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The B nonimmigrant category permits temporary entry to the United States for either business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). 

The B-1 category is appropriate for aliens who wish to come to the United States to engage in temporary commercial, business, or professional activities related to their employment or business abroad, provided that the U.S. activity does not constitute “employment” in the U.S. State Department regulations define the statutory term “business” fairly broadly, referring to conventions, conferences, consultations and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature. It does not include local employment or labor for hire.

The B-2 category is appropriate for other temporary visits, to include those of a recreational character, including tourism, amusement, visits with friends or relatives, rest, medical treatment, and activities of a fraternal, social, or service nature.

Among the many applications, the following are most likely to be encountered at Shepherd University:

B-2 prospective student or prospective exchange visitor. A prospective student or exchange visitor may be generally eligible for an F-1 or J-1 visa, but timing or circumstances might interfere with the person’s obtaining the visa. In some cases, the alien may obtain a B-2 visitor’s visa, issued by a consular official with a “prospective student” or “prospective exchange visitor” annotation. This annotation is different from the normal B-2 visitor’s visa and when issued, indicates the advanced intention to study in the U.S., thereby facilitating a change in status to F-1 or J-1. Until the change in status is approved, the individual is bound by the study restrictions in B-2 status and cannot begin a course of study or student employment. 

B-1 or WB (Visa Waiver) for short-term academic presentations. As a general rule, B-1 and WB visitors are not permitted to engage in employment of any kind while in the United States. Despite the general rule prohibiting employment, certain reimbursement and honorarium payments are permissible if they arise out of a legitimate B-1 activity. They may receive reimbursements for incidental expenses or per diems related to their B-1/WB activity. The total amount of such payments cannot exceed what is “reasonable” as a business expense. Further, they may accept an honorarium payment and associated incidental expenses for a usual academic activity or activities (lasting not longer than 9 days at any single institution), if the payment is made for services conducted for the benefit of Shepherd University and the alien has not accepted such payment or expenses from more than 5 institutions or organizations in the previous 6-month period.

Family members invited to commencement. B-2 status is the most appropriate for this purpose. Family members in this status usually may stay up to 6 months, extendable under certain circumstances.