Skip to main content
B-1/B-2 Short-term visitors

B-1/B-2 Short-term visitors

B-1/B-2 Short-term visitors

The B nonimmigrant category is intended for temporary visits to the U.S. for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). It is recommended to foreign visitors coming to Arizona State University specifically to participate in short-term academic activities such as:

  • Consultation with professional associates.
  • Participation in scientific, educational or professional conventions or seminars.
  • Independent research.

B-1 (Business)

  • Usually admitted for six months or less, with no salary.
  • Consult with business associates.
  • Attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference.
  • Settle an estate.
  • Negotiate a contract.

B-2 (Pleasure)

  • Tourism.
  • Vacation (holiday).
  • Visit with friends or relatives.
  • Medical treatment.
  • Participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social or service organizations.
  • Participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating.
  • Enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation).

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 six 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 United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Please note: For stays longer than 90 days, or visits that require research, a different visa category should be considered.

To obtain a visa and admission to the U.S., the visiting scholar must demonstrate eligibility with 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 and should be submitted to the appropriate consulate or embassy along with the other required forms (DS-156, DS-157 and DS-158). 

Those entering without a visa (Visa Waiver Program and Canadians) will present their letter of invitation to the immigration inspector at the port of entry. Upon admission, the visitor will be given a 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.

 Please view the U.S. Department of State website for more information on visitor visas. 

In general, visa applications must include:

  • DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application confirmation page.
    • Each individual who needs a visa must submit a separate application, including any family members listed in your passport.
  • Visa interview appointment confirmation page.
  • Proof of payment of visa fees.
  • Passport-style photo(s) that meet Department of State nonimmigrant visa photo requirements.
  • Valid passport.
  • Any other documents required by the specific U.S. embassy or consulate.

Admission without a visa

The U.S. provides for two exceptions to the requirement for a visa. The first exception is for citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens of participating countries admission for business (WB) or tourism (WT) for up to 90 days without a visa

Those in WB or WT status cannot extend their stay or change status within the U.S. WB/WT status allows citizens of a limited number of countries to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a B-1 visa under the Visa Waiver Program.

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

Departmental procedures

If you have questions regarding whether the B-1 or WB category is appropriate, please contact

Issue an invitation letter to the individual, 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.


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. 

If your department intends to pay the visitor an honorarium or reimbursement of expenses, please contact ASU Financial Services.