Office of the General Counsel > Services > Immigration > Business Visitors

Business Visitors


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From time to time, academic departments and business units may wish to invite international visitors and scholars to attend events or to participate in short-term research projects at DePaul University. For immigration purposes, such visitors are generally considered "Business Visitors."

Please see below for more information about inviting foreign nationals to campus for short-term business activities and events. Our Immigration Forms page also includes a template invitation letter, which may assist Business Visitors in obtaining a B-1/B-2 visitor visa.

Foreign Visitor Risks and Recommendations

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently encouraged U.S. universities to increase awareness of the threat of espionage and theft of intellectual property by foreign adversaries who may pose as visiting scholars or researchers. Such individuals may attempt to leverage joint research and training opportunities to support foreign military and commercial research, development, and acquisition.

Recommended Business Visitor Review Process

The FBI recommends that U.S. universities exercise due diligence when inviting foreign business visitors to campus. Before committing to an academic collaboration, please consider the following:​

  • Carefully consider the motivations behind any unsolicited offer for research assistance or academic collaboration.
  • Evaluate a prospective foreign visitor's CV/resume, and ensure it lines up with information that can be obtained through public sources.
  • Request information from the foreign visitor about their funding sources (beware of foreign government funding).
  • Ensure that the level of access the foreign visitor will receive to restricted-access facilities, IT networks, and university data is appropriate for the research being conducted.
  • Prepare an official university invitation letter that clearly specifies the purpose of the visit – use the template provided below and/or contact an OGC attorney for assistance.
  • At the conclusion of the visit, ensure that all IT systems access and privileges are deactivated, and any university-issued equipment is returned.

 Foreign Business Visitor Warning Signs

 Foreign adversaries are becoming increasingly sophisticated. However, the FBI has identified several “warning signs," which may indicate when a business visitor has misrepresented their true intentions:

  • Insists on working in private.
  • Volunteers to help on classified or sensitive work.
  • Has unexplained or prolonged absences.
  • Misuses computer or information systems.
  • Conceals or is elusive about foreign contacts.
  • Lacks concern for or violates security protocols.
  • Exhibits unusual interest in things outside of their approved access level or environment.​

Please be vigilant. Report suspicious activity to the Public Safety Office. If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding a current or prospective business visitor, please do not hesitate to contact the Office of the General Counsel. ​​​

B-1/B-2 (Visitor) Visas - Frequently Asked Questions

B-1/B-2 Visitor visas are available to foreign nationals who are entering the country for six months or less to visit for “business purposes.”

Acceptable business purposes include:

  • Consulting or collaborating with DePaul faculty or business associates;
  • Attending educational or professional conferences or events; and
  • Speaking, teaching, or conducting research on a very short-term basis.

DePaul University cannot apply for a visitor visa on someone's behalf. A foreign national seeking a Business Visitor visa should make an appointment with his or her local U.S. Consulate. The visitor will need to demonstrate that the purpose of the trip is related to business; that s/he plans to remain for a specific, limited period of time no longer than six months; that s/he has funds to cover travel and lodging expenses; and that s/he has compelling social and economic ties to the home country, which incentivize him or her to return home after the visit.

Business Visitors may be paid stipends or reimbursed for travel expenses under certain, limited circumstances. With departmental approval, DePaul can pay for a visitor’s travel and/or lodging expenses, as well as pay an honorarium or stipend for up to nine (9) days of services performed for the benefit of DePaul, so long as the visitor has not received similar payments from more than five (5) educational institutions in the past six (6) months. This is often referred to as the “9/5/6 Rule.” Please contact the OGC's Immigration Attorney if you anticipate paying a visitor to confirm that the payment is permissible under the applicable immigration laws.

If you wish to invite a Business Visitor to DePaul:

  • Provide the visitor with an invitation letter outlining the purpose and details of their trip. For a template invitation letter, please visit our Immigration Forms page, or contact the OGC’s Immigration Attorney.
  • Inform the visitor that during his or her visa interview, s/he will likely need to present proof of ability pay for the trip, as well as proof of ties to his or her home country. Evidence of such ties can include proof of local residence, employment, family, bank accounts, civic membership, and tax forms, among other things.
  • Contact the OGC if you anticipate paying the visitor to confirm that such payment is permissible under immigration laws.