Using the B1/B2 Visitor’s Visa Category

Occasionally Georgia State departments may have international guests come to our campus to conduct or attend a workshop, conference, present a lecture, observe, or conduct independent research for a short period of time.  An International visiting Georgia State to engage in temporary academic, educational, or professional activities as described above, may not need for Georgia State to sponsor them on a visa.In these cases the visitor can use/apply for a B-1 business visitor visa or make use of the Visa Waiver Program.  NOTE:  The B-1 business visitor category is not appropriate for visitors engaging in active in-lab research or collaborative activities that will benefit GSU in any way.  Visitors involved in exchange programs, formal collaboration between institutions, or joint research projects from which GSU will benefit should use the J-1 Exchange Visitor visa.  To help you determine if the visitor visa category is right for your needs please review this document from The Department of State *Visa sponsorship, such as the J or H category, is needed for visits lasting longer than a few weeks that involve salary paid by Georgia State. If unsure about which visa category you should use for your visitor please contact Jenny Callahan in ISSS for assistance. *Prior to inviting your visitor to campus please remember to read important and helpful information from the Office of International Initiatives about hosting international visitors.
Visa Waiver Program
Some internationals from Western Europe or other countries listed as part of the U.S. Department of State Visa Waiver Program won’t need to obtain a visa to enter the United States as a B-1 visitor. A list of the countries included in the visa waiver program can be found here.Visitors from countries included in the visa waiver program will not need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to entering the U.S. However, upon entry to the U.S. they will be required to present:

  1. Valid passport
  2. Letter from Georgia State University (PDF) Example
  3. Visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program must register for travel authorization on the Department of Homeland Security’s Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Website.  Registration must be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel.

Their passport and their I-94 card will be stamped indicating their immigration status and length of stay allowed in the U.S. When entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver program the international will be given a green I-94 card and an extension of their stay after entering the U.S. will not be permitted.

B-1 Business Category

Visitors from countries not included in the visa waiver program will need to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in order to obtain a B-1/B-2 before boarding a plane to enter the U.S. The visitor should check the U.S. Embassy or Consulate’s web site to see what specific documents they will need to take to their visa appointment. They can find this information at the U.S. Department of State web site here: http://www.usembassy.gov/

After obtaining the visa and upon entry to the U.S. they will be required to present:

1)      Valid passport

2)      Valid B-1/B-2 visa stamp in passport

3)     Letter from Georgia State University (PDF) Example

Their passport and I-94 card will be stamped indicating their immigration status and length of stay allowed in the U.S. When entering the U.S. under the B-1/B-2 visa the international will be given a white I-94 card and an extension of their stay beyond their original intent will be allowed.

Honoraria/Reimbursement

Academic honorarium payments and reimbursement for incidental expense are allowed. Please keep in mind that when a visitor arrives in the B-1 category that Honorarium payments are allowed only as long as the academic activity at Georgia State University for which an honorarium is paid is no longer than 9 days, and the visitor has not accepted honoraria from more than five institutions or organizations within a 6 month period.

Unfortunately, Georgia State does not have housing available on our campus for visitors, but some nearby hotels offer discounted rates and shuttle service.

Some hotels are willing to “direct bill” your department for hotel expenses:

  • Marriott Residence Inn, 134 Peachtree Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303 404-522-0950
  • Ritz-Carlton Atlanta, 181 Peachtree Street NE,  Atlanta, GA  30303, 404-659-0400
  • Hampton Inn and Suites, 161 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-589-1111
  • Omni Hotel at CNN Center, 100 CNN Center, Atlanta, GA 30303, 404-659-0000