Requirements for Entry to the United States
WB Visa Waiver for Business or B-1 Visitors for Business
Individuals who are traveling to Boston University to participate in professional training programs or seminars must take care to enter the United States in the proper business traveler classification. Please review the information below to determine whether the WB Visa Waiver for Business or the B-1 Visitor for Business will be required for your upcoming visit.
Step 1: Review your Boston University invitation letter
Insure that your name and date of birth are correct. The name on the letter should match the spelling and order of your full legal name as reflected in your passport.
Step 2: Verify your passport’s validity
In order to avoid problems in applying for a visa or entering the U.S. your passport must be valid for at least six (6) months beyond your date of entry to the U.S.
Step 3: Determine which business traveler classification is appropriate for your visit to Boston University and take the necessary steps to obtain clearance to enter the U.S.
WB Visa Waiver for Business:The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of certain countries to enter the U.S. for a maximum of 90 days without applying for a visa. To qualify for entrance in this manner, you must meet ALL of the following requirements:
Refer to the U.S. Department of State website for more specific information on the Visa Waiver Program
B-1 Visitor for Business:
Individuals who do not meet the Visa Waiver Program requirements must enter the U.S. as a B-1 Visitor for Business. Citizens of most countries are required to obtain a B-1 visa to enter the U.S. in this classification. If you already have a valid B-1 visa in your passport, it is not necessary for you to obtain a new visa for your visit to Boston University.
To apply for a B1 visa, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to schedule an appointment. In addition to paying any related visa fees and providing two photographs that meet the required standards, you should also provide the following items at your scheduled appointment:
- A valid passport for at least six months after your date of entry to the U.S.
- Your Boston University invitation letter (to document the purpose of your visit)
- Original financial documentation (to document that you have adequate funds for your visit)
- Documents which demonstrate that you intend to return home after your trip (i.e. a return plane ticket or proof of employment)
Visa processing times can vary so please plan accordingly. Canadian citizens do not require a B1/B2 visa stamp to enter the United States as a B-1 Visitor for Business.
Step 4: Travel and admission to the U.S.
Once you obtain either your ESTA authorization or B-1 visa, you can travel to the U.S. Upon arrival, you will be inspected by a U.S. customs and border official. Since the purpose of your visit is to participate in a training program or seminar at Boston University, please request admission as a B-1 Visitor for Business or a WB Visa Waiver for Business.
For admission to the U.S. you will need to present the following documents:
- ESTA clearances (for Visa Waiver Program) OR B-1 visa and completed Form
- Letter of invitation from Boston University
We also recommend that you have the following documents ready to present, should the inspector ask for them:
- Return trip ticket showing your dates of travel
- Documents showing funding for your time in the U.S.
Since your participation in activities at Boston University does not constitute employment or full-time study, it is important that you do not describe yourself as a “student” coming to “study at Boston University”, or as an “employee” coming to “work at Boston University”. These are inaccurate and may cause confusion at a consulate and at the port of entry.
Step 6: Upon arrival in the U.S. check in with the ISSO
All international visitors who will participate in a professional-level activity at Boston University are required to check in with the ISSO during weekly walk-in hours, unless otherwise scheduled. Please bring your passport BU invitation letter with you to expedite the check-in.
We look forward to seeing you soon. Please contact the ISSO if you have additional questions about your upcoming visit to Boston University.