International Entry Into the US – COVID-19
Before you confirm your attendance to a workshop or program, please take a look at local consulate wait times and current country travel bans to see if you are able to obtain a visa; if you are unable to obtain one before your scheduled arrival date, please email Janell Rodgers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not book any flights until you are sure you can enter the US.
For everyone’s safety, we are only accepting vaccinated participants to attend in-person events. If you are not vaccinated, please let us know and we will send you a link to participate remotely.
*** Please note that even if you are fully vaccinated, there is a chance that you will not be able to enter the US, due to the existing travel bans. Check the CDC website for the most up to date information.
If you are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. Permanent Resident, you will need to determine the best visa option for your visit to the Simons Center.
If you are not sure which visa you need, please see the chart below.
You may also find the following links helpful:
- U.S. Visas Website
- Visa Waiver Program
- National Academies Visa Site
- American Physical Society Visa Information for international visitors especially about delays.
Honorarium Rule (“9-5-6”)
Foreign nationals in B-1, B-2, WB, and WT status may accept an honorarium and/or reimbursement of travel expenses under the following conditions:
- For “usual academic activity or activities”
- 9 days or less at Stony Brook University
- The individual has accepted such payment from no more than 5 educational or research institutions (including Stony Brook Univesity) in the previous 6-month period.
|Visa Type||Travel Expenses||Honorarium||Comments|
|B-1 (‘business visitor’)||YES||YES*||Please be sure to declare your U.S. visit as “Business”, not “Tourism.” If you have a visa, be sure the Immigration official marks B-1 (not B-2) on your I-94 card/visa entry stamp. The correct classification is extremely important; If you receive an *Honorarium: The ‘9-5-‘6 rule applies.
Consider getting a B-1 visa if you will be here for more than 3 weeks
|B-2 (tourist)||YES max nine (9) working days||YES max nine (9) working days||You will not be able to receive travel reimbursement for more than nine (9) working days if you have a “B-2” mark on your I-94 card/visa entry stamp. Please see ‘9-5-6’ rule. Programs (not workshops) require our visitors to come for a minimum of 2 weeks and therefore, a B-2 is not the appropriate visa to visit on. Coming on a B-2 visa for a program visit will prevent you from receiving travel reimbursement.|
|WB (WB mark)‘waiver of business’||YES||YES*||*For Honorarium – max 9 (nine) working days. For Travel expenses: The ‘9-5-6’ rule does not apply.|
|WT (WT mark)‘tourist status’||YES *max nine (9) working days||YES *max nine (9) working days||Please note: you will not be able to receive travel reimbursement for more than nine (9) working days if you have a “WT” mark on your I-94 card/visa entry stamp. Please see ‘9-5-6’ rule. Programs (not workshops) require our visitors to come for a minimum of 2 weeks and therefore a “WT” is not the appropriate visa to visit on. Coming on a “WT” for a program visit will prevent you from receiving travel reimbursement.|
|F-1 Student||YES||NO||Travel expenses only|
|J-1||YES*||YES*||*Will need a letter from sponsoring agency, signed by a “Responsible” or “Alternate Responsible Officer” granting permission for specific activity and payment.**J-1 (“Exchange Visitor, Short Term”) is needed for payment for more than 9 working days. The J1 visa holder may not have accepted such payment from more than 5 institutions in the previous 6-month period – see ‘9-5-6’ rule.|
|H-1B/O-1/TN||YES||NO||Travel expenses only|
|‘9-5-6’ rule: Visitor will not perform services for more than nine (9) working days, and will not receive such payments from more than five (5) institutions in a six (6) month period.|
** Important things to remember when entering the U.S **
– Please bring your invitation letter with you during your travels so that you may establish your Simons Center visit dates should you be asked by the Immigration official.
– If you applied for a B-1 visa, you may notice that your visa says B-1/B-2 when you receive it from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. When you arrive in the U.S., please be sure that the Immigration official marks your I-94 card or entry stamp for business (B-1). It is very important that you review what has been marked before you leave the Immigration station, as we will not be able to reimburse travel expenses for more than nine (9) working days if you have a B-2 mark.
– If you are planning on entering the U.S. through the Visa Waiver Program (VWP or ESTA), please see the information below regarding the Visa Waiver Program. Please be sure the Immigration official marks your I-94 card or entry stamp WB ‘business waiver.’ It is crucial that you do not get the WT ‘tourist waiver’ if your Simons Center visit exceeds nine (9) working days as there is a restriction on the WT tourist status for the period of reimbursement.
Please note: Due to the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015, previous VISA rules have changed.
If you have traveled to Syria, Sudan, Iran and/or Iraq within the past 5 years, you may require a Visa and an interview from a US Consulate or Embassy, in addition to applying through ESTA (Some exceptions apply on a case by case basis).
Please see the link below for more information (Be sure to click the “Important Notice” link). Should this Act affect you, please be sure that you leave yourself ample time to make an appointment with a U.S. Consulate or Embassy.
Visa waiver program information (VWP / ESTA)
With stays of 90 days or less visitors from participating countries may be eligible to enter the U.S. on the visa waiver program. This means it is not necessary to obtain a visa stamp from an American Consulate. For a list of participating countries, please click here: United States Department of State Visa Waiver Program. You may be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program if:
- your total visit does not exceed 90 days
- you have a valid passport
- you have a return trip ticket (to any foreign destination other than a territory bordering the U.S., unless you are a resident there).
If you are eligible to enter the U.S. under the terms of the waiver program, then the Simons Center is able to reimburse you for travel and local expenses for a period of up to 90 days without a visa as long as your I-94 card/visa entry stamp is marked for business status (WB).
Please be sure to visit the Waiver Program website above as there are certain requirements that must be met and you may need to have ESTA Authorization before your visit.
If you have any further questions in regards to visas, please contact Melissa Wessler (email@example.com).