Pittsburgh, PA asked in Education Law, Employment Law, Immigration Law and International Law for Pennsylvania

Q: Do students on F1 visa who accept travel grants from US-based professional associations violate visa regulations?

As an international graduate student on F1, I regularly submit material to professional conferences for presentation.

Some conferences and professional associations award travel grants to deserving graduate students in order to enable them to present and then ask them to complete a W-9 or a W-8BEN in return.

My question: Can I accept such a grant? Does a travel grant count as taxable income? If so, would accepting such a grant and filling out a W-8BEN constitute a violation of F-1 visa regulations?

If so, it seems that these regulations in effect serve to discriminate against deserving, but economically challenged international grad students as they make it harder, if not impossible, for them to participate in the kind of academic activity that finding a job in the profession requires. Any input on this issue would be very much appreciated!

1 Lawyer Answer

Dawn Chere Sequeira

Answered
  • Immigration Law Lawyer
  • Bethesda, MD

A: You can accept them from an immigration perspective. For tax purposes, contact a Tax Attorney.

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