University of Wisconsin–Madison

B-1/B-2 Visitors

What is a B-1 and B-2?

The B-1 status is for a visitor coming temporarily to the United States for short term business. The B-2 status is generally for pleasure or medical treatment. Visitors may use the B-1 visa for brief stays, usually less than six months, to participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars.

How long can I hold B-1 status?

Generally, you can hold B-1/B-2 status for 1 day up to a maximum of 6 months. Customs and Border Protection will determine how long you can remain in the US when you enter.

Who is eligible?

Any foreign national coming temporarily to the U.S. for business or pleasure.

Allowable business activities:

  • Anyone wishing to enter the US temporarily for business, pleasure or medical treatment purposes can apply for a US tourist visa.
  • consult with business associates
  • attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • settle an estate
  • negotiate a contract

Allowable tourist activities:

  • tourism
  • vacation (holiday)
  • visit with friends or relatives
  • medical treatment
  • participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
  • participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating
  • enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation)

Who is not eligible?

The B status is not appropriate for students or long-term scholars coming to UW-Madison. B visitors should never hold a UW-Madison appointment of any kind, even unpaid.

A B visitor is not allowed to:

  • be employed
  • study
  • get paid for performances, or any professional performance before a paying audience
  • arrive as a crewmember on a ship or aircraft
  • work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists, and other information media
  • apply for permanent residence in the United States


There is no derivate dependent status for the B-1 or B-2. All visitors wishing to travel on the B visa, must be eligible and apply for a B visa separately.

Grace period

B-1s do not have a grace period for entry and departure to the US.  B-1 visitors are a date certain entry date and a date certain departure date.

How do I request B-1 status?

There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you apply. Please consult the instructions available on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply.