Every year, thousands of people desire to move to the U.S temporarily for various reasons. A non-immigrant visa is issued to permit a foreigner to enter the country briefly for a particular purpose. If you’re going to the United States for business, you may qualify for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa.
However, there are specific requirements you must fulfill and documents you must provide to achieve a swift and favorable outcome. At the California Immigration Attorney, we can handle your application and fulfill your desire to travel in the United States.
Reach out to us for representation before a United States Consulate or Embassy to acquire your visa. Often, U.S consulate or embassy officials may deny you a visa because your supporting documents didn’t prove that you are eligible. Prevailing over denial can be difficult. Thus, it may be in your best interest for a skilled immigration lawyer to represent you. The attorney can present the best possible application and supporting documents.
Overview of the B Category Visas
The visitor visa is for people from nations that don’t have a visa waiver, who wish to come to the United States briefly for business reasons, receive medical care, or for pleasure. We have two types in this category: B-2 visa for medical treatment or pleasure and B-1 visa for business visitors. Typically, a B-1 visa and a B-2 visa are issued jointly.
Thus, if you have already obtained a B-2 visa that hasn’t expired yet, you can visit the U.S for your intended business trip. Even though utilizing the B class visas for study purposes isn’t permissible, some supplementary studies related to the reason for your visit to the U.S are permitted.
Qualifications to Obtain a B-1 Business Visitor Visa
The immigration law presumes all visitor visa applicants intend to stay as immigrants. Thus, if you are a B-1 visa applicant, you have to negate this assumption by proving that:
- The reason you are visiting the United States is for a valid business purpose.
- You intend to be in the United States for a definite, limited period.
- You have the cash to cover your costs for the period you will be in the country, including travel, living, and accommodation expenses during your stay. If you do not have enough money to fund your trip, you have to prove that your employer will give their support.
- You have compelling economic and social ties in your home country. That is, you have a home outside the United States and other binding ties that will ensure your return to your country once the period for your visit ends. You also have to show that you have a foreign residence that you don’t intend to abandon.
- You aren’t engaged in unskilled or skilled labor, work, or study as an agent of foreign radio, film, press, etc.
- You mustn’t be visiting the United States to render services or involve yourself in business affairs that are mainly to the advantage of a United States employer.
You want to consult an experienced immigration lawyer in your region if you seek to visit the United States for business reasons. The attorney can help review your case and tell you if you have all the qualifications to seek a B-1 business visitor visa.
Permissible Activities Under B-1 Business Visitor Visas
When you are a B-1 Business Visitor Visa holder, there are activities you’re prohibited from doing while in the United States. A B-1 business visitor visa permits you only to:
- Involve in commercial-related transactions and not gainful employment
- Purchase supplies or inventory or take sales orders for your foreign employer
- Work as a domestic or personal servant of a non-immigrant who’s on temporary duty in the country, for an American citizen on international transfer and has come to the country briefly, or a United States citizen who comes shortly to the country but resides abroad.
- Take part in athletics as a professional sportsperson. However, you won’t receive any salary. You will only receive the prize money you will win.
- Engage in litigation
- Engage in voluntary service programs that benefit a United States local community. Here, you have to show that you’re a member of and are committed to a specific recognized nonprofit or religious charitable organization.
- Service, repair, install, or train United States workers to service, repair, or install machinery or equipment purchased outside the States.
- Perform duties like attending board meeting as a member of the board of directors of a United States Company
- Perform professional tasks that would generally qualify you to obtain H-1 visa status except you wouldn’t receive any compensation from a United States source
- For business purposes, including conducting contract negotiations, consulting with a business associate, soliciting investment or sales, settling an estate, and interviewing & hiring staff.
- Explore the likelihood of creating a branch of an overseas company or investing.
- Take part in a brief training, business, professional, educational or scientific convections, seminars, conferences, or to do research.
- For Deadheading purposes: Certain aircrewmen can visit the U.S as deadhead crew on a B-1 Business Visitor visa
If you enter the U.S on a temporary business visitor visa, you can live in the States for up to six months. Visa extension is possible for a maximum total period of twelve months. The time approved for your staying period is written on the departure section of Form l-94, Arrival-Departure Record that’s issued to you together with your passport (stamped) after the inspecting Customs & Border Patrol officer has authorized your entry into the country.
Children and a spouse of a B-1 Business Visitor Visa holder aren’t eligible to acquire a dependent visa. Put otherwise, there’s no category of dependent visa for people who seek a business visa. Instead, every dependent that’ll be accompanying the business visa holder has to apply for a B-2 visa separately and must meet all the conditions for this visa.
