Short-term visitors - B-1/B-2 and W-B/WT Visitors

Most foreign short-term visitors and conference participants will be entering the United States in business or tourist status with a “temporary visitor” status (B-1/WB (business) or B-2/WT (tourist) status).

This page includes:

Conference information and/or invitation letters will be required for this visa application and will be issued by the hosting unit. Invitations should include specifics about the dates, location, and purpose of the visit and about who will be paying travel and expenses and any honoraria.

Overview of Temporary Visitor Status

  B-1/B2 Visa WB/WT - ESTA
Status Sponsor Visitor petitioned Visitor petitioned
Status authorized and regulated by Department of State and Customs and Border Protection Department of State and Customs and Border Protection
Confirmation of approval Visa stamp in passport System displays confirmation of application approval and payment receipt notice
Application process Complete DS-160 and schedule a visa appointment at the nearest U.S. consulate abroad Complete the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application. If not approved, applicant may apply for a B1/B2 visa stamp.
Fees $160 $21
Length of Authorization
  • Visa stamp valid up to 10 years
  • Multiple entry
  • Maximum stay is up to six months, as approved by CBP
  • Status valid up to two years from approval date
  • Multiple entry
  • Maximum stay is 90 days, as approved by CBP
Short-term activities on campus
  • Independent Research
  • Conferences and Seminars
  • Short-term training
  • Negotiate a contract
  • Independent Research
  • Conferences and Seminars
  • Short-term training
  • Negotiate a contract
Education Level No education requirement No education requirement
Eligibility Any foreign national with a passport Visitors from 38 countries on the Visa Waiver Program list
Appointment source Invitation letter from department Invitation letter from department

If any short-term visitor is already in the U.S., ask what immigration status they have. A copy of their most recent I-94 record will confirm that information. Be aware that persons already in the U.S. may have a visa type that prevents them being paid an honorarium.

B-1/B-2/WB/WT Instructions for Departments

ISSA is the point of contact for academic units considering an invitation for a short-term visitor and will confirm whether the B-1/W-B status is appropriate, but the academic unit is responsible for issuing the invitation letter.

Submit the Immigration Request Form

The process is initiated by the department with completion of the Immigration Request Form. This will allow ISSA to review the information provided and determine whether the visitor is eligible for B–1/W-B status.

As a general planning guide, visitors should apply for a visa stamp at least 60 days in advance of their expected travel date, and we encourage academic units to submit the IRF at least 75 days in advance of that date.

If the conference is scientific in nature, or the applicant has a scientific background, the visa application should be made no later than 90 days in advance of the travel date; in this case, the IRF should be submitted at least 110 days in advance.

Confirm Eligibility for Honorarium or Reimbursement, if applicable

Review the guidelines for distributing honorariums or expense reimbursement below.

Issue an Invitation Letter

Once a recommendation email is received from ISSA, you can proceed by issuing the invitation letter on department letterhead. Within the letter, please provide the following:

  • Specifics about the dates and location
  • Explanation of the purpose of the visit
  • Explanation of who will be paying travel and expenses
  • Explanation of any honoraria, if applicable
Visitor applies for visa or completes ESTA application

Visitors will need to schedule an appointment at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad as a first step in the visa application process. Wait times vary widely by embassy and time of year.

In cases in which appointments are not available until after the applicant’s intended visit, the visitor will need to schedule the earliest appointment available and then contact the embassy with their request for an expedited appointment. The invitation letter will serve as evidence of the urgency of their request.

Visitor enters U.S. and prints I-94 record

Customs and Border Patrol will admit the visitor in B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status, which will create their most recent I-94 record online. The visitor should print off this record, ensuring it reflects the date of their most recent entry.

Department collects the visitor’s I-94 record and signed Compliance Statement, if applicable

This step is essential if the University is paying the visitor any honorarium or reimbursing expenses. Payment will not be made until these documents are submitted to Accounts Payable and the correct immigration status is confirmed. For information on making payments to foreign visitors, see the Office of the Controller website.

Remind visitor to submit the ISSA Check-in form upon arrival, if applicable

This is particularly important for those visitors staying longer than nine days and/or who have access to students and/or research.

Payment of Honoraria and/or Reimbursement of Incidental Expenses

The University may pay honoraria to visitors in B1, B2, WB or WT status and reimburse incidental expenses to visitors in B2 or WT status UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, but individuals in the U.S. with this status may not be employed and may not receive a salary.

In order for an individual in B1, B2, WB or WT status to be eligible to be paid an honorarium or for an individual in B2 or WT status to be reimbursed for incidental expenses, they must meet both of the following requirements:

  • Their stay on our campus must last nine (9) days or less.
  • They must not have accepted payment from more than five (5) U.S. institutions or organizations in the six (6) month period preceding their visit to Notre Dame.

If both requirements are not met, no honorarium payment may be made under law to travelers in B1, B2, WB or WT status. Similarly, no expense reimbursement may be made to those in B2 or WT status. You should determine which immigration status is appropriate prior to the visitor coming to the University. We suggest that you check with the visitor in advance of their visit to verify that they will meet the two requirements as set out in the Compliance Statement (link) so you can be sure that they qualify for payment of an honorarium in B1, B2, WB or WT status or reimbursement of expenses in B2 or WT status.

In order for visitors in B1, B2, WB or WT status to be eligible for payment of an honorarium or for visitors in B2 or WT status to be eligible for reimbursement of expenses, they will need to submit both:

  • A signed copy of the Compliance Statement verifying that they meet the above-listed requirements.
  • A copy of their I-94 record

The academic unit will include both documents with payment requests. If the signed Compliance Statement and the copy of the I-94 record are not submitted with the payment request, no honorarium or expense reimbursement will be processed.

Visitors in B1 or WB status will be eligible for reimbursement of associated incidental expenses even if they will be at Notre Dame for more than nine (9) days and/or have accepted payment from more than five (5) U.S. institutions in the previous six (6) months. They do not need to sign a Compliance Statement to be eligible for reimbursement of expenses.

Canadians: Canadian citizens entering as B1 or B2 visitors may not be issued an I-94 record unless they specifically request it. If a Canadian does not receive an I-94 record, they will be considered to be in B status and the rules for payments to those in B1 or B2 status will apply.

In summary, honorariums can be paid and incidental expenses (travel, meals, lodging) can be reimbursed as follows:

  9 days or less at Notre Dame and not accepted payments from more than 5 U.S. entities in the previous 6 months 10 days or longer at Notre Dame and/or payment by more than 5 U.S. entities in the previous 6 months
B1 (Business Visitor)
  • honorarium permitted
  • expense reimbursement permitted
  • no honorarium permitted
  • expense reimbursement permitted
WB (Waiver Business)
  • honorarium permitted
  • expense reimbursement permitted
  • no honorarium permitted
  • expense reimbursement permitted
B2 (Tourist)
  • honorarium permitted
  • expense reimbursement permitted
  • no honorarium permitted
  • no expense reimbursement permitted
WT (Waiver Tourist)
  • honorarium permitted
  • expense reimbursement permitted
  • no honorarium permitted
  • no expense reimbursement permitted

Please keep in mind that the University may not issue payments if these requirements are not met, since it would violate immigration law and result in potential penalties to both the University and the visitor. 

Should you have any questions concerning visa issues, please contact ISSA at (574) 631-1138.