B-1 Visitor for Business Visa

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The B-1 visa is for a temporary business visitor to conduct activities of a commercial or professional nature. For example, you can use it to consult with business associates, negotiate a contract, or attend a business conference in the United States.  You can also meet with investors, have business meetings, set up a company, or lease an office

How do I apply?

You can apply for a B-1 visitor visa at your local U.S. consular post. Please visit the Department of State website for the most up-to-date information on your local consular post to see if it is open and what the wait time is for a view interview. You can also retain an attorney to manage this process for you.

Am I eligible?

You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, such as:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
  • Settling an estate
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Conducting research

In order to qualify, you must demonstrate the following:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature
  • You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time
  • You have sufficient funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States
  • You have a residence outside the United States that you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties that will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit
  • You are otherwise admissible to the United States

What is the process?

You will need to complete the DS-160 application and schedule an interview with the consulate. Once you have attended your interview and have obtained your B-1 visa stamp, you can legally enter the U.S. as a B-1 business visitor. A B-1 visitor stay is usually granted for up to six months at a time.

The B-1 Visa is available for individuals who want to come to the United States for business activities, such as attending a scientific conference, consulting with business associates or negotiating a contract.

If you are granted admission to the U.S. under a B-1 Visa, you will be allowed to stay for 6 months. You could apply for a 6-month extension. If you want to enter the U.S. for pleasure as a tourist, you should apply for a B-2 Visa.

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Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must prove that they want to come to the U.S. for business activities that are allowed under the B-1 visa. They cannot do “hands-on” work or get paid by a U.S. source while on a B-1 Visa.

Applicants must show that they:

  • Intend to stay in the U.S. for only for a short time.
  • Will conduct allowable business activities while in the U.S.
  • Have enough funds to cover expenses while in the U.S. without resorting to local employment.
  • Retain ties to their home country and intend to return to their residence there.

Some examples of the work individuals can perform under a B-1 visa:

  • A tailor comes to the U.S. to take measurements of customers and then brings the information back to Hong Kong to produce suits.
  • A salesperson from a computer manufacturer comes to the U.S. to meet with a client to show a prototype, discuss specifications, and visit the client’s worksite to analyze how the products would integrate.
  • Individuals travel for a business meeting; engage in commercial transactions; negotiate contracts; consult with business associates; litigate; participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or conduct independent research.

A spouse and dependent children must apply separately for a B-1 visa for pleasure visitors if they intend on joining the B-2 visa holder.

Application Process

Foreign nationals from certain countries who are seeking a B-1 visa may be able to enter the U.S. without a visa.

Applicants for an B-1 visa must apply at a U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. The following steps may vary depending on location. Generally, applicants must:

  • Complete the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160, which requires a photo of the candidate. The application confirmation page must be printed out.
  • Pay the application fee before the visa interview. An additional visa issuance fee may be charged in some countries when the visa is approved.
  • Schedule a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in their home country. During the interview, a consular officer will determine whether the candidate is qualified to receive the visa.

If you are in the U.S. on another valid nonimmigrant visa, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status.  To change to a B-1 visa, you must file a Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Form DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application

Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) if applying to change to B-1 status