B1/B2 Visa and Visa Waiver Program

What is B1/B2 visa?

The B-1 visa is for business, and the B-2 is for tourism. Visitors can apply for a B1/B2 visa at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country (www.usembassy.gov/). The length of stay depends on the duration of business requirement with a maximum of six months at a time. The B1/B2 status is renewable for an additional six months depending on the need. The request for extension must be filed with U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) prior to the expiration date on the I-94 admission card.

What is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

The Visa Waiver Programs allows citizens of participating countries to visit the U.S. without applying for a visa.  The visitors must apply for the authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) managed by Custom and Border Protection (CBP) prior to entering the U.S.  Once they receive the authorization online, they may enter the U.S. and be granted a VWB for business or VWT for tourist status.  Currently, 38 countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program. 

Visitors on WB/WT status can only remain in the U.S. for a maximum of 90 days with no possibility of extension.  For more information, please visit the U.S. Department of State website

Can B1/B2 and VWB/VWT Study at Lehigh?

Individuals holding a B1/B2 visa or on the Visa Waiver Program may not enroll in a full-time or part-time course of study.  They are only permitted to take recreational and short-term courses that are not the primary purpose of their presence in the US and will not be used for credit toward a degree program.  

Can B1/B2 and VWB/VWT receive honoraria and reimbursements?

Visitors in B1 and VWB may receive an honorarium and/or travel reimbursements for the duration of their visit at Lehigh under the following conditions:

  1. The academic activities at Lehigh must be nine(9) days or less
  2. In the past six months, the visitor hasn’t received an honorarium from more than five institutions (including Lehigh)

What should host departments and visitors do?

The department, through the Dean’s Office, should send a letter of invitation to the incoming visitor and register with the OISS through iHomeThe letter should include the following information:

  • The purpose and activity of the visit
  • Determine who has financial responsibility for travel, i.e. whether the visitor will be reimbursed or be self-supported
  • Stating honoraria will be paid if applicable
  • Check with the Controller's Office Tax Analyst on Individual Tax ID number procedures (see ITIN Procedures on Payroll Office's website or the IRS form)

If a visitor is not a citizen of a VWP participating countries, he/she is responsible to make an appointment and apply for a B1/B2 visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

The visitor eligible for the VWP can apply for authorization here.