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florsaff

Special kind of internship - B-1 visa?

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Hello everyone. I am from Brazil and I have a b1-b2 visa valid for 10 years. I landed an unpaid summer internship in the US, that lasts 3 weeks. The internship consist on academic training on philosophy and office training on how to conduct oneself in an office-academic enviorment. The "academic" part consists of discussions and lectures on philosophy, like a seminar. It provides a "scholarship" that it actually is a travel stipend to cover expenses of traveling and other trip-related expenses. The internship is described as a TRAINING program, so I would NOT be working for the institute that gave me the internship and I would not be involved in any kind of productive work for them.

Thing is, I have done tons of research and this internship does not fall under any of the existing visa categories, except b-1 in my opinion, for the following reasons: it is not connected to my university in any way (it's not an exchange program) and does not provide any credits and it is not necessary to complete a course of study in my home country. So I think the J1 visa is not a possibility. Also, it's only 3 weeks long, although it's mon - fri form 9am to 4 pm (+18 hours a week). Also, the institute that provides the internship is not a college and is not dedicated to educational purposes primarly, and therefore is not recognized by the department of state (correct me if I'm wrong on the names, I have read so many things everywhere that I'm confused), so they are not able to sponsor visas.

I read that universities like Columbia and IC Davis advise students on short-term trainings to get a b-1 visa. Thing is, the internship I am doing is called internship but in reality is more like a training. I am very confused about this. I can not get a visa that requires the institute to sponsor me, and they say they can not advise me on what visa to use for legal reasons, although they made it clear that they have had foreigners do the internship before so it is possible. The only thing they can do for me is issue a letter for me to present to the port of entry officer that saysthat I will be involved in the internship.I read the following on the internet: The US Department of State’s website says, “In certain circumstances, some activities that are done on exchange visitor visas are also permitted on business (B-1) or tourist (B-2) visas. Short periods of study, or study which is recreational, and not vocational, and incidental to the trip, is permitted on a visitor visa.” Would this work for me? I am scared that I might get rejected at the port of entry. I read the training/internship thingy on b1 visa is a grey area and that it pretty much depends on the interpretation of the immigration officer I meet at the port of entry. If he/she considers the internship to be work or formal study, I'm doomed.

can anybody please help me? Thank you!

Sorry for my english BTW.

Edit: I forgot to mention I would also be travelling by car in the same state where the internship takes place, on weekends and for 5 days after the internship is over.

Edited by florsaff

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B-1/B-2 seems the way to go.


May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

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Medical folk also come in for short term training on b1.

as to the stipend, thats money, and i'm stumped.


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Don't think the stipend is going to be a problem as long as the amount is not too much in excess of the expenses (ie, it's not a salary). This is like having a business trip with expenses paid. Foreign prospective students often use B visas to visit campuses with all expenses paid by the university.

I'd actually recommend for you to have them pay directly for the tickets/rental/hotel and give you any monies as a small per-diem. Alternatively get the money and save your receipts for future reference, but that's just being extra cautious. I think you'll be fine.

Edited by blahblahblog

May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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Seems very odd that they wil pay you but not comment on the visa, J came to my mind, but not every situation has an appropriate visa category.

Wonder what the tax implications are.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Regarding tax implications, I am required to fill a W-9 form before they give me the money. I am not sure if I can fill a W-9 though since I am not a resident of the US and I won't be working. am I correct? I would need a social security number i believe.. Which i obvously don't have. Does anybody know how travel stipends are usually paid under b-1 visa, regarding tax implications? Thank you everyone, your responses so far where really helpful.

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Exactly the issue.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Oh. If they want to pay you and use a W-9 to pay you, then I don't you can use the B-1.

They way I understand universities do here is to file reimbursements and per diem of visitors as business expenses. The amount of money needs obviously to be proportional to the claimed expense.


May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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The travel stipend covers my plane ticket and very unexpensive accomodation.

Is there any visa I can apply to (other than b1/b2) that doesn't involve any paperwork from the institute i'll be doing the internship in? I am so lost in this process... Maybe I'm missing a visa type that would be suitable for this? What really shocks me is that it has got to be a visa that does not involve ANY paperwork from the institute (other than an invitarion letter), that I can get 100% by myself.. Other international students have done this in the past with either b-1 or another visa, so it can be done. Question is HOW.

(I asked but they won't get me in touch with former international interns to asked them how the did it)

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What is really weird is that they are being so secretive, this is NOT normal.

You need something with work authorisation, but for such a short period unless you have it through another route nothing comes to mind.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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The secretive aspect is also weird for me. The "they say they can not advise me on what visa to use for legal reasons" is red-flaggy for me.


May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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There has been no request for you to pay anything?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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There is some info on UNM's policy for paying foreign people: http://taxation.unm.edu/foreign-nationals-info/payments-to-foreign-nationals.html. There is a W-8EN form that can be filled for payments to foreign nationals and you may want to check instructions about it or talk with the institute.


May 29th, 2015 - Sent AOS package

June 1, 2015 - Package received by USCIS

June 4, 2015 - Biometrics Fee Accepted

June 20, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment Letter Received

June 30, 2015 - Biometrics Appointment

August 6, 2015 - I-131 approved

August 6, 2015 - Your card was ordered

August 7, 2015 - I-765 approved

August 20, 2015 - EAD received

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UPDATE: turns out I am not required to fill a W-9 form, I need to fill a W-8BEN form instead. Does anybody know if this form is compatible with the B-1 Visa?

Thank you all!

EDIT: Sorry blahblahblog I hadn't see you reply when I posted. It looks like it could work, although it doesn't mention what kind of Visa that form is valid for. I am very scared of signing it and then have problems because I can not use a B-1 visa for that, and therefore being deported or banned in the future.

Edited by florsaff

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