Visitor visas are needed for individuals who want to enter the United States for the purposes of medical treatment, pleasure or business. There are two major categories of visas. These are the B-1 and B-2 visas. Visitors who want to enter the United States for business purposes need to obtain a B-1 visa. For medical treatment or pleasure, a B-2 visa is needed. In practice, the B-1 visas are commonly issued along with B-2 visas. The B-1 category isn’t intended for the purpose of study, but is intended for a legitimate business trip to the United States.
B-1 Visas – Requirements and Qualifications
Federal law outlines specific requirements and guidelines for any professional who is seeking a B-1 business visitor visa. Interested professionals should always work with legal professional to ensure that their case is being interpreted correctly. Standard requirements for a B-1 visa can include:
• The primary purpose of their trip into the United States is meant for business
• They’re planning to remain in the country for a limited, specific period of time
• They must show evidence that they have enough money to cover all trip expenses, which might include living, accommodation and travel expenses. If they cannot prove they have adequate funds, they must show evidence that an employer will provide financial support
• They must prove they have economic and social ties abroad, and they have a residence located outside of the United States. In other words, they must prove they intend to return to their home country and don’t intend to abandon their foreign residence
• The alien is not planning to engage in unskilled or skilled labor or study. They also cannot work as a representative for foreign film, radio, press or other type of media.
• The alien also cannot enter the U.S. and provide services or take part in any business activities for whom the primary beneficiary is a U.S. employer
Individuals who’re planning to temporarily enter the United States for legitimate business activities of a professional or commercial nature can apply for a B1 visa. Individuals who hold a B1 visa cannot receive compensation or salary from any source based in the United States. The only exception is reimbursement for incidental travel expenses.
Permissible Activities on a B-1 Visa
Activities that are permissible with a B-1 visa are purchasing supplies or inventory for a foreign employer, logging sales orders, taking part in commercial transactions that don’t involve gainful employment and negotiating transactions. Additional activities permissible under the B-1 visa are engaging in litigation and consulting with business associates. A B1 visa also allows for participation in professional, educational and scientific conferences or business conventions.
Common “specialized activities” or motivations for traveling to the US can include:
• To carry out duties like attending board meetings
• To take part in professional, educational or scientific conferences, seminars or business conventions or to conduct research
• To investigate the possibilities of creating a subsidiary for a foreign corporation or to take part in investment activities
• To carry out duties that would normally cause an individual to be qualified for H-1 status, but the alien wouldn’t be given remuneration from a source located within the United States
• For handling business activities, which could include hiring staff, interviewing, managing investments, soliciting sales or conducting negotiations.
• To repair, service or install machinery or equipment. This also includes training U.S. workers how to repair, service or install equipment or machinery that has been purchased outside of the U.S.
• To take part in any voluntary service program that benefits local communities within the United States. These are programs that are or have commitments to religious or nonprofit charitable organizations
• To take part in athletic events as a professional athlete who only gets remuneration from prize money that is won by the athlete
• To serve as a domestic or personal servant for another nonimmigrant who is on temporary assignment within the United States.
Application Process for Obtaining a B-1 Visa
Individuals who would like to apply for a B-1 visa should apply at the Consulate or American Embassy that has jurisdiction over the area they live in. Visa applicants have the option of applying to virtually any U.S. consular office, but it can be significantly more difficult to qualify for a visa when applying outside of their home country.
A part of the visa application process involves an interview at an embassy consular. However, individuals under the age of 13 or over the age of 80 are not required to participate in an interview, unless the consulate or embassy specifically requests an interview. The forms and documents discussed below must be submitted by every visitor visa applicant. Fees will most likely also be involved.
Supporting Evidence and Documentation
There are several important details and supporting documentation that should be understood by a B-1 visa applicant. Discussing your personal or your employee’s situation with an immigration lawyer is highly recommended before proceeding.Unless it has been cancelled previously, a visa should be good until the expiration date stated. If a traveler has a valid visa within an expired passport, the visa page should not be removed from the passport. It has the potential to be used with a new and valid passport for admission and travel into the United States. Additional important items to consider can include:
• Applicants must submit a nonimmigrant visa application, which is Form DS-156. They must also submit a letter with the application that is from the alien’s employer, which specifies the business purpose of the trip
• A nonimmigrant supplemental visa application, which is Form DS-157, must also be submitted
• A valid passport is also needed, and it must have an expiration date that is six months beyond the amount of time the applicant intends to stay in the United States. If the passport includes more than one individual, than both visa applicants must submit an application with a blank page
• Applicants must also submit two identical color photos, and the photos must show the applicant’s full face while wearing no head covering. The photos must be taken against a light background. A headdress may only be worn if it’s required by the applicant’s religious order
• Applicants also need to provide information that describes their company, such as annual reports, catalogs or brochures
• A copy of the applicant’s tour itinerary is also needed.
• Documentation that demonstrates the intention and ability of the alien, or documentation for the employer that shows valid support for the alien’s travel and related expenses
Satisfying Classification Requirements
Applicants are required to show that they’re lawfully classifiable as business visitors via:
• Evidence that demonstrates the purpose of the trip and intent to leave the U.S. after the trip is finished. They’ll also need to show arrangements that have been made to cover all expense related to the trip. Since the circumstances of applicants varies greatly, it’s nearly impossible to specify the proper documentation needed
• All applicants who cannot prove that they have enough money to support their stay in the United States will need to show compelling evidence that proves an interested party will provide the necessary financial support
• Although not always needed, applicants should bring all other documentation that substantiates the purpose of their trip to the United States. Documents that bind the individual to a foreign residence can be helpful. Documents that prove the individual is highly likely to return to their home country after their stay in the United States
• Visitors cannot accept any form of employment while staying in the United States
Extensions and Terms of Stay
B-1 visitors cannot stay for longer than one year and can be given incremental extensions of no more than six months at a time. However, there are some minor exceptions to this rule. The majority of B-1 admissions are only approved for the necessary period of time that is required to conduct business. In most cases, individuals aren’t permitted to stay longer than a period of three months.
It’s important to understand that a visa doesn’t always guarantee an individual will be able to enter the United States. Immigration authorities have the power to deny admission into the country, and they can determine the period of time an individual is allowed to stay in the United States.
An immigration official is required to authorize a traveler’s admission at the port of entry. During this process, the Form I-94 must be stamped. Also called the Record of Arrival-Departure, this form states the designated length of stay. Visitors who intend to stay longer than the time on their stamped form must contact and request Form I-539 from the USCIS, which is used to extend status. The USCIS has sole discretion in denying or granting a person’s request to stay longer in the United States.
Free Consultations Are Available!
Understanding the necessary qualifications for B-1 business visitor visas are essential for success. The immigration attorneys at KPPB Law are highly qualified to manage your b-1 visa case and can guide you through the entire process. We help educate our clients be providing free initial consultations by phone or at our office location before they move forward with their case.
Call our firm or contact our immigration attorneys online to set up a free consultation today!