B Visitor Visa

The B1/B2 visitor visa is most often used for individuals who come to campus to give a lecture or participating in a seminar or colloquium.  And while most short-term academic appointments use the Yale sponsored J-1 Exchange Visitor visa, which is relatively quick and easy to obtain, on rare occasions 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 “Yale sponsored” and their success and ease of use are less predictable.

NOTE: If the visitor does not qualify for the Visa Waiver and does not already have a B visa stamp from a U.S. consulate in their passport, then the J visa is often the better choice (e.g. if they have to apply to the embassy anyway, better they apply with the full backing of a sponsored visa and OISS support.)

If the activity meets the basic regulatory criteria (listed below), a visitor to Yale may choose to use the B-1 visa or Visa Waiver for Business.

  • The position is temporary in nature, very short-term, and the visitor has a profession or studies outside the U.S. they will return to
  • They will not be paid a salary from a U.S. source
  • Any monies paid the visitor must meet Policy 3415
  • They will not be in a job that would normally be filled by a U.S. worker
  • The activity at Yale will primarily benefit the visitor, not Yale
  • Is able to pass all Yale institutional requirements to have access to the activity /work site
  • There must be evidence that the visitor has finances to fund the visit including transportation and health insurance


There are very specific and limited options about paying honorarium covered in Yale Policy 3415. You must be familiar with the rules before committing to paying the visitor an honorarium.


Visitors holding B-1 or B-2 visas or Visa Waiver, may accept reimbursement of incidental expenses under the following conditions:

  • For "usual academic activity or activities" involving visits of 9 days or less at Yale, and
  • The individual has accepted such payment from no more than 5 institutions , in the previous 6 month period


For more details about the B Visa and Visa Waiver please refer to the resources to the right.