B-1/WB Visitor

B-1/WB is a type of nonimmigrant status for persons entering the United States temporarily for business. At Northwestern University, these categories are used for visitors who will come to campus for 90 days or less for the purpose of participating in consultation, observation or to give a lecture. This is not for research, teaching, lecturing or studying.

The processing time at the International Office for B-1/WB request is two weeks.

Difference between B-1 and WB
Requesting B-1/WB Status & Arrival to the U.S.

Difference between B-1 and WB:

WB category enables citizens of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business tourism for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa stamp. For the most recent list of countries who participate in the Visa Waiver Program, please visit the Department of State website.

For citizens of all other countries, or those who otherwise don’t qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, the visitor must obtain a B-1 visa stamp at a US Embassy or Consulate to enter the US in B-1 status.


  • The visitor is limited to a stay of 90 days or less without extension for the purpose of consultation and/or observation.
  • The visitor cannot displace US workers and will not have a research appointment through Northwestern University
  • The visitor cannot participate in or volunteer services/expertise toward any exercise essential to departmental operations.
  • The visitor must be in the presence of a supervisor when observing the use of lab equipment.
  • The visitor may not be involved in any patient contact or interact with any research subjects, either directly or indirectly.
  • The visitor cannot be paid for services, but may be reimbursed for travel expenses and/or given assistance with accommodations.
  • The visitor cannot intend to obtain employment within the US, including a change of status to J-1 or H-1B.
  • The visitor must have an institutional affiliation in his or her home country or country of residence.
  • The visitor must have adequate finances and sufficient health insurance to support himself/herself for the duration of stay.
  • The department must report any changes/violations related to the visitor’s stay to the IO.

Requesting B-1/WB Status & Arrival to the U.S.

All forms associated with the B-1/WB must be completed by the Department Contact and can be found here. If you have questions, please contact your IO advisor.

Step 1: Collect documents

Step 2: Scan/email request to IO

  • Complete requests should be emailed as one PDF to EVrequest@northwestern.edu
    • e-mail subject: "B Request: LAST NAME, Start Date" (e.g. B Request: WILDCAT, 04/01/2013)
    • file name: "BReq_LAST NAME, First Name" (e.g. BReq_WILDCAT, Willie)

Step 3: IO Advisor reviews the request

  • The IO Advisor will review the request and will notify the department that:
    • The request has been approved, or
    • The request has been denied and provide other visa options

Step 4: If approved, Department sends letter of invitation to the visitor

Step 5: Visitor applies for B-1 or WB visa status

  • B-1 status:
    • The visitor must schedule a visa appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country to apply for a B-1 visa stamp.
    • The visitor must check with the US Embassy or Consulate to verify which documents to present at the time of the appointment. Common documents required are:
      • IO approved letter of invitation from Northwestern University department.
      • Proof that the visitor has adequate finances to support himself/herself for the duration of stay in the U.S.
  • WB status – Visa Waiver Program (VWP):

Step 6: Visitor enters the U.S. and contacts the IO with any questions about the B1/WB status