International Students and Scholars Office

B-1 Visitor and Visa Waiver Program (VWP) for Business

Individuals traveling to the United States to participate in professional conferences, conventions, and seminars, or to pursue independent research at Brandeis University may be eligible to utilize the Visa Waiver for Business or a B-1 Business Visitor visa. Employment, whether it's full-time or part-time, is not permitted, and individuals may not collect a salary or stipend. Avocational study is permitted but must be short-term and for recreational purposes. Please note that teaching is not an appropriate activity for the visa waiver (WB) or B-1 visa.

A researcher attempting to enter the U.S. as a business visitor can only be coming to do independent research. There can be no benefit to a U.S. institution. Any mention of collaborative research or a joint research project could result in the visitor being deemed ineligible for admission to the U.S. as a business visitor.

Visa Waiver for Business (WB)

Citizens and nationals from participating countries are eligible to enter the U.S. for a period of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. You will need to present a letter of invitation to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer. This letter should include the purpose of the visit, dates of the visit and include a statement that there will be no salary paid by Brandeis University. Upon entry, please be sure that the CBP officer has stamped your passport with the designation “WB.” Travel documents particular to WB:

B-1 Business Visitor

Scholars who are not eligible for a visa waiver may apply for a B-1 non-immigrant, visitor visa. Citizens of China must also enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System. The duration of a B-1 visa is not permitted to exceed 6 months. When you apply for a visa at the embassy or consulate, you will need to present an invitation from the Brandeis University department that you are visiting. This invitation should include the purpose of the visit, dates of the visit and that there will be no salary paid by Brandeis University.

Considerations for Artists, Dancers, Actors, Musicians, Filmmakers, or other Entertainers

Please note that an individual may enter the U.S. on a B-1 visa or through the VWP only if the individual is coming to the US for non-commercial purposes. Please visit the 9 FAM 402.2-5(G)(1) (U) Participants in Cultural Programs and 9 FAM 402.2-5(G) (U) Entertainers and Artists. The performer may enter the US on a B-1 or VWP if he/she/they:

  • Will come to the U.S. to participate in a cultural program sponsored by the sending country, not receiving any U.S. funding

  • Will perform for a non-paying audience

  • Have all expenses, including per diem, paid by the individual’s government

  • Will enter the U.S. for a competition for which they will receive no remuneration other than prize money (monetary or otherwise) and expense

Please consult the ISSO or an immigration attorney if your trip to the U.S. will involve activities other than those mentioned above.

Reimbursement of Travel Expenses

Brandeis University is permitted to reimburse visitors for travel expenses incidental to the visit. Reimbursement may be per diem or for individual expenses.

9 FAM 402.2-5(F)(1) (U) Incidental Expenses or Remuneration
(CT:VISA-1625; 09-08-2022)
(U) A nonimmigrant in B-1 status may not receive a salary from a U.S. source for services rendered in connection with their activities in the United States. A U.S. source, however, may provide the applicant with an expense allowance or reimbursement for expenses incidental to the temporary stay. Incidental expenses may not exceed the actual reasonable expenses the applicant will incur in traveling to and from the event, together with living expenses the applicant reasonably can be expected to incur for meals, lodging, laundry, and other basic services.


A scholar may be permitted to receive an honorarium payment for usual academic activities if the activity meets the following criteria:

  • The activity lasts no longer than 9 days, including weekends and holidays

  • The honorarium is for services for the benefit of Brandeis University

  • The visitor has not accepted such payments or expenses from more than 5 institutions over the past 6 months.

General Travel Tips

When traveling into the U.S. as a visitor, be sure to bring:

  • A passport that is valid for at least 6 months into the future

  • Visa (if applicable)

  • Enrollment in the Electronic Visa Update System (if you are a Chinese national)

  • Evidence that you plan to return to your home country (employment, family obligations, etc.

  • If you will receive an honorarium, it is recommended that you bring a printed version of the visa regulations relating to honorariums. There have been reports that Customs and Border Protection Officials are unfamiliar with the subtleties of this regulation below:

    • INA 212(q) [8 USC 1182(q)]: Any alien admitted under section 101(a)(15)(B) may accept an honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity or activities (lasting not longer than 9 days at any single institution), as defined by the Attorney General in consultation with the Secretary of Education, if such payment is offered by an institution or organization described in subsection (p)(1) and is made for services conducted for the benefit of that institution or entity and if the alien has not accepted such payment or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period.