Certain US citizens and non-immigrant aliens are allowed by the U.S. Department of State to bring a specific category of persons into the country as long as certain conditions are met. These persons include but are not limited to nannies, paid companions, parlor maids, cooks, chauffeurs, housemaids, footmen, valets, au pairs, gardeners, and mothers’ helpers. You need the expertise of a California Immigration attorney to make the process of obtaining a B-1 domestic worker visa as smooth as possible. Our work is to streamline all processes in the best way possible to minimize avoidable delays or visa rejections.
With the B-1 domestic worker, visa employees currently employed for at least 6 months can accompany their employers moving from abroad to the U.S. temporarily. Just like when handling most nonimmigrant visa applicants, some requirements must be fulfilled prior to the issuance of a visa.
What Is A B-1 Domestic Worker Visa?
For both natives and foreigners living in the United States, having a housekeeper or childcare worker is desirable, especially for families that juggle with busy schedules. Unfortunately, visa options for immigrants who can work within private households in the U.S are limited. Moreover, even nonimmigrants who can secure visas have to satisfy specific stringent requirements.
A B-1 visa is an excellent option for those who desire to work within the United States as temporary domestic workers. This is a general visitor visor that tags along with a myriad of requirements. For instance, a foreign citizen stationed in the U.S. on a long-term assignment can sponsor domestic staff to work for them within the country on a B-1 visa. Again, it is crucial to understand that this visa only offers a temporary stay.
In case you win a Green Card, making you a permanent U.S. resident, you may not be allowed to sponsor a B-1 domestic worker. This is because your permanent resident status indicates that you have no intention of returning to your home country, making your domestic works ineligible for a B-1 visa.
Who Can Work As a Domestic Worker in the U.S. Using a B-1 Visa?
You must demonstrate certain things as a domestic employee to have a chance of applying for a B-1 visa successfully. They include:
- The intent to work as a domestic employee in the United States
- The intent to remain within the U.S. for a specific temporary period
- The intent to return to your country of origin
- You have a sponsor (employer) who meets specific predetermined requirements.
- You have economic, social, and other binding ties abroad that ensure you will return to your residence outside the United States at some point
Domestic Workers Accompanying a U.S. Citizen
Employers who are American citizens can bring their nonimmigrant domestic or personal employees into the country provided specific requirements are met. Here is a list of the most basic demands:
- The employer (American Citizen) should demonstrate that his or her stay in the United States is only temporary. (Not more than 6 years).
- The employee should have a residence in the U.S. that they have no plan of abandoning.
- The nonimmigrant employee must have been employed by the employer abroad as a domestic or personal servant for not less than 6 Alternatively, the employer must demonstrate that he or she frequently maintained personal or domestic servants while in a foreign country.
- The employee must have at least 1-year experience working within a specific personal or domestic servant position. (Statements from past employers may be helpful).
- The domestic worker must have a detailed contract signed by the employer. This contract must show that the employer will provide the domestic worker with a round trip airfare and free accommodation in the United States.
- The contract (dated and signed by both the employee and employer) must show that the domestic worker will earn the prevailing wage and other benefits similar to other U.S. domestic workers within the area of employment.
Domestic Workers Accompanying Nonimmigrant Visa Holders
On the other hand, foreigners with temporary nonimmigrant visas like R, Q, P, O, L, J, I, H, F, E, or B can sponsor their domestic workers, allowing them to accompany them to the U.S with a B-1 visa. Here are the requirements that must be met:
- The domestic worker (B-1 applicant) has a temporary home in the U.S that they have no plan of abandoning.
- The domestic worker has 1 year or more experience working in a specific domestic position.
- The domestic worker has worked for the nonimmigrant employer for 1 year or more before the sponsor’s admission to the United States. Alternatively, the employer ought to have a history of frequently employing domestic or personal staff.
- The domestic worker and employer must have a signed employment contract that outlines that the B-1 applicant will receive the prevailing wage and free boarding. The agreement should also restrict the domestic worker from seeking employment elsewhere.
- The sponsor (employer) must settle the initial travel expenses of the domestic worker. Additionally, they must pay the travel costs allied with the domestic worker’s return to their country once the U.S. assignment is completed.
A B-1 visa can grant a domestic worker admission into the United States for about 1 year. You can make subsequent extension requests that are typically awarded in 6-month increments. Even with a B-1 visa, domestic workers can only work in the U.S after receiving an EAD (Employment Authorization Document), obtained from the USCIS (the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services).
Whether you are applying for a B-1 visa, an EAD, or a B-1 extension, we can lend a hand. We have a comprehensive understanding of the laws in place. We can help you gain admission into the country, obtain the necessary work permits, and even receive continued work authorization in the United States. The secret to enjoying your plans’ smooth flow is to begin each process a few months ahead of time.
Which Visa Holders Qualify To Bring B-1 Domestic Workers Into The U.S.?
B-1 visa options are not open to just any nonimmigrant who is admitted into the United States. As mentioned earlier, some of the temporary nonimmigrant visas that qualify one to bring their personal or domestic workers into the country using B-1 visas include R, Q, P, O, L, J, I, H, F, E, or B. You can sponsor your domestic worker if you are a media representative from a foreign country, a famous fashion model, specialty worker, business investor, scholar, or a nonimmigrant on leisure or business visits, just to mention a few.
It is crucial to note that the above mentioned are merely some of the visa categories that allow foreigners to travel with their domestic workers. All is not lost even if your nanny or chauffeur doesn’t qualify to enter the country using a B-1 visa.
For instance, if you are an A-1 or A-2 visa holder, your servants, personal attendants, and other domestic employees can gain admission into the United States using A-3 visas. On the other hand, workers of international organizations and foreign government representatives with G-1, G-2, G-3, and G-4 visas can bring in their domestic and personal workers using a G-5 visa.
The B-1 visa mainly applies when other visa options are inappropriate. This is mostly when a domestic worker’s duties are more allied to the primary visa holder’s home life and not their professional line of work.
As skilled and experienced immigration lawyers in California, we can analyze your specific situation and inform you about your employees’ most appropriate visa options. For instance, if you are an entertainer or athlete, your essential support staff are eligible for P-1 visas. Let us guide you through the legal immigration jargon as you focus on your travels. We will also ensure that you are compliant with the visa’s most stringent requirement, including the employment contract. While the services we offer cannot guarantee visa approvals, they go a long way in giving you the highest possible success chances. Our track record of approvals speaks volumes about our dedication, professionalism, and proficiency levels.
B-1 Visa Holder Employment Contract Requirements
Your visa approval is highly at the mercy of several essential things, including having a contract that meets specific pre-determined requirements. A common reason that could lead to your application being declined is the failure to present an employment contract that satisfies the following criteria:
- A detailed description of your work duties and weekly work hours
- Regular weekly off day(s) and authorized yearly vacations, holidays, or sick days
- Rate of pay that must not be lower than the prevailing wage within a specific State or County
- Affirmation that your employer will provide free boarding
- Confirmation that your employer won’t withhold your passport
- Confirmation that the applicant intends to work solely for his/her sponsor
- Confirmation that as a domestic worker, you can leave the premise after working hours unless compensation is offered (both parties must agree)
- Affirmation that travel expenses to and from the U.S will be catered for by the employer
How to Apply For a B-1 Visa
The steps for applying for B-1 visas are pretty simple. With the right paperwork and a basic understanding of what is expected of both the applicant and the sponsor, the entire process is likely to be smooth and relatively hassle-free.
Step 1- Submit Your DS-160 Form
Submitting the DS-160 form is a fundamental step in just about every nonimmigrant visa application process. The information on this file will show why you want to visit the U.S. You need to complete the DS-160 online and make submissions through the online portal. Note that it is compulsory to answer all questions, apart from those marked as optional.
Once the U.S. Embassy evaluates the information you offer, you will receive a code and confirmation page. Remember that while most questions are simple and pretty straightforward, it is vital to answer them thoroughly and truthfully. Any errors, including unanswered questions, could cause rejection.
Step 2- Pay Visa Application Fees
The fee for applying for a B-1 visa is only $160. After you settle the payment, you can now schedule a CASV appointment and the Embassy or Consulate interview. The following documents will be required to schedule the interview:
- Receipt number for MRV fee payment
- Your passport number
- Barcode number obtained after submitting the DS-160 form
Step 3- Get All the Relevant Documents in Order
Before you attend the Embassy interview, there are important documents you must have at hand. They include:
- Code and confirmation page issued after completing the DS-160 Form
- Travel passport valid for 6 months or more after your planned period of stay in the U.S.
- One 5cmx5cm photo
- Receipt showing you settled the visa application processing fee.
- A copy of the sponsor's passport and visa
- Your employment contract, dated and signed by you and your employer
Step 4- Attend the Visa Interview
Make sure you attend the Consulate/ U.S. Embassy visa interview on time. Carry original and printed copies of your work contract and DS-160 confirmation page. Additionally, make sure you have all your old passports and your current passport as well as one recent photo of yourself.
If things work in your favor and you gain entry into the U.S, you should do one more thing before you can start working. It is crucial to apply for an EAD— Employment Authorization Document using the I-765 form. Initially, B-1 visas only allow domestic workers to have a 1-year stay maximum. Your work permit, EAD, will hence only be valid for as long as your stay is valid. We can lend a hand if you need to extend your stay (renew employee status) and reapply for your EAD.
As an employer (primary visa holder), your domestic workers’ B-1 visa status ceases to exist when you leave the United States. Even if you leave earlier than intended, the presence of your household or personal worker within the country will be deemed unlawful.
Visa Interview Tips
It is always a good idea for an employer (sponsor) to be within easy reach as a B-1 domestic worker applicant attends the visa interview. However, the employer cannot be present during the interview. Each applicant must individually match the B-1 visa requirements. This includes having strong ties to the country of origin, having no plans to settle permanently in the United States, and having intentions to return home after the permitted stay.
