MIT prohibits foreign nationals holding a tourist visa from having any kind of formal affiliation with the Institute. Therefore, it is essential for foreign nationals planning a visit to MIT to contact the Department's Headquarters in advance so that they may assist the visitor in obtaining the appropriate visa status. It is of the utmost importance for foreign mathematicians planning to visit the MIT Math Department to make appropriate visa arrangements in advance. Please contact Dan Delgado in the Math Headquarters Office for more information.
Often foreign visitors may have a visa stamp of some type in their passport, and assume that this stamp means that they already have the visa necessary for entry. It is important to point out that these visa stamps represent only the eligibility to obtain a certain visa status. Actual visa status is determined by the immigration official at the point of entry to the U.S., and is indicated by the notation made by this official on the white I-94 card stapled into the travelers passport upon arrival.
If no advance visa preparations have been made, or if the scholar neglects to request the appropriate visa status from the immigration official at the airport, the visitor may not be admitted to the U.S. or may be admitted with the incorrect status, such as B-2 tourist or WT (tourist with a visa waiver). A visitor with the WT notation in his or her passport is not eligible for a change of status within the U.S., or for an extension of stay. In most circumstances, B-2 and WT visitors cannot be paid any salary or honorarium, or reimbursed for any expenses. No MIT appointment, whether paid or unpaid, is permitted with a tourist visa. Therefore, it is extremely important that the inviting faculty member in the Math Department or the international visitor contact Dan Delgado well in advance to make appropriate visa arrangements. Dan works closely with the International Scholars Office (ISchO) at MIT. The ISchO is the main resource at MIT for visa applications, information, policy, and advice, and much helpful information can be found on the ISchO website.
The most common types of visas used by visitors to the Math Department are listed below. Dan will assist in determining the appropriate visa, considering the length and terms of the proposed MIT affiliation.
J-1: Exchange Visitor
Travel expenses, salary and honoraria are permitted under this visa. Significant lead-time is necessary to process the paperwork for this visa; please allow six weeks for a DS-2019 form to be issued. The visitor must then apply for a J-1 visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. The J-1 Exchange Visitor is authorized to work only for the institution indicated on the DS-2019 form, or by approval of the J-1 program sponsor under very limited circumstances.
B-1 Business Visa or WB Business Visa Waiver
Travelers in B-1 or WB status may hold unsalaried appointments at MIT. Reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses and a per diem for expenses are permitted. Honoraria are also permitted under certain restrictive circumstances. This visa status is commonly used for short-term visits, to give talks, collaborate, or attend conferences.
Canadian visitors should be advised that they are under the same visa restrictions as other foreign visitors.