Immigration Services

Visitor Visa Information

General Information

B-1 visas are issued to "visitors for business." B-2 visas are issued to "visitors for pleasure." Under the Visa Waiver Program, nationals of certain countries who wish to visit the United States for tourism or business are not required to apply for a visa. Visa Waiver visitors for tourism are given “WT” notations on USCIS Form I-94 issued by U.S. Customs upon arrival in the U.S. Visa Waiver visitors for business are given “WB” notations on the same document. See the U.S. Department of State Web Page for a list of Visa Waiver Countries.

Employment

Individuals who enter under the B-1, B-2, WT, or WB classifications are not eligible to apply for or hold employment in the U.S. However, under the following circumstances, only, they may be paid remuneration for services (such as an honorarium):

  • Purpose of visit is to engage in “usual academic activity” including lecturing, teaching, observing, research, etc.
  • Visit at a single institution does not exceed nine (9) days
  • Up to five institutions may be visited over a five (5) month period
  • A valid U.S. Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) is provided

For further information see Payments to Non-employee, Non-resident Aliens

Duration of Visitor Status

Initial admission of B-1/B-2 visitors usually does not exceed 4-6 months. B-1/B-2 visitors may apply for extensions of status within the U.S. for up to a maximum of 12 months. It is difficult and time consuming for B-1/B-2 visitors to change to a different visa classification after arrival in the U.S. Plans for engaging in studies, employment, training, or other activities beyond the original visit must be discussed with the sponsoring institution well in advance. Chances are a different visa classification should be used for coming to the U.S.
Individuals entering under the Visa Waiver Program may stay up to a maximum of 90 days. There is no possibility of extension or of change to another visa classification.

Additional Information

For additional information visit the web site of the U.S. Department of State at http://www.state.gov/ under “Visas”. For details about documents and forms required to obtain a visitors visa, you may also wish to visit U.S. State Department web site for U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad at http://usembassy.state.gov/.