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B-1/WB Business Visitors
Very often CSMC will invite a scholar, scientist, physicians, etc. to campus to give a lecture or participate in a seminar or colloquium. The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming temporarily to the United States generally for short term business. The B-2 visa is generally for pleasure or medical treatment. Visitors may use the B-1 visa for brief stays, usually less than three months, to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or to undertake independent research. The B visa is not appropriate for students, residents in training or long-term scholars coming to CSMC. For more information, please consult the B-1 Visitor Department Guidelines .
Please note: CSMC CANNOT pay an honorarium to an individual who holds H-1B, O-1, or TN status sponsored by other U.S. employers not CSMC.
Any visitor to CSMC in a "B" visa classification who is engaged in academic activities may be reimbursed or receive payment for service. The academic activity in which the visitor is engaged can last no longer than nine (9) days. In addition, the visitor cannot accept payment of expenses and/or honorarium from more than five U.S. institutions or organizations in the previous six months. If either of these conditions is exceeded the individual may NOT receive any honorarium or honorarium plus reimbursement for expenses.
What does the B visa classification include?
Status includes the following classifications: B-1 visitor for business, B-2 visitor for pleasure, WB (visa waiver for business) and WT (visa waiver for pleasure.) One of these notations will be written on the visitor’s I-94 arrival/departure record, the small card that is normally stapled to the passport or entry stamp in the visitor's passport.
How does a visitor acquire B status?
If the visitor does not already have a B visa stamp in his or her passport, he or she must apply for one at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, unless eligible for the visa waiver program. (For information about applying for a B-1 visa, check the Department of States Links to United States Embassies and Consulates Worldwide. In addition to the visa application form, the visitor should present to the consulate a letter of invitation outlining the terms of the proposed visit to CSMC.
Contact the VISA office to obtain the necessary B-1 Visa Sponsorship Request Form and invitation letter. A Fee Agreement must also be submitted with the B-1/WB request.
What option is there for bringing a short-term visitor who will be here more than nine days and who will receive an honorarium or other payment for services?
This visitor has the option to enter on the J-1 Status. To obtain this status, the hosting department must notify the VISA office well in advance of the visit. The VISA office will prepare an DS-2019 to be sent to the visitor who must take the form to a U.S Consulate or Embassy to apply for a J-1 visa. This status can be valid from 3 weeks to 5 years.
What about Canadian visitors?
Canadian citizens are exempt from the U.S. passport and visa requirements and may be in the U.S. without these documents and without an I-94 card. In this case, US immigration services considers them to have been admitted as visitors for pleasure or visitors for business. Since the Canadian visitor will not have an I-94, which states whether or not they are B-1 or B-2, the visitor must make his or her own declaration after arriving at CSMC. Canadian citizen visitors to CSMC should be advised to request an I-94 card from the U.S. CBP inspectors in order to facilitate the reimbursement of expenses and/or the payment of honoraria. However, if a Canadian citizen does not have an I-94, but has evidence of Canadian nationality and the purpose of his or her visit to CSMC, reimbursement or payment of honorarium can be made under the same provisions outlined above.
Do the same regulations apply to citizens of Mexico?
Not quite. A visa and a passport are not required of a Mexican national who is in possession of a border crossing card on Form I-186 or I-586 and is applying for admission as a temporary visitor for business or pleasure from a contiguous territory. Mexican citizens should be advised to request an I-94 card from the U.S. CBP inspectors in order to facilitate the reimbursement of expenses and/or the payment of honoraria. However, if a Mexican citizen does not have an I-94, but has a border-crossing card, it is up to the individual to declare his or her purpose in being in the U.S. With the border crossing card and evidence of the purpose of his or her visit to CSMC, reimbursement or payment of honorarium can be made under the same provisions outlined above.
What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business [visitor (B) visa purposes] for stays of 90 days or less (extension or change of status are not permitted) without obtaining a visa. VWP eligible travelers may apply for a visa, if they prefer to do so. Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. VWP travelers are screened prior to admission into the United States, and they are enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s US-VISIT program. Currently 36 countries participated in the VWP. Read the Visa Waiver Program Guidelines and visit the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program website for more information.