a document is needed in less than 30 days).

Traveling Out of the Country with Personal Equipment

Faculty, students, or staff who are traveling out of the country with owned, and/or personal equipment (such as carry- on or checked baggage), should be prepared to document the original purchase upon returning to the U.S. to avoid having to pay duty tax. Check to see if your country has similar requirements if outside of the U.S. Often if the traveler chooses not to bring documentation, the home institution will not reimburse them if they are charged duty tax.

Information sourced from the University of Washington’s International Projects Start-Up Guide.

Hosting Visiting Scholars