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Categories of B Visitors

At Vanderbilt, the B-1 visa is used for visiting medical students, visiting faculty or researchers who will not engage in collaborative research during their stay, as well as those providing short-term lectures or consultations. Some, but not all, of those invited through the Global Scholars in Residence program, will be able to enter in B-1 status. If a visiting scholar requires J-1 sponsorship, please contact ISSS. Any employment-based visa sponsorship questions should be directed to the Office of Employee Immigration Services (OIS).

Visiting Medical Students

A person who is studying at a foreign medical school is permitted to enter the U.S. as a visitor for business on a B-1 visitor visa, or under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as a Temporary Business Visitor to participate in an “elective rotation” at a U.S. medical school.  Please note that temporary visitor for pleasure status (B-2 or WT) is not acceptable to participate in an elective rotation. Temporary Business Visitor (VWP) or Visitor for Business (B-1) are the only acceptable non-immigrant visa options for visiting international medical students to engage in an elective rotation.

Medical electives are organized by Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine.  Please visit their website and contact them directly if there are questions.  The ISSS office will provide immigration assistance upon request for foreign medical students only after they have been approved by the School of Medicine for an elective rotation.

Once a student has been approved by the School of Medicine to participate in an elective rotation, they will provide the student with a letter to present at the visa interview or port of entry to enter in B-1 status. After arrival, the visiting medical students will receive an email from ISSS to complete an intake form and upload appropriate immigration documents.

Visiting Lecturer or Consultant

Individuals in the U.S. on a B-1 visa may not be employed and may not receive a salary or title. Under the following circumstances, however, they may receive an honorarium and associated incidental expenses for eligible academic activities (which can include lecturing or consulting):

  • The activities last no longer than nine days (inclusive of weekends and holidays)
  • The honorarium is for services conducted for the benefit of the University
  • The alien has not accepted such payments or expenses from more than five institutions over the last six months.

Incidental expenses may not exceed the actual reasonable expenses the applicant will incur in traveling to and from the event, together with living expenses the applicant reasonably can be expected to incur for meals, lodging, laundry, and other basic services.

ISSS is generally not involved with this visa application process for these requests. However, individuals may request an invitation letter, if necessary. The purpose of the letter is to assist the applicant in substantiating his or her invitation to a consular officer. Please work with the International Tax Office on any questions related to reimbursement or honoraria.