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Visitor Visas for Business and Pleasure (B-1/B-2)

B Visa Classification

The B visa classification is used for visitors who will enter the United States for a short period of time, generally no longer than six months. B visa classification is appropriate where the proposed stay is for a short period of time and does not involve productive employment. B visa status includes the B-1 visitor for business and the B-2 visitor for pleasure. The B-1 category is for visitors coming for short-term business, academic activities such as lectures and conferences, and certain foreign medical students participating in an unpaid elective at a U.S. medical school. The B-2 is for visitors coming to the United States for pleasure or medical treatment. The B-2 category may also be used by domestic partners who are accompanying a principal visa holder but who are not eligible for a dependent visa.

The B category is not appropriate for students or long-term scholars coming to Dartmouth, or for anyone who will engage in productive employment at Dartmouth. Applicants for B visas must make an application to a U.S. Consulate abroad and be prepared to present evidence of the planned U.S. activities, as well as ties to the home country and an intent to return.

Visa Waiver Program

Nationals of certain countries are not required to obtain a B visa stamp, and are instead eligible to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Admission under the Visa Waiver Program is for up to 90 days, and there is no ability to extend the stay or change to another status while in the United States. The same restrictions on the scope of permissible B-1 and B-2 activity apply to Visa Waiver travelers.

To determine whether the visitor is from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program see the Department of State website at For information regarding the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) application process for Visa Waiver travelers, please see the Custom and Border Patrol Agency website at

Eligibility for B-1 Classification and the Visa Application for International Visitors Coming to Dartmouth

To be eligible for B-1 Visitor for Business Classification, you must be able to satisfy certain criteria, including:

  • Having a residence in a foreign country
  • Having an intention to enter the U.S. for a period of limited duration (your stay cannot exceed 90 days under the Visa Waiver Program)
  • Seeking admission solely to engage in legitimate business activities, including participation in academic, professional, scientific or business conferences, seminars or conventions, and consultation with business associates. The B-1 classification does not permit employment in the United States.

Visitors applying for B visas may be asked to provide evidence of ties to their home country or country of last residence in order to establish an intent to return. Such evidence includes, but is not limited to, a residence (evidenced by deed or lease), employment (letter of employment verification from employer), bank and credit card accounts, and the presence of immediate family members in the country.

If the visitor is coming to engage in academic activities at Dartmouth, he or she should also present the letter of invitation from Dartmouth, both during the Consular visa interview and again to the Customs and Border Protection agent at the port-of-entry when entering the United States.

Payment for Activities

Visitors admitted to the United States as B-1 Visitors for Business may not receive a salary from Dartmouth in connection with their activities here, but they may receive an honorarium and/or an allowance or reimbursement of expenses incidental to the period of stay if offered by the inviting school or department. Immigration law permits payment of an honorarium when the activities at Dartmouth and for the benefit of Dartmouth do not exceed nine (9) days, as long as the visitor has not accepted honorarium and/or payment of expenses from more than five U.S. institutions in the last six months .

Visitors in B-1 status who are not receiving an honorarium do not have a limit on the number of days they may they may be reimbursed for expenses during their stay, up to the date of expiration of their Form I-94.

For sample invitation letters, please contact OVIS at or (603) 646-3474.

Visiting Foreign Medical Students

Foreign nationals enrolled in a medical school abroad should use the B-1 category to enter the United States temporarily in order to take an elective clerkship at a U.S. medical school. The clerkship must be without remuneration. The clerkship must be under the supervision and direction of medical school faculty physicians and an approved part of the student's foreign medical school education. It does not apply to graduate medical training.   For information about elective clerkships for foreign medical students please contact the Office of Student Affairs at the Geisel School of Medicine.

Last Updated: 11/20/15