Note: Please email the OIE before relying on this visa category because we have heard reports of scholars being denied entry to the US. It appears that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is closely scrutinizing these applicants.
This B visa (B-1, B-2, WB or WT) may be appropriate for short-term visits of 3 months or less in which the visitor will not be paid (except for an honorarium and/or reimbursement of expenses; see rules below) nor have an academic appointment. These visitors are often coming to attend a conference or workshop or to participate in independent research. In the case of visitors conducting research, if the research provides any benefit to the University of Vermont, this is not an appropriate category. This category is not appropriate for musicians or athletes.
Departments should send a written invitation letter which the scholar will need to take to the US consulate when he/she interviews for the B visa. See this B visa sample invitation letter (.doc) as an example of what the scholar needs.
Honorarium payments and/or reimbursement of expenses are subject to specific rules.
In addition to a nine-day time limit, the scholar must not have accepted payment of expenses and/or honorarium from more than five US institutions or organizations in the previous six months. If any of these conditions is exceeded the individual may NOT receive any honorarium nor honorarium plus reimbursement for expenses.
The UVM business processes for honorarium payments and/or reimbursement of expenses is outlined on the website of UVM Tax Services. In particular, see the following:
Documents Required to Enter the US
The hosting department should send a letter of invitation outlining the details of the visit including mention of payment of an honorarium and/or reimbursement of expenses. If the visitor does not have a B1/B2 visa stamp in his or her passport, he or she must take this letter to a US consulate and apply for a visa.
Visa Waiver Program - WB (Business) & WT (Tourist)
Individuals eligible to enter the US under the visa waiver program do not require visas and do not have to visit a US consulate or embassy. However, before departing for the US, all visa waiver participants MUST pre-register using a system called ESTA. The WB/WT statuses carry the same conditions of the B-1 and B-2 categories. The WB or WT holder may stay in the US up to a maximum of 90 days and cannot extend their program from within the country.
As above for B-1/B-2 visa holders, holders of WB or WT status may be paid an honorarium and or be reimbursed for travel expenses. The countries that participate in the visa waiver program are listed on the State Department website.
Still have questions? Contact us at InternationalScholars@uvm.edu or 802-656-4296.