B-1/B-2 & Visa Waiver Visitors
- B-1 – Visitor visa for “Business”
- B-2 – Visitor visa for “Pleasure” (tourist)
- WB – Visitor for “Business”, visa requirement waived
- WT – Visitor for “Pleasure” (tourist), visa requirement waived
The B-1/B-2 visa and the Visa Waiver Program may be used by anyone entering the U.S. for short-term, temporary visits. They may be used for business, consultation, family or recreational purposes. At PSU these visa types are typically used by visiting delegations, guest lecturers (single event) or others who are “just visiting” the campus.
The B-1/B-2 visas and the Visa Waiver Program DO NOT ALLOW the following:
- Paid employment of any kind.
- Conducting research, except in cases where the research is strictly “independent” (e.g. book research in the library) and provides no benefit or relationship to the university. (J-1 is the appropriate visa for research.)
- Enrollment as a student.
Although these visa types strictly do not allow employment, educational institutions are allowed to pay academic visitors a standard “honorarium” and certain payments and reimbursements for reasonable and incidental expenses, but only under the following conditions:
- The visitor is performing an academic activity for the benefit of PSU.
- The activity is no more than nine (9) days in duration.
- The individual paid the honorarium or reimbursement has not accepted similar payments from more than five (5) institutions in the U.S. in the previous six (6) month period.
Honoraria and reimbursements are paid via a Personal Services Contract. For instructions, see NRA Help Sheet. You will also need to use the B-1/B-2 & Visa Waiver Visitor Declaration Form. Contact Louis Rodge, Contracts Officer (5-5044) in the Office of Business Affairs for detailed instructions on how payments must be processed.
If you have questions regarding the use of the B-1/B-2 visa or Visa Waiver Program, or payment of honoraria and reimbursements, contact an International Scholar and Faculty Adviser at ISSS (503-725-4094).
Inviting a Visitor to PSU
An invitation letter from the host department can be very helpful to a visitor applying for a B-1/B-2 visa, and for entry to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.
Sample Letter, if visitor will be paid honoraria or reimbursements.
For visitors not receiving honoraria or reimbursements, an invitation letter should include a description of the activity being performed at PSU and the dates of the activity. There should also be a statement that there will not be any honoraria or payments made to the visitor.
Entry Under B-1/B-2 Visa
Applicants for a B visa generally apply at the U.S. consulate that has jurisdiction over their place of residence. Applications should follow all instructions for the visa application as posted on the consulate’s web site. B visas are typically issued as a combined “B-1/B-2” visa and may be valid for the period of intended travel and up to ten years.
When entering the U.S. at the Port of Entry, B-1/B-2 visitors should clearly state their purpose of visit and be prepared to show evidence of those intentions (invitation letter, return airfare, etc.). Visitors who will receive honoraria from the university should declare the intention to receive an honoraria and request a B-1 immigration status.
B-1/B-2 visitors are usually allowed a stay in the U.S. for 90 – 180 days, although the length of stay is at the discretion of the inspecting immigration officer.
Entry Under Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. without obtaining an entry visa from a U.S. consulate. Those entering for business purposes are admitted in WB status (equivalent to B-1), and those entering for pleasure are admitted in WT status (equivalent to B-2).
Countries participating in the VWP are mostly in Western Europe, Australia/New Zealand, and Japan, S. Korea and Singapore. For a complete list of participating countries see http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html.
To enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program:
- All visitors traveling to the U.S. under the VWP must have an approved travel authorization from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.html. VWP visitors must complete the ESTA online form and receive authorization to travel before leaving for the U.S. It is recommended that ESTA applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. Travel authorization will be valid for two years or the validity of the current passport, whichever is less.
- Travel must be on an authorized air or sea carrier.
- Visitors must have a return ticket to a foreign destination, other than Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands (Caribbean).
- Visitors must have a machine readable passport.
- Land border entries from Canada and Mexico are permitted.
Visitors entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program will be admitted for a 90 day stay. Under VWP extensions of stay and change of status are not allowed.
Canadian visitors are visa exempt, and thus are not required to obtain an entry visa prior to arrival in the U.S. As a result, Canadians also to not need to use the Visa Waiver Program to enter the U.S. However, Canadian citizens are still required to declare their intent and purpose for entry to the U.S. and must obtain a properly processed I-94 Arrival/Departure document when going through customs and immigration control. Canadian citizens receiving an honorarium or reimbursement, must have the I-94 marked B-1 or B-2 or they cannot be paid.