Certain kinds of “business” related travel, is permitted using a B-1 visitor visa. The definition of “business” under immigration law is limited, and does not generally allow for gainful employment, labor for hire or productive activity such as operating a business or consultancy work. Specifically, in the applicable U.S. law, the term “business” is limited to the negotiation of contracts, consultation with business associates, litigation, and participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature.
A B-1 visa is always issued together with a B-2 visa and is called B-1/B2. It embodies two different reasons for travel. The first is business and second is pleasure or medical. Every country including European Union member states must apply for a visa for the U.S. if they intend to stay for more than 90 days.
Frequently Asked Questions about B-1 Visas
What Type of Business is the B-1 Visa Suitable For?
(Just some of the classifications)
- Participants to attend scientific, educational, professional, business, or religious conventions.
- Persons to work on specific projects in the U.S. and paid by a foreign employer.
- Business professionals to participate in commercial transactions (which do not involve gainful employment) such as negotiating contracts and consulting with business associates.
- Persons to undertake independent studies such as feasibility studies, market research or any such activity.
- Persons to attend professional or business conferences, workshops, or seminars.
- Business professionals to explore possibilities to set up a subsidiary of a foreign corporation, or to make investments.
- Technical personnel to install or service equipment pursuant to a contract of sale, or to provide after sales service.
- Business professionals to attend meetings as a member of the Board of Directors of a U.S. corporation.
- Professionals to conduct business consultations with business associates in the U.S.
- Purchasing agents of a foreign employer to come to the U.S. to procure goods, components, or raw materials for use outside the U.S.
- Foreign business persons coming to the U.S. in conjunction with litigation.
- U.S. companies to bring foreign business consultants for training or expert advice.
- U.S. universities to bring foreign guest speakers or lecturers.
What are the Privileges of a B-1 Visa?
Other than business activities like attending meetings, conventions, business negotiations, tourism purposes etc., a person is also entitled to use the visa for short-term training or a company course provided the sponsoring company from the home country is committed to bearing the expenses.
What are the Limitations of a B-1 Visa?
The U.S. immigration law strictly restricts B-1 visa holders to seek employment or to work in the U.S. and the visitor is not allowed to start any program of study.
How Long can Someone Stay in the U.S. on a B-1 Visa?
They may stay in the U.S. on B-1 visa between six months to one year depending on the purpose of the trip.
What are the Categories the B-2 Visa is Suitable For?
- Tourists on a pleasure trip to the U.S.
- People visiting friends and relatives in the U.S.
- People coming to the U.S. for medical treatment
- Foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to marry a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder, upon establishing to the consular official and the USCIS that after the marriage, they will depart from the U.S., even though intending ultimately to immigrate
- Amateur athletes, musicians etc. who participate in their respective activities in the U.S. without remuneration
- Dependents of alien members of the U.S. armed forces temporarily assigned duty in the U.S.
- B-1 visa holders solely to accompany the principal foreign national
- Persons to enter the U.S. to apply for special naturalization benefits on the basis of U.S. military service
- U.S. citizens, green card holders and non-immigrant visa holders to invite their friends and relatives to the U.S.
What Else do Individuals Who Apply for Either B-1 or B-2 Visas Have to Show?
- That they plan to remain in the U.S. for a specific, limited period
- Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the U.S
- Evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad that would assure their return
- Evidence of a residence outside the U.S
What are the Requirements for B-2 Visas Issued for Medical Treatment?
- A diagnosis from your local physician
- A letter from a U.S. physician or medical facility willing to treat the ailment