B1 Visas are issued to individuals granted entry into the US for very limited times to conduct their own business. An individual can do his/her own research and can receive some reimbursements or honoraria, but these situations are extremely limited. Regulations governing B-1s are found in the Foreign Affairs Manual 9FAM 41.31
Note: B-1 visas are not employment visas.
Application processThe hosting Department in NC State University must write an invitation letter stating that they wish to invite _______ to the United States to observe______. The letter must:
- Be specific regarding all activities and
- Divulge all activities.
- Sample Invitation Letter
The Applicant must take the letter from NC State to the US Consulate abroad and present it. The Consular Officer has discretion to approve or deny, based on whether
- Duties conform to B-1 regulations and
- The Consular Officer is convinced that applicant will return to his/her home country.
The Applicant must
- Be a Temporary Visitor for business
- Have residence in foreign country that he/she does not intend to abandon
- Seek admission to US for sole purpose of engaging in legitimate activities related to business
- Convince the Consular Officer that there is a time limit, and the period of time projected for visit must be 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 US source, although he/she may receive expense allowance or reimbursement for expenses incidental to temporary stay
- 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 is NOT allowed to do regular work or labor for NC State.
Permissible activities on B-1 visa include
- Commercial transactions
- Contract negotiation
- Consultation with business associates
- Participation in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences or seminars
- Undertaking independent research that benefits the B-1 holder, not the sponsoring institution (NC State) (e.g., he/she can research in the NC State library to prepare dissertation, but cannot work in NC State labs doing work that NC State would normally have to hire someone to do).