Who Needs a Visa

Applying for an American visa to participate in an IJAS Conference

    The B is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the US temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2).

    B-1 visitors for “business”

    The B-1 visa permits persons to come to the US to engage in short-term, temporary professional activities related to their employment abroad; for example, consulting with peers, participating in conferences or seminars, lecturing or speaking, training, and independent research that provides no benefit to a US institution. B-1 visitors for business are admitted to the US for the period of time needed to complete the purpose of the trip. To show eligibility for B-1 or WB status, the applicant must provide to the US consular officer abroad and/or immigration officer at the port of entry evidence documenting the purpose of the trip (e.g., a copy of the conference letter of acceptance), intent to depart the US (copy of round-trip air ticket), and source and amount of funding.

    B-2 visitors for “pleasure”

    The B-2 visa permits persons to come to the US for activities of a recreational character. Cohabitating partners and extended family members (e.g., elderly parents) who are ineligible for derivative status on other visas (e.g., H-4, F-2, J-2) may qualify for a B-2 visa. B-2 visitors for pleasure are generally admitted for 6 months, regardless of whether the intended length of stay is shorter than 6 months. To show eligibility for B-2 or WT status, the applicant should be prepared to provide a “what, when and where” agenda. If the visitor is coming to visit a friend or relative in the US, a letter of invitation is expected from the inviting party. IJAS doesn't legally qualify as a friend or relative and can't be an inviting party. Additionally, the visitor will need to show evidence of funding, return transportation, and ties to the home country.


    There are specific requirements which must be met by applicants to qualify for a visitor visa under U.S. immigration law. The consular officer at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate will determine whether you qualify for the visa. The required presumption under U.S. law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant until they demonstrate otherwise. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating:

    • That the purpose of their trip is to enter the United States temporarily for business or pleasure;

    • That they plan to remain for a specific, limited period;

    • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States;

    • That they have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure their departure from the United States at the end of the visit.

    Applicants for visitor visas should generally apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where they live. It is important to apply for a visa well in advance of the travel departure date. Completing Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is the first step in the visa application process. After you have submitted Form DS- 160, print the confirmation page and take it to your interview. Next, pay the non-refundable visa application fee, if you are required to pay it before your interview. Then, make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you pay to apply for your visa. You can learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy-specific instructions, and much more by visiting the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will be applying at usembassy.gov. The wait time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing times for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate are available on travel.state.gov and on most U.S. Embassy or Consulate websites. During the visa application process, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be taken. Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. For information about required documentation and fees, please visit travel.state.gov.

    Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If your passport expires, you may use the valid visa for travel and admission to the United States along with your new valid passport containing the same biographic data. Do not remove the visa page; instead carry both passports together.

    Visa Waiver Program

    The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the US for business or tourism for 90 days without obtaining a B-1 or B-2 visa. Those entering for business purposes are admitted in WB status (equivalent to B-1) and those entering for purposes of pleasure are admitted in WT status (equivalent to B-2).

    Under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), nonimmigrant travellers must have an approved travel authorization from the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). To comply with ESTA, VWP travelers must provide electronically to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) the information previously collected on the I-94W Nonimmigrant Alien Arrival/Departure (Form I-94W) and receive authorization to travel before embarking to the United States.  Department of Homeland Security recommends that ESTA applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. Apply for travel authorization under ESTA here. Travel authorization under ESTA remains valid for the lesser of two years or the validity of your current passport.

    Procedures for entering the US in WB or WT status are the same as listed above for persons entering in B-1 or B-2 status, except that the requirement of obtaining a visa at a US consulate is waived. Additionally, they must have a return ticket to a foreign destination other than Canada or Mexico or adjacent islands, and have a machine-readable passport. Entry to the US at a land border from Canada or Mexico is permitted.

    Visa Waiver Program participating countries include Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (“United Kingdom” refers only to British citizens who have the unrestricted right of permanent abode in the UK).

    Visitors entering the US under the VWP are admitted for a period of 90 days. VWP entrants cannot apply for an extension of stay or change of status. If they wish to obtain another nonimmigrant status, they must exit the US and return with a visa in the desired category.