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B-1/B-2 Short Term Visitors

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The B nonimmigrant category is intended for temporary visits to the U.S. for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). It is recommended that foreign visitors coming to ASU specifically to participate in short-term academic activities do so in the B-1, Visitor for Business category.

The B-1 category may be appropriate for foreign scholars wishing to visit ASU for short periods of time to engage in professional activities, as long as those activities do not constitute employment. Appropriate activities include:

  • consultation with professional associates

  • participation in scientific, educational or professional conventions or seminars

  • independent research

The B-2 category is intended for those coming to the U.S. as tourists. Appropriate activities include travel and tourism.

Admission Period

The admission period for visitors in the B-1 category is based on the amount of time needed to accomplish the purpose of the visit. Although the initial maximum admission period is one year, B-1 visitors are usually admitted for 6 months or less. The standard admission period for visitors in the B-2 category is six months. B-1/B-2 visitors may request extensions of stay by filing form I-539 and supporting documentation with USCIS.

Getting a Visa

To obtain a visa and admission to the U.S. the visiting scholar must demonstrate eligibility for B-1 status. This includes evidence of the purpose of the trip, intent to depart the U.S., and financial support during their stay in the U.S.

The letter of invitation is used to indicate the purpose of the trip. Visiting scholars who will apply for the B-1 visa should submit the letter of invitation to the appropriate consulate/embassy along with the other required forms (DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158). Those entering without a visa (WB and Canadians) will present their letter of invitation to the immigration inspector at the Port of Entry.

Upon admission the visitor will be given Form I-94, Record of Arrival/Departure. This is the visitor’s evidence of legal entry to the U.S. The form will be stamped B-1 or WB and will have a date written below it, which is the end date of the B-1/WB status.

Admission Without a Visa

The U.S. provides for two exceptions to the requirement for a visa. One is for citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows citizens of participating countries admission for business (WB) or tourism (WT) for up to 90 days without a visa. The same rules apply to those entering with a visa or on the VWP, except that those in WB or WT status cannot extend their stay or change status within the U.S.

The following countries are participants with the U.S. in the VWP: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The other visa exemption applies to Canadian citizens who are not required to obtain a visa for admission in any immigration (visa) category.


Visitors in the B-1/B-2 classification are not permitted to engage in any form of employment in the U.S. They are allowed to receive reimbursements and honoraria under certain conditions. Information on reimbursements and honoraria is available from ASU Financial Services.

ASU Departmental Procedures

The following steps are suggested for departments intending to invite B-1 visitors:

  1. Contact the International Students and Scholar Center (ISSC) if you have any questions regarding whether or not the B-1/WB category is the most appropriate.

  2. Contact Financial Services if your department intends to pay the visitor an honorarium or reimbursement of expenses.

Issue an invitation letter which includes the following information: purpose of the visit, dates of the visit, funding information, any other pertinent information, such as the provision of office space or library privileges.