B-1 or W-B Temporary Visitors

people sitting at a lecture

Overview: B-1 Visitors

B-1 Visitor for Business is a visa classification that can be used by international visitors making a short visit to UC Davis.  B-1 visitors are not eligible for employment in the United States and are not eligible to apply for a Social Security Number.

Prospective international visitors may apply for a B-1 business visitor/B-2 tourist visa stamp at a U.S. consulate abroad and upon entry to the U.S., are assigned a B-1 Visitor for Business status. Their passport admission stamp will show “B-1” for their visa class and the date by which they have to leave the U.S. Their arrival and departure information will also be entered in an electronic I-94 record by the officer.

The B-1 Visitor for Business status may be appropriate for someone who is coming to the U.S. for a short period for business, but who is being paid from his/her home country.  Examples of appropriate uses for the B-1 visa include:

  • An individual coming for a conference or seminar;
  • An individual coming for an interview;
  • An individual coming to negotiate a contract;
  • An individual coming to participate in a short-term training program (excluding internships or activities that provide students with credits, benefit their program of study in any way or are a requirement by their home institution);
  • A scholar who will spend his/her leave at UC Davis conducting independent research (no direct benefit to UC Davis), and will receive no payment from UC Davis.

The initial maximum period of stay for a B-1 visa holder can be up to 6 months, although the individual could be admitted to the United States for less than six months.  The period of time for which a visitor may be admitted depends on the time requested, the proof of finances for that time period, and the discretion of the immigration officer at the US port-of-entry.  Extensions of the B-1 status may be granted for up to six months or less through application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by the B-1 Visitor for Business.

Payment for B-1 Visitors 

B-1s may not receive a salary from UCD.  However, they may be allowed to receive reimbursement in some cases.  Individuals admitted under a B-1 visa are allowed to receive reimbursement for travel and per diem expenses, up to a reasonable amount, for the period of time they are in the U.S. as a B-1 Visitor for Business.

Additionally, the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 contains a provision that allows payment of honoraria and associated incidental expenses to B-1 visa holders for "usual academic activity," provided that the services do not exceed nine days at a single institution. The payment must be offered by an institution of higher education, a nonprofit organization affiliated with an institution of higher education, or a nonprofit or a governmental research organization for services conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity. These B-1 visa holders cannot accept honoraria and/or incidental expenses from more than five such institutions or organizations in a six-month period. Please see the UCOP website for Honorarium Payments to B-1/B-2 Visa Holders.

Overview: W-B Visitors on the Visa Waiver Program

Visitors from countries participating in the visa waiver program (see list below) are eligible for the W-B Business Visitor status. In general, the same rules apply to the W-B as apply to the B-1.  However, a significant difference is that individuals requesting W-B status, who enter the U.S. without a B-1 visa stamp in their passport, can only stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 90 days and cannot extend their stay or change their status inside the U.S.  This means that an individual cannot come to the U.S. on a visa waiver with any uncertainty about their length of stay or the hope to change to another status.  Once granted W-B status, the individual could not extend or change their status and would be required to depart the United States by the date on the passport admission stamp.

Examples of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP): Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and The United Kingdom. For a complete list of countries eligible for the visa waiver program, please visit the website for the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Procedure for Inviting B-1 or W-B Visitors 

If you believe an international visitor invited to your department may qualify as a B-1 or WB business visitor, please follow the procedures below:

  1. The department issues an invitation letter (sample)
  2. If the visiting scholar will apply for a B-1 visa, he or she will need to take the invitation letter and proof of finances to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy responsible for his or her location.  The visitor will need to fill out Form DS-160, the online nonimmigrant visa application which can be found at the U.S. embassy’s website or at the U.S. Department of State website.  A visa application fee will also be required at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 
  3. If the visiting scholar will not apply for a visa because he or she can enter under the visa waiver program as a W-B and will not stay more than 90 days, the scholar will need to present the invitation letter and proof of finances at passport inspection at the US port-of-entry. The scholar should make sure that the passport admission stamp has a W-B annotation before leaving the passport inspection area.  A “W-T” is an annotation for “tourist” and will not allow the privileges described above, so it is important to get the correct annotation at passport inspection.
  4. After arrival the visiting scholar should also check their I-94 record (arrival and departure information) to ensure that the data matches the information on the passport admission stamp.  A visitor may print a paper-I-94 from this website, if necessary. If there are concerns, please contact SISS.
  5. The department should provide SISS with the following documentation within 10 days of the scholar’s arrival on campus:
    • The scholar’s e-mail address,
    • A copy of his or her passport ID page,
    • A copy of his or her passport admission stamp or I-94.

This can be sent to SISS by campus mail or faxed to 530-752-5822 with a cover sheet stating: B-1 or W-B Visiting Scholar-for your records. 

If there are further questions, please contact Simone Kueltz.