B Visitors and Visa Waiver Program-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

B Visitors and Visa Waiver Program

The B non-immigrant category permits temporary entry to the U.S. for business (B-1 visa) or for pleasure (B-2 visa.) As a general rule, the B visitor category is not intended for employment. However, there are some allowances for reimbursement of "reasonable" expenses and for honorarium paid to individuals who will be at an academic institution for 9 days or less and have not been paid by more than 5 institutions in the previous 6 month period. Individuals may discuss this option with the sponsoring department.

Warning: Individuals who will be paid and do not already have the US social security number should contact the sponsoring department to discuss this issue before arriving in the US. A visitor in B status is unable to obtain a US social security number while in B status. Generally, this identification number is required for all persons who will be paid in the US. The lack of such number can delay or prohibit payment.

Individuals from some countries (Western European nations as well as Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and several others) who meet certain criteria (including a machine readable passport) may enter the U.S. for brief visits without applying for a B visitors visa in advance at a U.S. consulate/embassy. This is called the "visa waiver program." People admitted to the U.S. for business are admitted in "WB" status and those admitted for pleasure are admitted in "WT" status. For more information on the visa waiver program, visit the Department of State website.

The same rules for the "B" visitor visa (above) regarding work and compensation apply to those individuals admitted in WB or WT status. The rules are not well tested in law and may change as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) moves forward to regulate this area.

Important: persons who enter under the visa waiver program may not extend or change status from within the US.

Last Updated On: January 10, 2017