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News:

FSIS website under construction
Starting September 20, 2013, we'll be making changes to the format of our website. We ask for your patience as this may be a lengthy process. Contact Signe at signen@hawaii.edu if you have problems with website functionality or navigation.

New I-94 procedure
From April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin implementing a paperless I-94 procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.

FSIS's holiday schedule
FSIS will close from December 25 and will reopen on January 2.

EB immigrant visa availability
U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin


Business Visitors & Tourists


A foreign national who is traveling to the U.S. for a temporary visit may be able to enter on a B-1 business visa, B-2 tourist visa, or under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Eligibility for entry to the U.S. in these statuses depends on the kinds of activities the visitor will conduct and also on the length of his/her stay in the U.S. See the nonimmigrant options by appointment charts to determine the most appropriate status for a given visitor.

A B-1 business visitor or B-2 tourist must apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. If the visitor is a citizen of a country that participates in the VWP, he/she may be eligible to enter the U.S. without first obtaining a visa.
 
After the visitor obtains the visa or if he/she is a VWP participant and does not need a visa, he/she can apply for entry at a U.S. port of entry. The
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry determines the visitor’s period of authorized stay. Generally, B visitors are granted entry for a period of 6 months or less. VWP visitors are granted entry for no more than 90 days. Visitors should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the U.S. as CBP officers have the authority to deny entry. 
 
B-1 business visitors

B-2 tourists

Visa Waiver Program



B-1 business visitors [top]

B-1 visitors must apply for a B-1 visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad before they can attempt to enter the U.S. In addition to showing adequate financial support for the duration of his/her stay in the U.S., the visitor will need to provide evidence documenting the purpose for coming to the U.S. and evidence demonstrating that he/she intends to depart the U.S. at the end of his/her stay.

B-1 visas can be issued for visitors who will:

  • Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions or conferences.
  • Undertake independent research.
  • Undertake training in the U.S. at the request of their foreign employer and who will continue to receive their salary from their foreign employer.
  • Engage in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment.


B-1 visa restrictions:

  • Extension of B-1 status is limited to a maximum stay of 12 months.
  • Cannot accept full-time or part-time teaching or research positions or other employment for which the visitor is paid by an U.S. institution.
  • May accept honoraria and associated incidental expenses paid by an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization for academic activities lasting no longer than 9 days at any single institution. The visitor cannot have accepted such payments or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period.
  • May accept reimbursement of travel and incidental expenses from U.S. sources. Incidental expenses should not exceed the actual and reasonable expenses that the visitor incurs in traveling to and from the activity, together with living expenses for meals, lodging, laundry and other basic services.


Admission to the U.S.

A visa will not guarantee entry to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review the visitor's immigration documents and ask questions about his/her stay. These officers have the discretion to admit him/her in B-1 status and may refer him/her to a more detailed secondary inspection.

When a visitor is admitted into the U.S., his/her documents will be returned and he/she should receive an admission date stamp with the notations “B-1” and a date indicating the length of the period of authorized stay in his/her passport. He/She should also receive instructions on how to print an I-94 arrival record from CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. In some cases, a person may be issued a paper I-94 at entry, but CBP is phasing out this process. If a visitor receives a paper I-94, that card is evidence of his/her legal status in the U.S.

Any questions regarding visa application or eligibility for admission to the U.S. should be directed to the proper U.S. embassy or consulate.

 


B-2 tourists [top]

B-2 visitors must apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad before they can attempt to enter the U.S. In addition to showing adequate financial support for the duration of his/her stay in the U.S., the visitor will need to provide evidence documenting the purpose for coming to the U.S. and evidence demonstrating that he/she intends to depart the U.S. at the end of his/her stay.

B-2 visas can be issued for visitors who will:

  • Conduct leisure activities, including tourism, social visits to friends or relatives, recreational activities, participating in amateur musical, sports, or similar events.
  • Seek medical treatment.
  • Accompany another visitor as spouses or children, as relatives of a J-1 exchange visitor, or non-spouse partners.
  • Participate in short courses of study incidental to tourist or social activities, including language students in a short course of study of under 18 hours per week.

 
B-2 visa restrictions:

  • Cannot engage in business activities, training programs, or study (except as noted above).
  • Cannot accept employment or compensation for services.
  • May accept only honoraria and associated incidental expenses paid by an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization for academic activities lasting no longer than 9 days at any single institution. Visitors cannot have accepted such payments or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period. No other payments or reimbursement of expenses by U.S. sources permitted.


Admission to the U.S.

A visa will not guarantee entry to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review the visitor's immigration documents and ask questions about his/her stay. These officers have the discretion to admit him/her in B-2 status and may refer him/her to a more detailed secondary inspection.

When a visitor is admitted into the U.S., his/her documents will be returned and he/she should receive an admission date stamp with the notations “B-2” and a date indicating the length of the period of authorized stay in his/her passport. He/She should also receive instructions on how to print an I-94 arrival record from CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. In some cases, a person may be issued a paper I-94 at entry, but CBP is phasing out this process. If a visitor receives a paper I-94, that card is evidence of his/her legal status in the U.S.

Any questions regarding visa application or eligibility for admission to the U.S. should be directed to the proper U.S. embassy or consulate.

