US Business Visitors (B1)
Applying for a US visitor visa allows a foreign national to temporarily enter the USA in order to conduct a variety of business based activities, but the foreign national is not authorized to engage in actual gainful employment. Find out how to get your American visa for business by taking the online assessment:
Global Visas understands that US visas are complicated, which is why we offer a free assessment to help you determine the ideal US visa for your needs. Click on the above link to take the assessment online.
US immigration on a temporary basis through the B1 class, also known as a "Visitor for Business" visa, allows a candidate to enter the USA for a typical maximum duration of 6 months; however in most cases the total validity period of the B1 visa period is anywhere from 1 to 10 years during which time the bearer can make multiple trips to the United States.
An applicant’s visitation duration period on a given visit is determined by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer at a U.S. port of entry and is dictated by a stamp on the applicant’s I-94 card. An applicant is required to depart the U.S. by the date mandated on the I-94 card.
Whilst applicants are prohibited from working in the USA, the following business related activities are permitted:
- An applicant from a foreign branch of a U.S. company may migrate to the USA to consult with the company.
- An applicant from a foreign-based company may come to the USA to engage in temporary business on behalf of a foreign employer such as attending conventions, conferences, or consultations; managing sales/purchases; negotiate contracts; or performing other legitimate activities of a commercial, scientific, educational, or professional nature.
- Applicants may also consult with business associates or undertake independent research.
- Applicants may enter the U.S. in order to make an investment or open a U.S. branch of a foreign company. This extends to activities performed prior to starting a business, e.g. opening bank accounts and obtaining office space.
- Applicants who are professional athletes and who will not be earning a salary in the USA may enter on a B1.
Additional Information - B1 in lieu of H1B
In limited circumstances a B1 visa may be granted "in lieu" of an H1-B. This may occur where the work in question would normally require an H1B visa but the applicant's salary is paid by a non-US source (except for an expense allowance or reimbursement for incidental expenses). Where visas of this kind are issued the requirements are:
- The work being undertaken must be H1-B level - a "speciality occupation".
- The applicant must be permanently employed and paid by a company outside the US.
- The applicant must have a suitable relevant Bachelor's Degree, or higher, to undertake the work.
The Visa Waiver Program
The USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows nationals of participating countries to enter the United States for a period of up to ninety days without a visa, if they are in possession of a machine-readable passport and a non-refundable return ticket or a ticket to a subsequent destination, with the exception of Canada.
Applicants entering the county through the Waiver program are subject to the same restrictions as those entering on a visitor visa. At present, the following countries participate in the program:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The United Kingdom.
Please note: since January 12, 2009, all nationals and citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries - including the UK - are required by law to obtain a travel authorization prior to travelling to the United States under the VWP.
Travellers can register for authorization online through ESTA, a free Internet application administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through a U.S. government Web site. All UK citizens planning to travel to the U.S. in the future are encouraged to apply now. ligible visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the VWP may apply for travel authorization via the ESTA website.
Spouse immigration and Dependent Immigration
In America, B1 visas are not regarded as potential routes to permanent residency or US citizenship; they are specifically designed for temporary visits to fulfil a pre-determined purpose.
Spouses and dependents cannot obtain a "Dependant Visa" to accompany the principle holder, but they may be able to secure a B2 in order to do so. In cases where a B2 holder's dependents are applying to join the principle, they must qualify for and obtain their own grant. Find out further information on our US F-1 Academic Student Visa page.