During the interview, it is common for the consular officer to ask questions about the work history of an applicant and his or her current terms and conditions of employment. Additionally, the officer will look at the contract and affirm that it matches the minimum requirements as stipulated by the U.S. laws. Make sure that this contract is detailed and signed by both you and your employer.
If the contract looks good, you already have a fair chance of your visa application being approved. Typically, an employer’s social status, occupation, and even family situation are secondary considerations when making the visa decision. The hardships an employer may face if a domestic worker’s visa is denied are not considered when deciding whether to grant the visa. The burden of convincing the consular officers lies squarely on the shoulders of the visa applicant.
Working with a California immigration lawyer can be quite beneficial even as you prepare for the visa interview. Apart from reviewing your documents to ensure they are free of errors, we will also equip you with proper guidance to increase your chances of enjoying your visa interview outcome.
Permissible Activities under B-1 Visa Category
Domestic workers accompanying their employers to the U.S. must stick to activities allied with their visas’ purpose. This is one of the primary ways to maintain your legal status once your stay begins. It is crucial to understand that this type of visa comes with certain privileges, although it’s also subject to a few limitations. For instance, if a domestic worker wishes to travel or go on vacation alone, it will be crucial to obtain a different visa.
Here is a list of activities permissible under the B-1 visa category:
- To offer services as a domestic or personal servant to a U.S. citizen or a non-immigrant on a short-term assignment in the country.
- To engage as a professional athlete in an athletic event where payment is only offered in the form of prize money.
- To engage in voluntary activities beneficial to the local community and commit to service programs organized by charitable or religious organizations.
- To provide installation and repair services of machinery or equipment acquired outside the U.S or provide training on the same to U.S workers.
- To engage in professional duties reserved for persons with H-1 visa status, but not to obtain payment from any source within the United States.
- To conduct research or engage in short-term professional, scientific, or educational training.
Prohibited activities under the B-1 visa category
- Conducting business within the United States
- Accepting unpaid or even paid employment from anyone else other than your sponsor
- Engaging professionally in sporting or entertainment events
Note that the above list is not all-inclusive. It contains a decent number of examples of the activities one can or cannot engage in under the B-1 domestic worker visa. In case you desire to engage in an activity that is not mentioned on this list or in the federal guidelines and regulations, get in touch with us for more personalized legal guidance.
B1 Visa- Tips To Maintain Your Legal Status While In The U.S.
An employer has to ensure that his/her employee maintains legal status while in the United States. If this is the first time you are bringing a foreign domestic worker into the country, it is common not to know what is expected of you. We are dedicated to making your temporary stay as smooth and stress-free as possible. Turn to use for the much-needed legal guidance and general assistance in keeping your employee legally in the Country.
The Form I-94 issued upon arrival to the Country will show how long an applicant’s stay is authorized. If you wish to stay for more than the initial duration, it will be necessary to file for an extension in advance.
Employees on a B-1 visa must apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) and have it approved before they can start working within the U.S. Typically if the EAD is approved, it will last for as long as the duration of the Form I-94. This makes it crucial to apply for both EAD renewal and Visa extension concurrently.
SSN (Social Security Number)
B-1 visa holders are generally not permitted to apply for a social security number. In this case, however, the B-1 visa holder needs to receive wages and settle both state and federal taxes. They may also need to have an active bank account, sign up for credit cards, and possibly enjoy other financial services. That is why the visa stamp for B-1 domestic workers comes with a particular annotation that allows them to apply for an SSN.
Following the “total Verification” policy imposed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) since 2002, obtaining social security numbers for temporary visa holders is not as straightforward as it used to be. Fortunately, your immigration lawyer can also lend a hand with this to make the process as hassle-free as possible.
EIN (Employer Identification Number)
Your employer must apply for an EIN with the Internal Revenue Service IRS to help you maintain legal status in the country. This will allow him/her to pay your wages and also report these payments to the IRS. Depending on the position you hold and the salary you receive, you may have to file tax returns. Failure to pay taxes or file tax returns can leave you in grave legal trouble.
Find a California Immigration Attorney Near Me
With a B-1 visa, certain nonimmigrants can bring domestic workers or personal employees into the U.S under limited circumstances. These privileges can also be enjoyed by certain American Citizens as long as specific requirements are satisfied. Irrespective of the type of visa you hold, you need a skilled California immigration attorney to assess your situation, help you understand the requirements and limitations of B-1 status and ultimately help your domestic workers access the county using B-1 visas. We are abreast of the ever-changing labor and immigration laws and policies and can help you keep track of your legal status to avoid violations that can cause significant long-term immigration consequences. Whether you want to file visa petitions, receive one on one visa guidance, device an attorney-driven visa strategy, or receive all-rounded immigration advisory services, just give us a call on 424-789-8809.