B1 & B2 Guidance
Virginia Tech welcomes visitors from around the world to our campus to engage with our students, faculty, and staff in a broad range of activities. Virginia Tech values the contributions these visitors make to our community and the unique opportunities and experiences that arise as a result of this engagement. The university desires to facilitate these activities so this valuable opportunity to exchange knowledge, culture, and experiences will enrich our community for years to come.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide persons interested in inviting visitors to Virginia Tech, including all its domestic campuses and affiliated research institutes, with a clear understanding of appropriate activities for visitors in B-1 or B-2 visa status (including persons admitted pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program). We also want to explain the process for requesting approval and letters of invitation for appropriate visitors. While not all activities are appropriate for B-1 and B-2 visas status, there is almost always an appropriate visa category available. This guideline will identify which visa is appropriate and what office on campus can assist with preparing the appropriate paperwork.
The associate vice president for International Affairs has the responsibility of determining whether a visitor’s proposed activities meet the criteria outlined below and issuing invitation letters for approved visitors. All invitation letters for persons visiting Virginia Tech with a B visa status or as Visa Waiver entrants must be issued by the Office of the Associate Vice President for International Affairs. Please note that there are persons and institutions/entities throughout the world that are prohibited from entering the U.S. and/or visiting certain laboratories or accessing certain sensitive technologies in the U.S. Such laboratories and technologies are present on the Virginia Tech campus. Those seeking to invite visitors to Virginia Tech should be sure that they know who is requesting an invitation. Some of the people/entities prohibited from accessing these sensitive technologies are known to “fish” for invitations from persons/entities that possess the technologies they would like to access.
To initiate the invitation process, please visit the university’s B Visa webpage. This page includes a copy of the visitor guidelines, a flow chart outlining the process for requesting approval and invitation letters, a B visa request form and a sample invitation letter. After reviewing the guidelines and flow chart, an Export Questionnaire must be completed and emailed to Tom Czamanske the Export Control Office along with a draft invitation letter (colleges may require the request for letters of invitation be reviewed and approved through the appropriate contact in the dean’s office). A sample letter is available for your convenience.
Upon receipt of the request form and sample letter, the request will be reviewed and if approved forwarded to the Office of Export Control and Secure Research Compliance. If changes to either the request form or draft letter are required, the requestor will be notified before the package is forwarded to the Office of Export Control and Secure Research Compliance. The Office of Export Control and Secure Research Compliance will review the proposed visitor(s) and activities and issue appropriate export control guidelines to be followed by the host department/faculty member. Upon receipt of these guidelines, Mollie Hyde will forward the complete package to the associate vice president of International Affairs for final approval. If the associate vice president for International Affairs determines that the proposed activities meet the criteria outlined below, an invitation letter will be issued from that office. Invitation letters are not to be issued by any other office at Virginia Tech. Upon final approval, the invitation letter will be issued, and Mollie Hyde will notify the requestor.
Visitors found to be on campus who have not adhered to the procedures outlined in these guidelines will not be permitted to participate in any university scholastic programs. The associate vice president for International Affairs will have the authority to deviate from these guidelines, subject to applicable laws, on a case-by-case basis.
Persons coming to Virginia Tech to engage in independent (i.e., non-collaborative) research, who will receive no salary or income from a US source and whose research will not benefit a US institution may remain at Virginia Tech in B-1 status for up to nine calendar days (cumulative). For those coming to engage in other types of research, a J-1 visa is the appropriate visa. Please contact International Support Services for further information.
Lecturer/Speaker or Guest Teacher
Persons coming to Virginia Tech to deliver a lecture/speech or guest teach may do so in B-1 visa status. These visitors may not receive income from a U.S. based source other than reimbursement for expenses incidental to their visit. It is permissible for the visitor to receive an honorarium from Institutions of Higher Education, Affiliated Non-Profit Entities, and Non-Profit Government Research Institutions. The visitor’s activities can last no longer than nine calendar days (cumulative) at any single institution or organization and the visitor may not have accepted such payment or expenses from more than five institutions or organizations over the last six months. If you will be paying the visitor an honorarium, you are advised to email Janet Kunz the university’s international tax specialist. For visitors wishing to engage in these activities more frequently than outlined above, a J-1 visa is the appropriate visa. Please contact International Support Services for further information on the J-1 program.
Negotiation, Consultation, Conferences
Persons coming to Virginia Tech to negotiate contracts, consult with business associates, or participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions conferences or seminars may do so in B-1 status. These visitors may receive no salary or income from a US based company or entity. Visitors wishing to engage in activity resulting in salary or income from US based entities should likely be in H-1B or J-1 visa status. Please contact International Support Services for further information.
It is preferred that prospective students (an individual enrolled in a high school or university either in the U.S. or another country) visit Virginia Tech with a B-2 status. However, students currently in the US in another visa status (e.g., B-1, F-1/F-2, J-1/J-2, H-1B/H-4) may also visit the campus. Regardless of their visa status, all prospective students may not be engaged with the university for a period exceeding nine calendar days (cumulative). Prospective students may observe classes and laboratories, but may not be involved in any hands-on activities in the classrooms or laboratories or engage in any research activity whatsoever.
Students Fulfilling Internship or Co-op Requirements
Participation in the student intern J-1 subcategory is open to foreign students currently pursuing a degree at a postsecondary academic institution outside the U.S. who wish to participate in opportunities to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. This may be paid or unpaid. Please email the Cranwell International Center for more information.