We often get the following question from our clients: I want to come to the U.S. and attend a conference. What kind of visa can I enter on? Can I enter as a B-1 visitor or a B-2 tourist?
You can enter the U.S. as a B-1 business visitor visa if you want to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business convention, conference, or seminar. If you are entering the U.S. to attend a conference you should enter as a B-1 visitor.
If you are a citizen of a country that is a part of the Visa Waiver program, then you can come to the U.S. without obtaining a B visa at a U.S. Consulate and you can simply enter on your ESTA as a B-1 Business Visitor (WB) or a B-2 tourist.
I will be a speaker at a conference. Can I get paid if I enter the U.S. as a B-1 business visitor?
The answer is no. You cannot get paid from a U.S. based company/entity, but you can get reimbursed for certain expenses that are incidental to your visit. For example, you could get reimbursed for you meals or hotel.
The only situation where you could receive an honorarium payment would be if the payment is offered by an institution of a higher education or by a nonprofit research organization or governmental research organization. The services you perform would have to be for the benefit of this institution or entity and the activities could last no more than 9 days at a single institution/organization. In addition, you cannot accept such payment from more than 5 institutions/organization per month.
Please see our blog post discussing what other activities are permitted under a B-1 visa when you click here.
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