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B visas

B-1 Business Visa / WB Temporary Business Visitor (Visa Waiver Program)

The appropriate visa status for an international visitor temporarily coming to Boise State University is based on a few factors, including their activity, access to campus resources, and payment.



The B visa has two categories: B-1 for Business and B-2 for Tourism.  Similarly, the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of certain countries to come to the US without a visa through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).  The VWP also has the same categories as the B visa: WB (waiver-business) and WT (waiver-tourist).

If someone is visiting Boise State in an official capacity for approved activities under one of these categories, they should enter on a Business visa rather than a Tourist visa.  Generally, this requires a letter of invitation from the Boise State department inviting them.


The US Department of State defines the type of activity that can take place on the B-1 visa and under the VWP WB.  Please review this sheet for some examples of activities that can take place on a business visa.

For example, the following unpaid individuals might visit Boise State on a business visa:

  • Conference, meeting, trade show, or business event attendee
  • Lecturer or speaker
  • Independent researcher

Please note that research on a B-1 visa is only appropriate when it is unpaid, strictly independent, and has no benefit to Boise State.  If the visitor’s research is collaborative in nature or if it could lead to future publication, the visitor should obtain a J-1 visa.  Please notify the Center for Global Engagement at least two to three months in advance to facilitate the J-1 paperwork.


Individuals on a B visa or VWP are not allowed payment.  If you want to pay a visitor they will need to be on a visa type that supports payment, such as a J-1.

Honorariums or reimbursements may be made to individuals on B visas who meet certain requirements.  Please contact Accounts Payable for more information and the process.

Access to Campus

Visitors to campus on B visas or VWP should be treated like a member of the general public.  If they need Affiliate status in order to access networks, buildings, or other resources reserved for employees and/or students, then their visit should likely take place on a J-1 visa.

 J-1 visaB-1 visa or WB (ESTA)
Length of visit1 day to 5 years, depending on categoryB-1: 6 months maximum
WB: 90 days maximum
Employment & PaymentAuthorized when pre-approved as part of the program; payment must be listed on immigration documentNone; Visitor may be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses and/or receive an academic honorarium under certain conditions
PurposeTemporary educational and/or cultural exchanges; collaboration between visitor and Boise StateTemporary visitors who are attending a conference/seminar, lectures, observation, or independent research with no benefit to Boise State
Cost to Boise StateShipping documentsNone
Processing timeShould be requested 2-3 months prior to proposed visit for review/processing visa documents, shipping, applying for visaTime to apply and receive B-1 visa / WB (ESTA)
Campus accessEligible for Affiliate status (Boise State ID, email address, access to buildings, etc.)Same as general public

If you have any questions about appropriate visas for specific visitors, please contact the Center for Global Engagement for assistance.