Guide to Inviting International Visitors: B-1, B-2
General Guidelines for All Visitor statuses:
There are four variations for visitor status in the U.S., B-1, B-2, WB, and WT. Though each of the four vary slightly, the main intention of a visitor is to enter the U.S. to vacation, visit friends and family, observe procedures, attend conferences, etc.; all activities that are not intended to benefit UIC.
A visitor may not participate in any activity that could constitute work, whether paid or unpaid. As a general rule: If a U.S. worker could be paid for the activity/work, then the visitor should not be coming in a visitor status, but rather in a status that does allow for employment/payment. Please consult with OIS about such matters and/or refer to our Quick Guide to Hiring that explains the basics of common nonimmigrant statuses.
All international visitors who will be at UIC for more than a one week visit should report to our office for record-keeping purposes. We will ask to make copies of their immigration documents and for them to provide their contact information while visiting UIC.
Visitor Category Basics:
B-1 = Visitor for business:
- Meet with business associates
- Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars
- Undertake independent research
- Participate in a medical clerkship
Points to Consider:
- Admitted for the period of time necessary to accomplish the business purpose, not to exceed one year
- Reimbursement of incidental expenses only
- May receive “academic honoraria” payment
- Permitted to request an extension or change status
B-2 = Visitor for pleasure:
- Tourism, visit relatives or friends
- Medical reasons
- Participate in conventions or conferences of fraternal, social, or service organization
- “Prospective student”
Points to Consider:
- May not conduct independent research – use B-1!
- Reimbursements of incidental expenses only
- May receive “academic honoraria” payment
WB/WT = Visa Waiver Program:
If the visitor is from one of the participating countries of the Visa Waiver Program, please refer to our WB/WT information page. Waiver countries include most of Western Europe, Australia, Japan and a few others. The advantage of this status is that the person will be able to enter without needing to apply for a visa. The disadvantage is that the maximum stay is for 90 days without the possibility for extension.
Procedures to invite a B-1:
Before inviting an international visitor, the department must verify that all requirements have been met for the B-1 visa category. In order to facilitate this process, the department should: 1) review the B-1 Visa Checklist, which is available for download on the OIS website; and 2) consult with OIS to ensure all necessary documentation is collected and/or drafted.
- The international visitor is limited to a temporary stay of 90 days or less without extension.
- The purpose of the visit is solely for temporary commercial, business, or professional activities, such as attendance at conventions or conferences, or for professional consultation and observation of a specific and defined nature. The purpose of the visit should be documented in a B-1 Invitation Letter (see B-1 Visa Checklist for a template).
- The international visitor cannot be paid by the department or UIC, but may be reimbursed for nominal costs related to travel expenses and/or accommodations. Honoraria payments may be considered if the visit to UIC is not longer than nine days, and the visitor has not accepted honoraria from more than five institutions or organizations within a six-month period.
- The international visitor may not be given a formal academic appointment at UIC.
- The international visitor may not have any direct or indirect patient contact, or interact with research subjects in any manner.
- The international visitor may not attempt to obtain employment within the U.S., or attempt to change their status to J-1 or H-1B.
- The international may not volunteer or take part in departmental operation decisions, or be given an appointment at UIC.
- The international visitor may not conduct research using departmental equipment or resources unless there is direct supervision by the sponsor.
- The international visitor may not displace U.S. workers in any way.
International Visitor Requirements:
- The international visitor must have an institutional affiliation in his/her home country or country of permanent residence.
- The international must have adequate finances and health insurance to support himself/herself for their duration of stay in the U.S.
- The international visitor must abide by the intent of his/her visit throughout their stay in the U.S.
Reimbursements and Activity Limitations:
Entry in B-1 status allows the host to reimburse the international for expenses. Payment for services is allowed provided that the payment is for academic activities that last no longer than 9 days and that the visitor has not received payments from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous six months. Please see the Office of Business and Financial Services (OBFS) website and review the “Payments to Foreign Nationals” section, which is password-protected. You may also access general information about Taxes and Foreign Nationals from the main OBFS site, Taxes, Foreign Nationals section.
The OBFS site provides links to additional documents required for OBFS and Payroll, such as the “Tax Reporting” and “Withholding Checklist for Foreign National Reimbursements” form. Completion of these forms will be necessary before Payroll will allow payment to the individual. Additionally, the site contains links to Foreign Nationals Payment Eligibility Grid, Payments to Foreign National Employees, Payments to Foreign National Non-Employees, Travel and Expense Reimbursements, and Foreign National Tax Status Review Appointments, Nonresident Aliens vs. Resident Aliens, and How to Get a Temporary Control Number (TCN).
B-1 visitors can act as consultants for up to 9 days, but cannot legally accept teaching or research positions or other employment for which they are paid by a U.S. institution. Also, B-2s may not engage in independent research, they must enter as a B-1 (with “B-1″ marked on the I-94 Arrival/Departure card).