Individuals from around the world visit UIC each year. Knowing which type of visa is appropriate for a visitor, how to invite someone, and the allowable activities during their time in the U.S. and at UIC, are essential for a successful international visit.
The Office of International Services advises internationals and departments on visas for official visits to UIC. OIS cannot advise on visas for family or friends visiting the U.S. or UIC in an unofficial capacity. Please see below for more information and connect with OIS if you have questions.
Initiating an official visit to UIC Heading link
If you are interested in visiting UIC for a short-term period in WB or B-1 status, please communicate directly with the UIC Department you wish to visit. If they are able to accommodate the visit, your UIC department will provide you with an invitation letter you will need to present upon entry to the U.S.
UIC Department Administrators can find more information about inviting official visitors to the U.S. in the Guide to Hiring & Inviting Foreign Nationals.
If you are interested in participating in a medical clerkship or rotation, please contact the College of Medicine’s Office of International Education.
Visa recommendations & considerations for official visitors to UIC Heading link
OIS strongly advises that individuals entering the U.S. for an official visit to UIC utilize a business visa (B-1/WB) and not a tourist visa (B-2/WT). The U.S. Department of State provides an overview of the different visitor visa categories and instructions on how to apply.
Allowable activities for a Temporary Visitor for Business (B-1/WB)
- Meet with business associates.
- Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars.
- Undertake independent research.
- Participate in a medical clerkship.
Additional considerations for B-1/WB visitors to UIC
- Visit cannot constitute work, nor benefit UIC.
- Study is not permitted.
- Please review the definition of volunteering for immigration purposes.
- Cannot receive a salary or formal academic appointment while at UIC.
- Potentially eligible for academic honoraria, or reimbursements of incidental expenses, only.
- No direct, or indirect patient contact, or interaction with research subjects in any manner.
- Use of department equipment/resources only under supervision of department sponsor.
- You must abide by the intent of your visit throughout your stay in the U.S.
- If currently in the U.S. in B-2/WT, will need to travel and re-enter. Cannot change status to B-1/WB in U.S.
- Before beginning your visit on campus, you need to check in with OIS.
Comparing the B-1 and WB option
As stated above, OIS strongly advises that individuals entering the U.S. for an official visit to UIC utilize a either a B-1 business visa or the WB visa waiver program. You will need to select the option that best suites your situation and timeline for your visit.
- Requires a valid B-1 visa stamp in passport; Canadians are visa-exempt.
- 6-month maximum visit.
- May request extension or change of status.
- Once entered in U.S., I-94 will indicate one of the following: B1 or Visitor for Business.
WB (Visa Waiver Program)
- Must be a citizen or national of a VWP designated country.
- Must enroll in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to travel
- No visa stamp in passport required.
- 90-day maximum visit.
- No extension or change of status allowed.
- Once entered in U.S., I-94 will indicate one of the following: WB or Visitor for Business.
Visas for unofficial visitors Heading link
At some point, a family member or friend may decide to visit you in the U.S., perhaps for your graduation or another significant event. This situation does not constitute an official business visit, and therefore, a tourist visa (B-2/WT) would be most appropriate. Additionally, OIS cannot advise on visas for unofficial visits.
Your friend or family member can learn about the tourist visa at the U.S. Department of State, including which option, B-2 or WT, would suit them best and general application steps. They will then need to visit the website or their nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to confirm their specific application process and documents based on their location.
You may feel compelled to support their application with an invitation letter or other documentary evidence of your status in the U.S. While this is typically not necessary, we understand the urge to support your loved one through an unfamiliar process. Feel free to write an invitation letter to your family or friend, including the date of the event they wish to attend but please know that OIS cannot write invitation letters on your behalf. You could also send them copies of your immigration documents, a Student Status Verification Letter issued by OIS, or transcripts from the Registrar to further document your valid status in the U.S.