 



Visa Waiver Program [top]

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits citizens of participating countries to apply for entry to the U.S. for business (WB status) or pleasure (WT status) without first obtaining a visa at a U.S. embassy/consulate. VWP admission is limited to a maximum stay of 90 days. Changes of status and extensions are NOT permitted.

VWP minimum requirements:

1. Visitor must be a citizen of a participating VWP country:

      Andorra Hungary    New Zealand
      Australia Iceland    Norway
      Austria Ireland    Portugal
      Belgium Italy    San Marino
      Brunei Japan    Singapore
      Chile Latvia    Slovakia
      Czech Republic
Liechtenstein    Slovenia
      Denmark Lithuania    South Korea
      Estonia Luxembourg    Spain
      Finland Malta    Sweden
      France Monaco    Switzerland
      Germany Netherlands    Taiwan
      Greece    United Kingdom

 

2. Visitor must obtain travel authorization using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) at least 72 hours prior to traveling. This authorization is mandatory for all VWP travelers.

  • Once a VWP traveler obtains ESTA travel authorization, the authorization will remain valid for up to 2 years OR until the traveler's passport expires, whichever occurs first.
  • ESTA authorization can be used for multiple entries into the U.S. throughout the validity period.
  • Travelers are encouraged, but not required, to update ESTA with their specific travel details at least 72 hours prior to each departure.
  • ESTA applicants must pay a fee of $14.00, which is the sum of two amounts: a $10 travel promotion fee for an approved ESTA statutorily set by the Travel Promotion Act and a $4.00 operational fee for the use of ESTA as set by the Secretary of Homeland Security to ensure recovery of the full costs of providing and administering the ESTA system.

3. Visitor must arrive in the U.S. on an authorized airline carrier or apply for admission at a land border port of entry.

4. Visitor must provide these documents to support VWP admission:

  • Machine-readable passport from a VWP country that is valid for at least 6 months beyond the intended stay. If passport was issued on or after October 26, 2005, it must contain a digital photograph of the bearer or be an e-Passport. Passports issued on or after October 26, 2006 must be e-Passports, which contain an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information, a digitized photo, and other digitized information. See the U.S. Department of State website for the Visa Waiver Program for more information.
  • Evidence of intent to depart the U.S. within 90 days (e.g. roundtrip/onward airline ticket)
  • Evidence of financial support (e.g. letter of invitation, bank statement, credit card, traveler’s checks, etc.)
  • Completion of visa waiver form at the time of admission.


Allowable VWP activities:

   Business visitors (WB):

  • Participation in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions or conferences.
  • Undertaking independent research.
  • Undertaking training in the U.S. at the request of a foreign employer and continuing to receive a salary from the foreign employer.
  • Engaging in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment.

   Tourists (WT):

  • Leisure activities, including tourism, social visits to friends or relatives, recreational activities, participating in amateur musical, sports, or similar events.
  • Seeking medical treatment.
  • Accompanying another visitor as spouses and dependents, relatives of a J-1 exchange visitor, or non-spouse partners.
  • Attending short courses of study incidental to tourist or social activities, including language students in a short course of study no more than 18 hours per week.


VWP restrictions:

  • Cannot engage in business activities, training programs, or study except as noted above.
  • Cannot accept full-time or part-time teaching or research positions or other employment for which they are paid by a U.S. institution.
  • Cannot accept employment or compensation for services from U.S. sources.
  • May accept honoraria and associated incidental expenses paid by an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization, or a governmental research organization for academic activities lasting no longer than 9 days at any single institution. VWP visitors cannot have accepted such payments or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period.
  • WB visitors may accept reimbursement of travel and incidental expenses from U.S. sources. Incidental expenses should not exceed the actual and reasonable expenses that the visitor incurs in traveling to and from the activity, together with living expenses for meals, lodging, laundry and other basic services.


Admission to the U.S.

At air ports of entry, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer will conduct automated processing for VWP travelers with ESTA authorization. CBP no longer issues Form I-94W at air and most sea ports of entry. The CBP officer should stamp the applicant’s passport with an admission date stamp and annotate the passport with the class of admission
(“WB” if business visitor or “WT” if tourist) and the expiration date of admission. He/She should also receive instructions on how to print an I-94 arrival record from CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. The individual's departure from the U.S. should be documented electronically; he/she should not need to turn in a document upon leaving the U.S.

CBP will continue to issue Form I-94W to VWP visitors at land borders and at some sea ports of entry. The CBP officer should note the visitor’s nonimmigrant status (“WB/WT”) on the I-94W card and also note the expiration date of his/her authorized stay. This card is the visitor's only proof of legal status in the U.S. Upon departure from the U.S., an airline representative will collect the Form I-94W as a record of the visitor’s departure.
 
Any questions regarding eligibility for admission to the U.S. should be directed to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.


Spouse & children

A VWP visitor’s spouse and/or children may also be eligible to enter the U.S. without visas in WT (tourist) status if they meet the above requirements. The activities and restrictions for B-2 visa holders also apply to WTs. WTs cannot attend school or engage in business activities or employment. The VWP visitor must be responsible for all expenses of any family members accompanying or joining him/her.

 

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