The B-1 visa is for a visitor coming temporarily to the United States generally for short business. The B-2 visa is generally for pleasure or medical treatment. Visitors may use the B-1 visa for brief stays, usually less than six months, to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars. The B visa is not appropriate for students or long-term scholars coming to the University of Kansas.
If a department at KU wishes to invite someone using the B-1 visa category, the department will need to write an invitation letter. International Support Services will be happy to review the letter.
Visa Waiver Program
Citizens of a limited number of countries are permitted to visit the United States up to 90 days without a B-1/B-2 visa under the Visa Waiver Program, also known as ESTA travel. Visitors entering for business purposes are admitted in WB status and visitors entering for pleasure are admitted in WT status.
The B-1/B-2 and WB/WT categories are very similar but they do have some important differences. Visitors admitted in WB/WT status cannot extend their permission to remain in the United States beyond 90 days and they cannot apply for a change of status.
They must fulfill certain passport requirements and pre-screeening requirements. Individuals visiting the United States under the Visa Waiver Program will need pre-clearance authorization called ESTA prior to traveling. They must present evidence of ESTA approval at the port of entry to the United States. Please be sure to print out the approval when applying for ESTA.
Employment is not permitted on the B visa. However, a B-1 visitor may be given reimbursement for travel and living expenses. A B-1 visitor may be paid an honorarium for "usual academic activities" as long as the academic activity does not last longer than nine days at any institution and the visitor may not have accepted similar payments from more than five institutions during the previous six months.
Obtaining a B visa
Individuals should contact the U.S. embassy or consulate in their country for instructions on the visa application process and processing times. There is no visa document specific to the B visa, but applicants must show the purpose of the visit to the United States. If a KU department is inviting the B visitor on official business, the letter should cover the following points:
- the nature of the visit is temporary
- the individual will not be a salaried employee
- the individual has their own funding (name source)
- the individual's position/occupation in their home country
- the individual will have return passage
Employers are required to withhold 30% of the honorarium payment for tax purposes. B visitors are not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number or an Individual Tax Identification Number.