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Business Immigration: Understanding the B-1 Visa

If you live abroad and are looking to engage in short-term business activities within the United States, you will likely need a visa (some individuals qualify for entry under their passport for short-term business visits but many require a visa stamp for such entries).  In such cases, the B-1 may be the best solution. This visa is categorized as a temporary business visitor and allows you to engage in a wide range of different activities, including the following:

  • Business consulting
  • Traveling for a specific convention related to science, education, or professional activities
  • Settling an estate
  • Negotiating contacts
  • Participating in training activities (defined as short term)
  • Flight crew ‘deadheading’ in the US

These are the most common activities that make sense for the B-1, but there are others as well.

Who is Eligible?

In order to qualify, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You are only planning on staying in the United States until a specific date
  • You have the money that is needed to pay for the trip as well as any expenses you incur while in the US
  • You plan on engaging in legitimate business activities while in the US, e.g., you will not be conducting local employment
  • You maintain a residence outside of the US (and don’t plan on abandoning it).
  • You have no restrictions that would prevent you from otherwise entering the United States.

It is important to note that unlike many other types of visas, your family is not eligible to qualify for a dependent visa under the B-1.  If you plan on traveling with a spouse and/or children, they must each apply and qualify for a B-2 visa.

How long can You Stay in the US?

The B-1 Visa is specifically set up as a temporary visa, and will normally require a set date that you will be leaving.  In most cases, visas are initially provided for one to six months from the date of arrival.  If necessary and if you qualify, an extension can be applied for that can allow you to stay for up to an additional six months.  This will allow you up to a maximum of one year in the US.

The B-1 Visa should be applied for and approved prior to entering the country, or making plans to enter.  Once approved, you can begin the process of arranging any business activities that are necessary.

Check out the infographic below for more information. And if you’d like to learn more about the B-1 Visa, or any other business immigration matters, I would be glad to help. Please contact me today to learn more!