B-1 (and Visa Waiver) Visitor Status

B-1 visas are issued to individuals granted entry into the U.S. for a limited timeframe to conduct business or research for their own benefit. Individuals entering on B visas or in Visa Waiver status can receive some reimbursements or honoraria from U.S. sources, but these situations are extremely limited.

Note: B-1 or Visa Waiver visitors are not entering the U.S. in employment statuses, and visitors in B-1 or Visa Waiver status may not perform professional services for compensation from a U.S. source. NC State University is NOT the “sponsor” of visitors coming to campus in Visa Waiver or B-1 status.

Visa Waiver Program information

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows most citizens or nationals of specific countries to travel to the U.S. for business or tourism for up to 90 days without obtaining a B visa stamp. All travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) registration that has been approved by the U.S. prior to traveling. If a visitor from one of the specifically designated VWP countries will stay in the U.S. for longer than 90 days or prefers to have a visa stamped in the passport, the visitor may still apply for a B visa stamp. More information about the program, the ESTA registration and a list of participating countries is available at this U.S. Department of State website.

B-1 Visa Application process

The hosting entity within NC State University may write an invitation letter stating that it wishes to invite the individual to the United States to observe our procedures or use our equipment for his/her own purposes. The letter must:

The B-1 visa applicant may take the letter from NC State to the U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad and present it to the Consular Officer. The Officer has discretion to approve or deny the application, based on whether:

  • Duties conform to B-1 regulations, and
  • The Consular Officer is convinced that applicant will return to the home country.

The B-1 visa applicant must:

  • Be a Temporary Visitor for business (same is true for a Visa Waiver visitor to NC State)
  • Have residence in foreign country that they do not intend to abandon (same is true for a Visa Waiver visitor to NC State)
  • Seek admission to U.S. for sole purpose of engaging in legitimate activities related to business or research¬†(same is true for a Visa Waiver visitor to NC State)
  • Convince the Consular Officer that the period of time projected for visit is consistent with stated purpose of trip
  • Demonstrate to Consular Officer that he/she will return to home country (show permanent employment in the home country, business or financial connections, close family ties, etc.)
  • Not receive a salary from a U.S. source, although they may receive expense allowance or reimbursement for expenses incidental to temporary stay (same is true for a Visa Waiver visitor to NC State)
  • Honorarium payments for lecturing or guest teaching are possible, but these activities cannot last longer than 9 days at any single institution or organization, and the B-1 visa holder must not accept such payments from more than 5 institutions within a 6 month period.

Note: A B-1 holder (or person admitted via the VWP) is NOT allowed to work or perform professional services for NC State.

Permissible activities on the VWP or B-1 visa include:

  • Participation in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences or seminars
  • Undertaking independent research that benefits the B-1 holder/Visa Waiver visitor, not the sponsoring institution (NC State) (e.g., the visitor can research in the NC State library to prepare dissertation, but cannot work in NC State labs doing work that NC State would normally hire someone to do).
  • Commercial transactions
  • Contract negotiation
  • Consultation with business associates
  • Litigation