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B-1 or W-B Visitor Visa

The B non-immigrant classification allows foreign nationals to visit the United States. There are two B classifications:

  • B-1 is for visits of a professional or business nature.
  • B-2 is for visits of a personal nature (e.g., vacation, medical treatment, independent research).
Standard uses for B-1 (visitor for business) include:
  • Consulting with colleagues (e.g., co-PIs on a research project)
  • Participating in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars at or affiliated with W&M or VIMS
  • *Undertaking independent research which provides no direct benefit to W&M or VIMS
  • Coming to W&M or VIMS to give a short series of lectures
* The Department of State strongly recommends that any visitor to a U.S. academic institution who engages in a collaborative activity or research, and whose activity will benefit the hosting institution be sponsored for a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.
Process to sponsor a visitor for a B-1 visa

1.   Issue an invitation letter to the visitor.

 2.  The visitor will use that letter to apply for a visa at the US embassy/consulate  and present to the immigration officer when entering the US.

W-B Visitors on the Visa Waiver Program

Visitors from countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program are eligible for the W-B Business Visitor status. Visitors may stay in the US  for up to 90 days, without applying for a B visa at a US embassy.

To participate in this program:

  1. The visitor must register with ESTA in advance of their travel to the US. 
  2. They will also need an invitation letter from their W&M or VIMS department (see templates above) for the visitor to present when they enter the US.
  • There are no visa sponsorship fees that the university must pay for these types of visitors.
  • When the visitor goes to the US embassy/consulate for the B visa appointment, the visitor must pay a visa application fee
  • If they are eligible and apply for the Visa Waiver Program instead, they must pay $14 ($4 processing, $10 authorization, if approved) through ESTA.
Payments to B-1 and W-B visitors
  • Reimbursement for travel, accommodation, and meals is allowed.
  • Honoraria payments are allowed provided that the following criteria are met:
    • It is for an academic activity (e.g., lecture(s), consultation, etc.) conducted for the benefit of W&M or VIMS.
    • The activity at W&M or VIMS does not last more than 9 days.
    • The individual has not received such payments from more than five US institutions in the last six months.
  • Please also review the university's Honorarium Policy.
  • Contact the [[payofc, Payroll Office]] to initiate the payment process. Up to 30% of the payment made to the foreign national may be withheld for federal taxes.
Jefferson Lab
  • If the visitor will be placed at Jefferson Lab, you will need to get clearance for them from Sue Ewing.