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B-1/B-2 Visitor Visa Sponsorship

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
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.

Visa Waiver Option

Some countries are part of the Visa Waiver Program, which permits their citizens to travel to the US as visitors, 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 of $160. 
  • If they apply for the Visa Waiver Program instead they must pay $14 ($4 processing, $10 authorization, if approved) through ESTA.
Payments to B-1 and B-2 visitors, and Visa Waiver 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.) at 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 5 US institutions in the last 6 months.
  • There is no maximum honorarium amount.
  • 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.