Yes, a visiting scholar can come with what is called a B-1 “visitor for business” visa. Under certain limitations, a person in B-1 status is permitted by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) regulations to be reimbursed for expenses, and, under the amended law, can be paid an honorarium in any amount.
Visiting scholars who are going to meet all of their own expenses can also come in B-1 status.
Acquiring a B-1 visa does not entail any formal immigration document from the University. To obtain a B-1 visa, a prospective scholar ought to have an invitation letter from the department with which the scholar will be affiliated, detailing the dates and activities of the contemplated visit, and stating what if anything is to be provided in the way of reimbursements and honoraria.