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B-1, B-2, and Visa Waiver Program

The B status allows individuals to participate in temporary business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2) activities. While they may engage in business activities, they may not work. The following activities are permitted in an academic setting:

  • Observing and consulting
  • Independent research that does not benefit the university
  • Negotiations, conferences, and seminars
  • Clerkships for medical school students

We have created a guide that will provide step-by-step guidance on the B visitor visas at Understanding B-1/B-2 Visitors and Visa Waiver.

An individual in the US as a tourist may not be employed and may not receive a salary. Under certain circumstances, they may receive an honorarium and associated expenses for eligible academic activities (such as lecturing, guest teaching, or performing in an academic-sponsored festival). Please refer to the Payroll website for information regarding honoraria and eligibility:

ISSS is not typically involved with the tourist visa application for individuals.  However, the department may be requested to write an invitation letter to demonstrate the purpose of the visit to the US.  This letter should be written on department letterhead and address the activity and/or compensation for the activity.

Citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) do not need to apply for a visa to enter the US. as a tourist. Instead they can apply for an online travel authorization through the ESTA system before traveling to the US.

Individuals who enter the US on the basis of a B-visa are normally admitted for a period of six months. People who enter under the Visa Waiver Program are normally admitted for a period of 90 days.