Making Payments to Foreign Nationals

Payments That Can Be Issued to Foreign Nationals

Foreign nationals are strictly limited in what sources of income they are authorized to accept and all payments are taxable unless an exception under a treaty or IRS code applies.

  • B-1, B-2, VWB and VWT are prohibited from being employed but may be paid under the Honorarium Rule conditions.
  • F-1 and J-1 students may be employed on and off-campus under certain circumstances.  Off-campus (non-WWU) employment requires specific work authorization from International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) prior to accepting employment. 
  • F-1 students may be eligible for 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT).
  • F-1 students in STEM fields may be eligible for a 17 month extension of  their OPT.
  • J-1 non-students may be employed on campus.  Permission to work off campus (non-WWU employment) is restricted and must be approved by the International Student & Scholars Services (ISSS) prior to accepting employment.
  • H-1B, O and E-3 visas are restricted to temporary workers in specialty occupations.
  • TN visas are restricted to Mexican and Canadian workers in specialty occupations.


Payment to an individual for a presentation-oriented, guest lecture or invitational event. Standard taxation rate: 30%

Chart of Payments That Can Be Issued to Foreign Nationals

Payment as a reward or recognition for a special achievement such as winning a judged competition or payment for participation as a research subject. Standard taxation rate: 30%

Payments for services performed by individuals who are not employees and who meet the criteria on WWU Form 1632. Standard taxation rate: 30%

Payments made for the use of intangible (royalty) or tangible (rent) property. Various tax rates apply up to 30% withholding - see IRS Publication 515 for specific details.

A one-time payment to assist a student in pursuing a course of study or research.  Generally not considered taxable income if the recipient is a candidate for a degree and the award is used to pay for tuition, fees and/or other mandatory books, supplies, and equipment required for all students in course of study.  

Payments made to foreign companies or entities. Standard taxation rate: 30% 

Payments for expenses incurred while traveling on University business. Generally not considered taxable income.