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I attended a panel for early career researchers, and one of the panelists mentioned that at the university he was at, it is more challenging for the department to pay for the flight costs to host an applicant from abroad for interviews for tenure-track jobs. Is this common? Is this something I should watch out for before agreeing to travel abroad for a temporary position?

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  • Many years ago, pre-internet (not really, but close), I timed an interview on one continent to occur after a conference. My current institution paid for my round trip to the conference, the interviewing institution paid for a round trip from the conference city to theirs.
    – Jon Custer
    Jun 23, 2021 at 20:48

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Whenever anyone invites you to travel - whether that's for an interview, talk, conference, whatever - you should always either ask them to confirm that they will pay your expenses, or decide that you are willing to bear all the costs (so that it is a pleasant surprise if they subsequently offer to pay).

In my experience, travel is not a primary factor in deciding who to interview. However, it is certainly something that can tip the balance on borderline cases. This is not purely financial: is it fair to ask someone to spend half a day travelling each way when I'm already 90% sure they're not the right person for the job?

In any case, in the Covid era universities have become much more comfortable interviewing remotely, and so this may be an issue that is less important going forward.

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    An on-site interview invitation for a full time, long term academic job interview should include an explanation of how the university will pay for the candidate's travel. If it does not, that is a sign something is wrong with the employer. Jun 24, 2021 at 0:59
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    "travel is not a primary factor in deciding who to interview" Not all countries have the same visa policy. Jun 24, 2021 at 1:00
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As a data-point: at my R1 U.S. university, in mathematics, we apparently cannot reimburse transcontinental travel expenses... so we cannot in-person interview people not already on the continent (in Canada, Mexico, or the U.S.).

This was a university policy for some years, prior to Covid and prior to possibilities of vaguely reasonable on-line interviews, lectures, etc.

(I'd imagine that the current possibilities of on-line lectures and interviews, plus the general economic fallout of Covid, would make transcontinental travel expense reimbursement even less approvable...)

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  • Suppose I were interested in an academic position at your university. Would being abroad hinder my chances of being offered an interview, all other things being equal?
    – Mehta
    Jun 24, 2021 at 0:43
  • Being abroad would definitely impede a physical interview... but that is not quite the same thing as inhibiting job offers. It just means that you'd have less chance to make an in-person impression. Jun 24, 2021 at 0:55

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