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re a B-1 Business Visitor Visa holder, you cannot engage in or obtain any kind of employment in the country, even the jobs that need unskilled or skilled labor. You also can’t engage in construction or building work or enroll in a learning institution to study any course. However, there’s one exemption to the ban on involvement in construction or building work. That is, you are only allowed to take part if your participation is solely in training or supervising capacity that doesn’t involve a hands-on job.
Following a 2019 memorandum by President Trump, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security are devising policies to solve the B-2 and B-1 Visa overstay rate issues. The guidelines might affect the countries with a B-2 and B-1 overstay rate of over 10%, mostly African countries. These policies may involve additional proof supporting the applicant’s intention to travel back home, a bond that would be paid before entry and repaid on the day of departure, or restrictions on travel from these countries.
An important point to note is that if you’re from a visa waiver nation, you don’t have to obtain a B-1 visa to travel to the U.S for business. But suppose you wish to travel to the U.S temporarily as a business visitor to apply for an investor visa in the future, for instance. In that case, you have to first acquire the B-1 Business Visitor Visa before visiting. You may be allowed to change to a B-1 Visa status in various cases if you are already in the United States on a different visa. For this to be possible, you have to complete Form I-539, Application to Change/Extend Nonimmigrant Status.
The B-1 Business Visitor Visa Application Process
If you wish to apply for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa, you should do so at the United States Consulate or Embassy in your home country. Even though you can submit your application at any United States consular office overseas, it can be overly hard to be eligible for a visa outside your home country. Ultimate decisions are usually made at the consular official’s discretion.
Note that previous United States visa denial, willful misrepresentation, criminal history, inadmissibility, and fraud issues may lead to a visa denial. When you’re in doubt about what you should do, consult with an expert immigration lawyer before seeking your visa. And if any of the issues we have mentioned apply to you, you could still obtain a B-1 business visa by seeking a waiver.
Part of your application process is you will be interviewed at the consular section of the embassy. Persons below thirteen years and above eighty years generally don’t need to go through an interview except if the consulate or embassy requests them to do so.
Supporting Documents for the B-1 Business Visitor Visa Application
You have to submit documents to support your B-1 Business Visitor Visa application. The list below is of the various documentation you should include with your visa application papers. The list isn’t all-inclusive. Thus, you should discuss specific details relevant to your application with an experienced and licensed immigration lawyer exhaustively. Further documents could be necessary based on the specifics of your case. Some of the things you should submit are:
- A non-immigrant visa application form, i.e., Form DS-160. You should accompany this form with a letter from you and preferably your employer. These letters should specify business requirements. It should also include dates when the business conferences or meetings will occur, locations, and any particular legal arrangements that are in place as far as departing the U.S is concerned.
- A valid passport that will enable you to fly to the U.S. The passport should have a validity date of not less than six months beyond your projected period of staying in the If two or more people are included in this passport, each of them wishing to obtain a visa should complete and submit DS-160 and keep at least a blank page on the passport.
- Info describing the firm such as annual reports, catalogs, brochures, etc.
- A duplicate of the flight reservation showing your ultimate return to your home country
- A copy of the itinerary for the period of your visit if applicable
- Two duplicate color photos showing your full face against a light background. If you’re a member of a religious order and are required to put on a headdress, you can do so, but it mustn’t obscure your face.
- Documentation showing your intention or ability or your employer’s intent and ability to support your trip and other costs for the period you will be in the United States. Otherwise, you have to give your own financial documents showing that you’ll be capable of supporting yourself during your proposed stay (for instance, bank statements).
- S visas that you’ve obtained previously, if applicable.
- Provide documentation demonstrating your travel back to your country of residence to serve as evidence of your legal duties tying you to your country of residence. Examples of ties home are evidence of residence in your home country, plane reservation for a flight back to your country, academic enrollments, insurances, business ownership or business operations, assets ownership in your country, proof of family obligations, etc.
Note that unless formerly concealed, visas are valid until their expiration date. Thus, if your valid United States visa is in an already expired passport, don’t pluck the visa sheet from the passport. You can use it alongside a new authentic passport for travel & entry to the U.S.
You must prove that you’re properly classifiable as a business visitor under the United States law by:
- Providing proof showing the reason for your travel, intent to leave U.S, and arrangements in place to cover expenses concerning the trip. It isn’t possible to define the precise form your proof should take because applicants’ situations vary significantly.
- If you don’t have enough money to support yourself for the period you will be in the United States, you must provide convincing evidence to show an interested party will support you.
