B-1 Visas

B-1 or WB visas are used for foreign national visitors invited by the University to engage in temporary academic, educational, or professional activities.  If the foreign national visitor is from an eligible country, he or she may be able to visit the U.S. without a visa, through the Visa Waiver Program.  B-1 visitors must demonstrate:

  • The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business that does not entail local employment or labor for hire;
  • He or she plans to remain for a specific, limited time period;
  • He or she has clear intent to maintain a residence outside the U.S., as well as other binding ties to their home country, which will ensure they leave the U.S. at the end of the visit; and
  • He or she has adequate financial arrangements to travel to, sojourn in, and depart from the U.S.

The B-1 visa category may be used by individuals who plan short visits to one or several campuses in the U.S.  However, it is not intended for individuals accepting any type of formal academic appointment term or longer.  Important Note:  If a department has any intent to offer gainful employment to an individual, please contact the Student and Foreign National Employment Manager in the Division of Human Resources' Office of Staffing Services at (336) 334-7862 to determine the appropriate visa status for the duration of the visit.


Standard uses for academic business include:

  • Professor/Lecturer/Speaker: Members of the academic profession coming to the United States to engage in usual activities, such as lecturing, may travel on a B-1 visa provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source other than expenses incidental to the visit.
  • Conference: Participants in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars to the United States on a B-1 visa.  The B-1 visa is also the appropriate visa classification to present a paper at a conference provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source other than expenses incidental to visit/stay.  Visitors receiving honorariums in addition to incidental expenses may still be eligible for the B-1 visa.
  • Researcher: A person traveling to the United States to engage in independent research will require a B-1 visa provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source and the results of the research will not benefit the American institution.
  • Consultative business activities: May travel on a B-1 visa provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source other than expenses incidental to the visit.

Length of Stay in the U.S.

B-1 visitors are admitted to the U.S. for the length of time which is deemed by U.S. port of entry officials to be fair and reasonable for completion of the purpose of the trip.  Generally this is a period of 6-months or less with the possibility of extension, but may not exceed one year.  Extension requests are not processed by the University.  If the visitor is eligible to request an extension inside the U.S., he or she must complete the required application procedures independently.


Those receiving honorariums may be eligible for the B-1 visa provided: 

  • The activities will last no longer than nine (9) days at a single institution;
  • The institution is a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization, or an institution of higher education, or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity;
  • Such activities are conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity, and
  • The researcher has not accepted such payment or expenses from five such institutions during the previous six month period

If the proposed activities are not exactly as described, an exchange visitor (J-1) or temporary worker (H-1) visa is required (Source: Section 431 of American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act).  Reimbursement for incidental expenses such as travel, lodging and/or meals, is allowed under immigration rules.  Visitors are not allowed to receive a salary or appointment, and may be subject to federal/state taxes as applicable for payment/reimbursement expenses.  For detailed information regarding non-resident taxation requirements, please contact the Accounts Payable Office in the Division of Business and Finance for further assistance and guidance.

Inviting a B-1 Visitor to the University  

In order to consider inviting a B-1 visitor to the University, the host department must ensure the visit supports eligibility guidelines for the purpose of trip, and determine if the visitor will receive an honorarium or reimbursement for incidental expenses.  If the visitor will receive an honoraria or reimbursement for incidental expenses, the host department must initiate the Authorization Request for Independent Contractual Services through the Purchasing Department in the Division of Business and Finance, and provide the following information to the Foreign National Employment Manager in the Division of Human Resources:

  • A copy of the Letter of Invite as outlined in the Sample B Visitor Letter; and
  • A summary of expenses and/or the honorarium to be paid

Sample B Visitor Letters should be drafted on departmental letterhead using one of the following template invitation letters, all of which contain appropriate wording to help U.S. consulates and embassies clearly understand the nature of the visit in order to support the request for the B visitor visa: 

  • Sample B Visitor Letter (no honorarium or incidental expenses)
  • Sample B Visitor Letter (possible honorarium or incidental expenses)

The completed invitation letter can then be sent to the visitor.  Upon receipt of the letter, the visitor must schedule a visa interview appointment at a U.S. consulate or embassy in his or her home country and present the visitor letter of invitation.  It is at the discretion of the U.S. consulate or embassy to grant a visa.  The visitor should also visit the U.S. Department of State website for full disclosure of documentation requirements and procedural guidelines governing the B-1/WB visa.  

When the Visitor Arrives at the University

The host department must ensure that upon entry, the visitor is in valid status to complete the activity/purpose of trip. Upon the visitor’s arrival, the visitor must provide the following documents to the host department must review:  

  • Completed original Foreign National Information Form;
  • Passport;
  • Visa; and
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure card (copy front/back): If the visitor entered using B-1, the I-94 card (small white card) should have “B-1” written on it.  If the visitor entered under the Visa Waiver Program, the I-94 card (small green card) should have “WB” written on it.

The host department must confirm the name on the I-94 card matches the name on the passport.  If the two documents do not match, contact the Student and Foreign National Employment Manager in the Office of Staffing Services at 336.334.7862.  If the visitor will receive payment for incidental expenses or an honorarium, the host department should submit all required documentation as instructed by the Accounts Payable Department in the Division of Business and Finance.

The information gathered at entry will need to be submitted to the Staffing Services office within 24 hours of entry; prior to departure of the visitor.  Failure to collect and submit the stated documentation will result in a delay to the release of any honorarium payments and reimbursement of expenses to the visitor (if applicable).