While you are a J-1 scholar, you may be invited to give guest lectures or consultations about your research or teaching program at Illinois State. In the immigration world, incidental employment is the only option for J-1 scholars who wish to engage in such activities for which they might receive something in return or a benefit.
If a J-1 scholar provides a service (such as giving a presentation or a consultation) and receives anything in return (like cash in hand, an honorarium, free lodging, free car rental, free meals, free airfare, repayment of expenses, etc.), this can be seen as payment for services rendered.
Scholars who receive funding or payment can be seen as independent contractors and must be aware of tax reporting and laws. Completing an I-9 or other forms may be necessary. For more information, please contact ISU’s International Tax Specialist, Brenda Banwart at 309-438-3106.
Employment that is incidental embodies the concept of occasional, single, infrequent events. Scholars may take part in lectures and consultations as long as they do not happen in an ongoing manner or interfere with their Illinois State program, and are pre-approved by their department and ISSS.
To meet the criteria set by federal law, occasional lectures or short-term consultations must:
To apply, please follow the instructions outlined in the Incidental Employment Handout.
Scholars who do not receive prior written permission before participating in incidental employment can be seen as engaging in illegal and unauthorized employment. This is a serious violation of a scholar's visa status and is a deportable offense. Since employment opportunities are very limited for J-1 scholars, it is important for departments and scholars to know the rules around employment.