I had my visa interview yesterday and my application is kept on hold because I went with a DS-160 form and applied for a B-1 visa, but the interviewer and their manager asked me to visit US consulate again with DS-2019 form for a J-1 visa for my purpose of visit.

My purpose is to visit as an observer and observe my professor's laboratory work to gain knowledge and experience, also in the meantime I'll be getting opportunity to attend seminars related to their work. I'm not getting paid, neither I'm paying anything for this trip. Also the institute I'm visiting is asking me to get a B-1 visa because it is only favouring their policy.

How can I proceed?

  • 2
    The institute has to comply with US policy, not what requires less from it and is more convenient.
    – Giorgio
    Dec 16, 2016 at 14:47
  • Actually my purpose of visit is just as an observer, I'm not gonna pay anything, neither I'll be getting paid. I'll just be observing the work of my professor. I'm visiting for just 6 months. That's why my institute is only allowing me to visit at b1 type of visa which is in favour of their policy. This is not a kind of internship, I'm just visiting my prof. That is why I think I'm eligible for b1 type of visa.
    – Saloni
    Dec 17, 2016 at 7:49
  • 4
    Observing a professor to gain knowledge and experience, and attending seminars all sounds like studying, and not just a short recreational course. Jan 2, 2017 at 10:56
  • 2
    You've been told to apply for a J-1 visa. Given that a J-1 visa is definitely appropriate to your visit, this doesn't seem to have been a mistake. So you proceed by getting a J-1 visa. I don't see any actual question, here. Note that, while a J-1 visa would allow you to be paid, it also allows you to not be paid. Jan 26, 2017 at 15:24
  • This question is, as far as I can tell, about a short-term visit. It's on-topic, here, but I think it should be closed as unclear. Jan 26, 2017 at 15:26

2 Answers 2


tl;dr: If you want the chance to be allowed in, apply for a J-1

The distinction between business activities (as allowed under a B-1 visa) and "work" (as requiring other types of visa) is blurred in everyday speech. For visas the differences are subtle and it is understandable that the visa type you believe is required is not the same as the visa type the US Consulate believe is required.

However, they are the ones that count because they have the authority to issue visas and they 'make' the rules. So you can either remain convinced a B-1 is all that is necessary - and have to manage without a visa - or you can do as the Consulate has suggested and apply for a J-1, assuming you wish to be allowed entry and be legal while in USA.


Actually you are correct that a B1 visa is all you need. Observations and attending one-time seminars (i.e. not recurring ones) qualifies as business, and not study.

However, in this case, what is correct by definition doesn't matter, because the consulate issues the visa; as such you have to go by their instructions.

So, if you want to get into the US, you have to apply for a J1 visa

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