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- Allowability of Travel Visa Expenses on Sponsored Projects
Sponsored Programs and ORSP are asked occasionally about the allowability of charging various visa fees to sponsored projects, particularly those involving Federal funds. (This page relates to travel visas and not credit cards.)
The guiding principle for the allowability of charges whether they benefit the sponsored project.
- If the individual will work on the sponsored project, the fee is chargeable to that sponsored project because that project will receive a direct benefit from the University appointment.
- If the resulting appointment will be to multiple University sources, the charge to the individual sponsored project should be prorated accordingly.
Allowable on Sponsored Projects
- H-1B petition expenses*
*H1B visas are allowable expenses on NIH projects only if the visa is for a new recruit. H-1B visas for existing employees are not allowable. If the individual is being recruited to work on the sponsored project, the fees are chargeable to that sponsored project because that project will receive a direct benefit from the University appointment. If the resulting appointment will be to multiple University sources, the charge to the individual sponsored project should be prorated accordingly.
- O-1 Visas
Expenses associated with requests for O-1 Visas (temporary work visas for aliens of "extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, and education") may be charged to sponsored projects using the same criteria set forth above for H-1B visas. Specifically, there must be a clear and direct benefit derived by the sponsored project to justify direct charging the petition expenses.
- J-1 visas (Form DS-2019) --when the visiting scholar exchange is sponsored project specific
When the purpose of the visiting scholar or professor exchange is to work on one or more sponsored projects, the project(s) can reimburse for the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) and other fees.
It is important to establish and document the direct involvement of the individual to the project being charged. This documentation should be forwarded both to ORSP and Sponsored Programs.
- There is no requirement that these expenses be charged to sponsored projects. It is the responsibility of the hosting faculty member to identify the appropriate funding sources.
- Expenses associated with the potential employee's dependents cannot be charged to sponsored projects (but could be charged to general/discretionary funds should the unit so desire).
- If the visa request is denied by the DHS, the charges cannot be covered by the sponsored project. It is expected that the hosting faculty member or unit will cover the charges from an alternative source and the expense be removed from the sponsored project.
- If the visa expenses are covered by a sponsored project and the employee leaves the University within 12 months of the start of service to that project as an H-1B holder, the fee expenses must be transferred from the sponsored project account to a discretionary account identified by the Principal Investigator of the sponsored project.
- In general, these expenses must be rebudgeted from existing (i.e., already committed) grant and contract budgets. It is doubtful that sponsors will entertain requests for supplemental funding for these expenses. Also, because it would be difficult to presume such a need at application preparation time, we do not endorse including these expenses in prospective budgets.
- For any instance that requires legal fees being paid to one of the University's retained law firms, the Principal Investigator of the sponsored project must provide written justification both to ORSP and Financial Operations/Sponsored Programs to document the direct involvement of the individual to the project being charged.
Not generally allowable as charges to sponsored projects:
- Student (F-1) visas
This policy specifically excludes all student (F-1) visas. For an F-1 visa holder, the primary purpose for joining the University community is to be a student. Subsequent participation on sponsored projects is incidental to their roles as students even though projects may derive benefit from their involvement.
- J-1 visas (Form DS-2019)
This policy generally excludes exchange visas for visiting scholars or professors to come to the US to participate in a program of teaching, scholarship, or research, unless the purpose is specifically to participate in a sponsored project. See discussion above.
- Permanent Residency requests
This policy specifically excludes Permanent Residency requests as the primary beneficiary is the individual and direct benefits to individual research projects cannot readily be shown.