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B-1 Visitor Visa & Visa Waiver

The B-1 Visa is most often used for individuals who come to campus to participate in a conference, seminar or colloquium or for those who come to have informal meetings with colleagues.  And while most short-term academic appointments use the Hopkins-sponsored J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa, which is relatively quick and easy to obtain, on occasion it may be possible for an individual to use the Visitor Visa (either the B-1 Visa obtained from a U.S. consulate or the Visa Waiver for Business.) These visitor visas are not “Hopkins sponsored” and their success and ease of use are less predictable.  If the visitor does not qualify for the Visa Waiver program and does not already have a B visa stamp from a U.S. consulate in their passport, then the J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa may be a better choice.  If the activity meets the basic regulatory criteria (listed below), a visitor to Johns Hopkins may choose to use the B-1 visa or Visa Waiver for Business, unless the OIS has informed the inviting department otherwise. The U.S. State Department guidance states that employment and study are prohibited on B visas and Visa Waiver.


B-1 Visitor Visa & Visa Waiver Usage Criteria:

  1. The visit must be very short-term in nature
  2. The visitor must have a profession or studies outside the U.S. to which he or she will return
  3. There is evidence that the visitor has finances to fund the visit including transportation and health insurance
  4. For those individuals with a medical degree; there are no patient care responsibilities
  5. Will not be paid a salary from a U.S. source
  6. Will not be in a job that would normally be filled by a U.S. worker
  7. The activity at Hopkins will primarily benefit the visitor, not Hopkins


Honoraria and B-1/Visa Waiver Status

The regulations allow individuals holding B-1 or B-2 status as well as those participating in the Visa Waiver Program who hold either W/T or W/B status, to accept honoraria in addition to reimbursement for expenses provided that they do not spend more than 9 days for academic activities at an institution. Individuals receiving honoraria are also limited to 5 visits in a 6-month period. If the individual is not receiving honoraria, there is no limit to the number of institutional visits permitted.

There is no limit on the amount of the honoraria. If a scholar stays at an institution for a longer period of time than 9 days, he/she is not eligible for an honorarium and may only be reimbursed for expenses. Visitors should have a letter from the inviting department explaining their activities, and detailing payment. Although not required by regulations, it is very important that these short-term visitors have adequate health insurance for their stay in the United States. 

Letter of Invitation

The "B-1 Visitors Visa" and the "Visa Waiver Program" may be used when the following statements are applicable:

  • that the nature of the visit is temporary, and the individual can claim permanent residency outside the U.S.
  • that the individual will not be a salaried employee
  • that the individual has adequate funding from outside the U.S.
  • that the individual holds a position in (___country), to which he/she will return
  • that the individual will have a return ticket
  • as applicable: that the individual will receive from Johns Hopkins an honorarium or be reimbursed for travel and living expenses ONLY.

The items listed above are excellent items to include in a letter of invitation that should be sent directly to the visiting international scholar.

Visiting Medical Students

Individuals who have been admitted to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Visiting Medical Student Program will receive admission and confirmation of acceptance from the Registrar. The OIS does not grant admission to this program. If admitted, the OIS heeds the advice of the U. S. Department of State and the Foreign Affairs Manual followed by U.S. consulates/embassies (FAM) in recommending that visiting medical students enter the United States on a B-1/B/2 visa or under the Visa Waiver Program. 

The B-1/B-2 or Visa Waiver is appropriate for a clinical or research elective within Hopkins because individuals will receive no US dollars during the course of the elective, and will be responsible for their own travel and room and board.  Individuals who are accepted to participate in the program are expected to resume their university studies after the elective period at Johns Hopkins University.

The OIS provides this letter to be used to assist in procuring a visa. The letter is only valid if accompanied by written confirmation of acceptance and admission to the Visiting Medicine Student Program from Mary E. Foy, Associate Dean & Registrar. [Confirmation is in the form of an e-mail.]

Want to Talk with an Expert?

Walk In Hours
  • Mon & Wed, 1-4pm
  • Tue & Thur, 9am-12pm

Walk in advising is for F-1 and J-1 questions that can be answered in ten minutes or less. For all other inquiries, please visit the Contact Us page.


Summary of Visa Types, Uses & Limitations

Download the Visa Chart