Visa Costs

Last updated on January 30, 2017

Short-Term, non-immigration Visa costs can be included on competitive and non-competitive proposal budgets.

UCSF Summary (click to expand)

Uniform Guidance, Section 200.463(d) Recruiting costs, clarifies when visa costs are allowable as a direct cost on federal awards:
Short-term, travel visa costs (as opposed to longer-term, immigration visas) are generally allowable expenses that may be proposed as a direct cost. Since short-term visas are issued for a specific period and purpose, they can be clearly identified as directly connected to work performed on a Federal award. For these costs to be directly charged to a Federal award, they must:

  •      (1) Be critical and necessary for the conduct of the project;
  •      (2) Be allowable under the applicable cost principles.
    Basic visa application and required fees, such as anti-fraud fees, are allowable direct costs provided they meet the definition above. Because this is classified as a recruiting cost, only the initial visa cost is allowable.
    Premium processing fees, dependent form fees, or UCSF internal processing fees are NOT allowable as direct charges to a federal award.
    If the employee resigns within 12 months of recruitment, for reasons within his/her control, the associated relocation costs, including any visa costs, must be removed from the Federal award and coded to the appropriate unallowable expenditure type.


UCSF FAQs (click to expand)

1. I have a postdoc or research associate that is coming from outside the U.S. to work on my federal award, can I charge the cost of his visa to the grant?
According to the new Uniform Guidance [§ 200.463 (d) “Recruiting Costs”] you may charge visa application fees to your grant provided the postdoc/researcher is critical and necessary for the conduct of the project.
2. I have a postdoc or research associate that needs to have his/her visa renewed, can I charge the cost of his visa to the grant?
No. Visa costs are only allowable as part of recruitment, not retention.
3. I have a postdoc who is here on a J-1 visa and is transitioning to a H-1B visa. May I charge the costs of the new H-1B visa to a federal award?
No. Only those visa costs associated with the initial recruitment may be directly charged to a federal award.

Agency Specific Guidelines (click to expand)