- Based on your situation, you may be required to present other documentation to support the reason for your trip and stating the specific binding obligations like employment or family ties, which would make you return home.
A visa doesn’t guarantee you entry to the U.S. The immigration office has the power to deny your entry and determine the period you are allowed to stay in the U.S. At the port of entry, the immigration official has to authorize your admission to the United States. At this time, Form l-94, which indicates the period of your permitted stay, is stamped.
Suppose you intend to be in the U.S beyond the period noted on your l-94 form. In that case, you have to reach out to the USCIS (the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) and ask for Form l-539 (Application to Change or Extend Nonimmigrant Status). Only the USCIS has the discretion to decide whether your request to extend your stay will be denied or granted.
Apart from the requirements we have mentioned above, you also need to pay an application fee before the interview. Further visa issuance charges may be requested in particular countries after the visa approval.
Premium processing (whereby the application is processed within fifteen calendar days) isn’t available in B-2 or B-1 applications. The time to process a visa varies. USCIS provides a wait-time schedule. In case you’re seeking an initial visa, the consulate may schedule an appointment for you in short order.
B-1 Instead Of H-1B
In specific limited cases, the United States Consulate may grant a B-1 Business Visitor Visa for a job that would usually require an H-1B Work Visa. This service can come in handy when a company based outside the U.S wants to send somebody to take on a specific and limited business assignment for a client based in the United States, or where an employee from a United States affiliate or subsidiary company is needed briefly. A B-1 Business Visitor Visa is significantly quicker and easier to acquire for these business purposes than the heavily oversubscribed H-1B visa. Our lawyers can advise you of this course of action and help you determine whether or not it applies in your case.
Benefits and Limitations of B-1 Business Visitor Visas
The B visas are acquired more quickly at embassies or consulates compared to other visas. They are also multipurpose. You can ultimately obtain a ten-year B-1 Business Visitor Visa rather than a six-month one. The State Department instructs consular officers to issue applicants the maximum period possible, depending on reciprocity.
If you are an Indian citizen, you can be granted a maximum of ten years. Generally, the first time you apply for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa, it’ll be for six months. During the second time of application, the officer will likely grant you a full ten-year visa. It may also be possible to seek a Green Card when on a B-1 Business Visitor Visa. However, this is usually a complicated matter and varies based on different circumstances.
A disadvantage of B-1 Business Visitor Visas is that status extensions in the United States are hard to obtain. If you seek an extension and stay beyond your l-94 end date, and then the extension is later denied, the ten-year visa will be revoked.
The Role of an Immigration Attorney in a B-1 Business Visitor Visa Application
As we have seen, applying for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa involves several requirements and many details. Thus, you may be overwhelmed if you go through the application process alone. It will be in your best interest to retain a skilled immigration attorney for help when submitting your application. An attorney comes in handy because:
They Will Help You Avoid Mistakes
Filing the correct paperwork is a critical part of your visa application process. The paperwork may be complicated and extensive for a layman like you. Therefore, without an attorney’s help, there’s a significant chance that you’ll make mistakes that could sink the entire application process permanently.
A skilled immigration lawyer can take you through the appropriate steps to submit all the required documentation without allowing errors that ruin your opportunity to conduct your business in the United States.
They Can Maneuver Visa Application Regulations
An excellent immigration attorney is an expert in all the procedural maneuvers necessary to obtain a visa. He/she will tell you precisely what you need to do and how you should do it to receive your visa. Maybe you would be capable of making it through the application on your own. Still, there is a high chance you have some information missing on your various papers that ties you up in the intricate regulatory system or causes your application to be rejected entirely. In this case, your lawyer may know how you could obtain the missing information or improve your chances of a successful application.
They Will Explain All Your Options to You
Regardless of your situation, you have options. Your lawyer can spell these options for you, ensuring you understand the full scope of your case. Whether you are inadmissible or something else is negatively affecting your process, your application process is sensitive and urgent. You need to understand the options you can take moving forward.
They’re Seasoned By Experience
One of the benefits of hiring an immigration attorney is that they’re up to date with and experienced in current immigration law changes. The aid of an expert that’s experienced in making your desire a reality can’t be understated. It is invaluable to retain a person who has done it before for hundreds of others in a similar position you are in now. It is one thing to understand the law and another to know how to make your clients succeed.
Find a California Immigration Attorney
At the California Immigration Attorney, we exclusively practice immigration law. We serve individuals, families, and businesses throughout the state facing immigration-related issues. Immigration attorneys at our law firm can respond to your questions and handle the critical details necessary to speed up applications for your B-1 Business Visitor Visa. Please call us at 424-789-8809 to guide you through the process.