WB (Visa Waiver Program)

WB (Visa Waiver Program)

Some visitors coming to the United States for short business visits can enter without needing to obtain a U.S. visa. This is referred to as the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all travelers from VWP countries are eligible to use the program. To be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, individuals must obtain preauthorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before departing for the U.S.

Individuals self-petition to enter the U.S. on the VWP. This means that the IPO does not formally sponsor individuals in this immigration classification. However, as described below, the sponsoring Department must provide an invitation letter to describe the individual’s visit to UMass Amherst.

Allowable Activity on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

Visitor may engage in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions/conferences, or to undertake independent research. NOTE: VWP visitors may NOT study or work, work as foreign press, radio, film, journalists, or other information media, or gain permanent residence in the U.S.


90-days or less. Extensions are not permitted.

Other Requirements

Obtain the necessary authorization via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and have a non-transferable, non-refundable round-trip ticket to/from the U.S.

WB Visa Program

International visitors coming under the VWP must have a letter of invitation from their host department to present to a U.S. immigration inspector at the airport when they enter the country. The invitation letter must state the purpose of the visit, the dates of the visit, and that no salary will be paid by UMass Amherst. [If the visitor will be receiving an honorarium, the visit may not exceed nine (9) days. The letter should include a statement such as "In order to receive this honorarium you have indicated that you have not accepted similar payments from more than five institutions in the past six-month period, per INA Section 212(8 U.S.C. 1182) (q)." 

Prior to your visitor’s arrival on campus and to ensure that the Office of Research Compliance completes a screening and export control review, please follow the non-UMass sponsored visitor procedure below.  

Log in to UMass VIP, go to Departmental Services, add a new person to start a request, then pick the Non-UMass Sponsored International Visitor Screening Task. You will need to upload the documents below to the e-form prior to submitting it. 

At the discretion of the U.S. immigration inspector, the international visitor’s passport will be stamped with the date of entry and marked with the notation "WB" (Visitor for Business), and they will then be permitted to engage in the appropriate business activity while in the United States. International visitors who do not present an appropriate letter of invitation from UMass Amherst may alternatively be admitted as "WT" (Visitor for Tourism) and may not receive an honorarium at UMass Amherst.

A U.S. employer may legally provide the VWP visitor with a subsistence allowance (per diem) or reimbursement for expenses incidental to the visit (travel and living expenses).

At UMass Amherst, a VWP visitor may be given a short-term, non-salaried appointment provided that these guidelines are followed. If the visitor will be here for more than nine days and will receive an honorarium or other payment for services, the only option is the J-1 short-term scholar status. 


  • Allowable activity: Usual academic activities
  • Duration of activity eligible for honorarium: No more than nine (9) days
  • Other restrictions: the individual may not have accepted similar payments from more than five (5) institutions during the previous six (6) months. UMass Amherst's interpretation of this section of the Act [INA Section 212(8 U.S.C. 1182) (q)] is that honoraria payments are limited to a maximum of five (5) visits in a six (6)-month period, each visit lasting no longer than nine (9) days, at UMass Amherst and/or other U.S. institutions.

UMass Amherst's Controller's Office is required to withhold 30% of the honorarium payment for tax purposes if the individual does not possess a Social Security Number or Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). If the individual wishes to claim tax treaty benefits, he/she must have a Social Security or Taxpayer Identification Number. For departments wishing to give an honorarium please visit the Controllers’ website for more information.

Departments will request university NENS credential access for their non-UMass sponsored international visitors through UMass Information Technology (IT) using this link and must select the category INTCM -International Guest on Campus from the list of NENS account types. Departments will be prompted to upload the screenshot of their initial screening approval email from IPO.

Note that if you do not have the approval email from our office (i.e. you did not complete and submit the non-UMass sponsorship screening e-form), you will be instructed to follow up with us.

Please remember to cancel or amend NENS account if your visitor experiences a delay in arriving on campus or chooses to no longer visit campus.