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Honoraria and Compensation for Services - Canadians

Although they are still considered nonresident alien and must meet immigration requirements, there are some special conditions that apply to Canadians.


  • Beginning in January 2007, Canadians entering the U.S. by air are required to present a valid passport or a valid frequent traveler program card (NEXUS Air card). The NEXUS Air card is limited to citizens of Canada and requires a special application and is used for frequent visitors. The card resembles a driver’s license and requires a retinal scan for identity verification.
  • Beginning in June 2009, Canadians entering the U.S. by land or sea will be required to present a valid passport or valid frequent traveler program card (NEXUS OR FAST).
  • Thus, it is still possible for a Canadian visitor to arrive without a passport.


  • Canadians do not yet need to go to a U.S. consulate to obtain a visa for entry to the United States. The U.S. waives this requirement for all visa types. Thus, short-term visitors, professors, scholars, or students may legally arrive with no visa stamp in their passports.

I-94 Card:

  • Many short-term visitors from Canada will not receive I-94 cards when they cross the border. A Canadian visitor who has not received an I-94 card at the border should be considered in B-1 status for purposes of payment.

Other immigration documents:

  • Canadian F-1 students must have an I-20 (just as other F-1 students) and Canadian J-1 students must have a DS-2019 (just as other J-1 students). Unlike students from other countries, Canadian students do not have to visit a U.S. consulate to obtain a visa. Instead, they show their immigration document at the border and receive an I-94 card with F-1 or J-1 written on it as appropriate.

Payment Procedures:

All honoraria/compensation for services payments should be requested by Vendor Payment form. Please note on the Vendor Payment form that the visitor is Canadian. If the person is also receiving travel reimbursement it should be submitted on a Travel, Meals and Entertainment Form. In order to pay a Canadian visitor an honorarium, the hosting department must collect the following documents:

  • Copy of I-94 Departure Card (if applicable-see above note)
  • A Compliance Statement, signed by visitor and hosting department
  • Form W-8BEN, Part 1, questions 1-6 and Part IV. Non resident aliens should not complete Form W-9

Canada does have a tax treaty with the United States, so the visitor MAY be eligible to receive an exemption from the required federal withholding. Note that not all individuals are eligible to receive treaty benefits.

In order to be considered for the exemption, the visitor must do the following:

  • Have or apply for a U.S. tax ID number. This can be a social security number (SSN) or an individual tax identification number (ITIN).
  • Compete Form 8233, Part 1 and return the original copy to Accounts Payable. This is the application for tax treaty benefits. An 8233 without a U.S. tax ID number is not a valid application.
Updated: August 2009
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