Inviting Business Visitors


Preregister visitors to Your Department: Texas A&M University Rule 33.99.09.M1 (section 4.1) requires all visitors to Texas A&M University to check in with ISFS regardless of whether or not the visit is financially supported by TAMU.  In order to facilitate this process, ISFS has created anelectronic pre-arrival registration.  When your department plans on hosting an international business visitor, you must complete and submit this form.
  
The B-1 status is for foreign nationals coming to the U.S. temporarily to engage in commercial or professional activities.  These activities must be related to their business abroad and must not constitute employment in the U.S.  In fact, B-1 visitors who accept employment in the U.S. violate the terms of their status and become subject to deportation.

Professional activities associated with a visit to a U.S. university may include:
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Consulting with business associates
  • Participating in scientific, educational, professional, or business, conferences, or seminars
  • Undertaking independent research
  • Training


 Use of the B-1 Nonimmigrant Visa to Visit TAMU
A visit by an international scholar to Texas A&M University may take place under the B-1 nonimmigrant visa provided  the proposed visit falls within the permitted business activities under the B-1 classification. In this regard, it is paramount to understand that the B-1 classification does not allow for employment or any type of unauthorized labor. Accordingly, compensating the foreign national for services would clearly be contrary to the spirit of the classification and could amount to “local employment”. 
 
Activities that clearly apply to the visit of international scholars under a B-1 are:
  • Participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars
  • Undertaking independent research
  • Attending business meetings
  • Consulting with business associates
  • Exclusively observe the conduct of business, provided the foreign national pays for his/her own expenses

As a general rule, the B-1 classification is not adequate for having the visitor:
  • Engage in collaborative or guided research
  • Gain practical experience through on-the-job training
  • Provide services that primarily benefit TAMU
  • Volunteer to provide services for which TAMU would need to hire an individual

For example: Inviting a visitor for two months to engage in collaborative research or gain practical experience through on-the-job training at TAMU and, for this purpose, providing the visitor with office space, access to computer, access to labs, keys and reimbursement of expenses would not be an appropriate use of a B-1 or VWB-1 classification.  For this type of scenario a J-1 short term scholar classification or a J-1 student intern classification is the appropriate classification.
 
Allowing a foreign national to come to TAMU under a B-1 classification to engage in activities that are not adequate under the B-1 places the institution, the host and the visitor at risk.
 
 
Best Practices
Before inviting a foreign national to campus we recommend you contact IFSS to obtain appropriate guidance as to whether or not a visit under the B nonimmigrant category is advisable. 
 
Furthermore, note that depending on the planned activities of the international visitor, you may have to obtain a Restricted Party Screening clearance before you can invite the foreign national. In this regard, all faculty members should be aware of 
System Policy 15.02 Export ControlsTexas A&M University Rule 15.02.99.M1 supplementing the System Policy, and the Texas A&M University Standard Administrative Procedure 15.99.99.M0.01.
 
 
Obtaining B-1 Status
B-1 status is obtained at a U.S. consulate abroad. To qualify for a B-1 visa, foreign nationals must convince the consular officer that they plan to visit the U.S. temporarily for business purposes with the intent to return to their residence abroad.
 
 
Required Documentation
B-1 applicants must contact the 
U.S. Embassy or Consulate for information on what documentation is required, how to schedule an appointment, and processing timeframes.
 
 
Payments
Educational institutions may reimburse B-1 visitors for their expenses that do not exceed reasonable travel and living costs.  They may even pay an honorarium to a B-1 visitor provided the visit does not exceed 9 days, and the B-1 has not received similar payments from more than 5 U.S. colleges or universities in the immediately preceding 6 months.
 
 
Visa Waiver Program
Business visitors from certain countries may be eligible to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.  Visitors who enter under the Visa Waiver Program for business purposes are admitted with the WB status which is the same as the B-1.  An individual admitted under the Visa Waiver Program is not eligible for an extension of stay, a change to another nonimmigrant status, or adjustment of status to that of a permanent resident (except as an immediate relative).
 
Like B-1 visitors, WB visitors may be reimbursed for expenses and paid an honorarium if the visit to the institution does not exceed 9 days with no similar payments from more than 5 U.S. colleges or universities in the immediately preceding 6 months. 
 
More information on the Visa Waiver Program can be obtained from the U.S Department of State's 
Visa Waiver Program page.