B-1 Business and Visa Waiver Program

B-1/B-2 Status

The B-1/B-2 visa allows visitors to enter the United States as non-immigrants for up to six months for business or pleasure, with the possibility to extend the status for an additional six months.

Visitors entering in this status cannot engage in employment in the U.S. nor enroll in an academic study program. The U.S. Department of State expressly indicates that the B-1 may be used for "independent" research.

Visitors in this status are permitted to change to another non-immigrant classification, provided they had no preconceived intent to do this prior to their entry in B status (or, if so, disclosed this intent to U.S. officials prior to their entry in B status).

  • B-1 status (Visitor for Business). An international visitor entering in B-1 status holds a permanent residence in a foreign country that he/she has no intention of abandoning, and who is visiting the U.S. temporarily for business, such as consulting with business associates; participating in scientific, educational, or professional conventions, conferences, or seminars; or undertaking independent research. These must all be short-term, non-salaried academic activities. 

    Persons in B-1 status may be reimbursed for reasonable business costs from UC Santa Cruz (e.g., inviting an expert speaker to a conference) if the activity on campus lasts no longer than nine days from beginning to end of their activity. For example, the individual can be granted an honorarium, provided that he or she will receive an honoraria from no more than five institutions during their stay in the U.S. The department's letter of invitation should indicate the types of activity that will be pursued, and these activities should correspond to those indicated as acceptable for the B-1 classification by the U.S. Dept. of State (see http://travel.state.gov/pdf/BusinessVisa.pdf).

    If activities do not conform to the B-1 classification U.S. Dept. of State may require a different visa, such as a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.  If a J-1 visa is more appropriate the host department will need to go through the J-1 request procedure. The Department of State has made clear that any visitor to a U.S. academic institution who engages in a collaborative activity or research, and whose activity will benefit the hosting institution should be sponsored for a J-1 visa.

  • B-2 status (Visitor for Pleasure). An international visitor entering in B-2 status has recreational intent, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, and activities of a social nature. In ALL cases, we recommend that departments invite visitors in B-1 rather than B-2 status.

WB Visa Waiver Program

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to enter the United States as non-immigrants for up to 90 days for business or pleasure.

Visitors entering on the Visa Waiver Program cannot engage in employment in the U.S. nor enroll in an academic study program. The U.S. Department of State expressly indicates that the B-1 and, by extension, the WB, may be used for "independent" research. Visitors in this status are not permitted to change to another visa category within the U.S., nor are they allowed to extend their stay beyond the 90-day period of admission.
  • WB status (Visitor for Business). An international visitor entering in WB status holds a permanent residence in a foreign country that he/she has no intention of abandoning, and who is visiting the U.S. temporarily for business, such as consulting with business associates; participating in scientific, educational, or professional conventions, conferences, or seminars; or undertaking independent research. These must all be short-term, non-salaried academic activities. 

    Persons in WB status may be reimbursed for reasonable business costs if their activity on campus lasts no longer than nine days from beginning to end of their activity; can be granted an honorarium, provided that they will be granted honoraria from no more than five institutions during their stay in the U.S. The department's letter of invitation should indicate the types of activity that will be pursued, and these activities should correspond to those indicated as acceptable for the WB classification by the U.S. Dept. of State (see https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html).  

    If activities do not conform to the WB classification U.S. Dept. of State may require a different visa, such as a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. 
  • WT status (Visitor for Pleasure). An international visitor entering in WT visa status has recreational intent, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, and activities of a social nature.

Click here for Visa Waiver Program countries. Eligible travelers who wish to travel to United States under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization via the Department of Homeland Security's  Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). For more information about the Visa Waiver Program or ESTA visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.