B Visa for Clerkships and Internships

Visitors to the United States (B Visa) can enter for many reasons. Citizens of most foreign countries require a visitor visa prior to entry while some foreign nationals are visa-exempt or can participate in the visa waiver program. In any case, prior to entry to the United States as a visitor, you need to be certain that your intended activities fall within the limits of the B visa. We discuss entering the United States for clerkships and internships below.

Can I obtain a B visa for my clerkship or internship?

They are certain exceptions for entering the United States for clerkships.  Hands-on clerkships or employment in the United States are not allowed on a B visa, except for the following:

  • Medical Clerkship:  An applicant who is studying at a foreign medical school and seeks to enter the United States temporarily to take an “elective clerkship” at a U.S. medical school’s hospital without remuneration from the hospital.  The medical clerkship is only for medical students pursuing their normal third- or fourth-year internship in a U.S. medical school as part of a foreign medical school degree.  An “elective clerkship” affords practical experience and instructions in the various disciplines of medicine under the supervision and direction of faculty physicians at a U.S. medical school’s hospital as an approved part of the applicant’s foreign medical school education.  It does not apply to graduate medical training, which is restricted by INA 212(e) and normally requires a J-visa.
  • Business or other Professional or Vocational Activities:  An applicant who is coming to the United States merely and exclusively to observe the conduct of business or other professional or vocational activity may be classified B-1, provided the applicant pays for their own expenses.  However, applicants, often students, who seek to gain practical experience through on-the-job training or clerkships must obtain either an H1B visa, an L1 Visa, or the appropriate J-1 exchange visitor visa.  

What else should I know about B-1 Visas?

Here are some other important things to know if you are considering applying for a B-1 Visa.

  • Your spouse and children are not eligible for a dependent visa. Each of your dependents who will be accompanying or following to join you must apply separately for a B-2 visa and must follow the regulations for that visa.
  • An individual on a B-1 Visa or B-2 Visa is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.
  • There is no guarantee you will be issued a B-1 or B-2 visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
  • A valid US visa in an expired passport is still valid. Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.

How long can I stay in the US as a Canadian Visitor?

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