B-1 Visa Business Visitors
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. The vast majority of non-immigrant visa applications received at the US Embassy are for tourism or business travel. B1 visas are for business, including such things as a need to consult with business associates, negotiate a contract, buy goods or materials, settle an estate, appear in a court trial, and participate in business or professional conventions or conferences. Or, where an applicant will be traveling to the United States on behalf of a foreign employer for training or meetings. The individual may not receive payment (except for incidental expenses) from a United States source while on a B1 visa.
While in the US as a business visitor, an individual may:
The following activities require a working visa, and may not be carried out by business visitors:
- Conduct Negotiations
- Solicit sales or investment
- Discuss planned investment or purchases.
- Make investments or purchases
- Attend Meetings, and participate in them fully.
- Interview and hire staff.
- Conduct research.
B1 can be converted into an H1-B. The H1-B employer should file a change of status application from B1 to H1-B, with the USCIS. It is recommended that you wait at least 60 days after entry to file the H1-B application because if it is done earlier, the USCIS might feel that you used the B1 solely for the purpose of finding employment and this a violation of the B1 visa rules. You cannot work for any employer without authorisation. Also, you cannot have a full-time H1-B with one company and part-time with another. They both have to be part-time positions.
- Running a business.
- Gainful employment.
- Payment by an organization within the US.
- Participating as a professional in entertainment or sporting events.
Qualifying for a Visa
Applicants for visitor visas must show that they qualify under provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The presumption in the law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant. Therefore, applicants for visitor visas must overcome this presumption by demonstrating that:
- The purpose of their trip is to enter the U.S. for business, pleasure, or medical treatment;
- They plan to remain for a specific, limited period; and
- They have a residence outside the U.S. as well as other binding ties which will insure their return abroad at the end of the visit.
You can apply for a B-1 visa at the Consular Office of the Embassy in your region http://usembassy.state.gov/ or use one of the following options:
- Authorized travel agencies: Travel agencies approved by the U.S. Embassy in your region or nation may submit visa applications for you.
- The VIP Business Program: Your enterprise can register with the VIP Business Program if it repeatedly sends employees to the U.S. Your appearance may be waived, if your application was submitted by an approved business.
- By drop box: Individuals who travel extensively, or have recently received a validated visa, may use the drop box in the embassy or consulate. Applications at drop boxes should be completed before traveling.
To apply for a B-1 Visa, you must provide the following documents:
You may also be asked to provide the following documents:
- A filled-in visa application Form OF-156. Separate applications for each person are required.
- A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
- Two recent photographs 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
- Evidence backing up the purpose of your trip. You may show a letter sent by the company explaining the purpose and length of the trip.
- Specific and realistic plans describing why you wish to visit the U.S. A copy of a tour itinerary is usually acceptable.
- Information about the company, like a company brochure or catalog.
- A letter which states that either the firm intends to pay for all cost, or that you have other funds for this trip.
- Demonstration of non-immigrant intent: round-trip air tickets, letter from your work, business, own land, house or apartment leases