The B-1 visa is intended for individuals who want to travel to the United States for business purposes. This can include meeting business partners or clients, attending conferences, or managing estates. The B-1 visa is only applicable for individuals who are participating in business activities and applicants should be prepared to show documentation of the nature of their trip.
Requirements for the B-1 Visa
Business professionals should be prepared to present:
- Documentation on the purpose for the trip and its business value
- Intent on length of the stay (under 1 year)
- Financial ability to pay for expenses incurred during the trip, either personally or covered by the company
- Proof of permanent residence in their home country
- Affirmation they are not part of foreign press or media
- Affirmation they are not visiting the United States to enroll in a long-term education program
- Proof their employer is not in the United States
Individuals must be able to present all of these to receive a B-1 visa. Applicants may not receive salary or compensation from an employer inside the United States; however, sources from inside the United States may pay for incurred travel expenses.
Applying for the B-1 Visa
If convenient and available, applicants should first visit their local embassy or consulate and apply for a B-1 visa in person; however, applications are also accepted and processed online. When visiting the embassy or consulate, bring the previously mentioned documentation to prove the purpose and length of your trip. Applicants between the ages of 13 and 80 generally must participate at an interview at the embassy or consulate in which the immigration official learns about the nature of the trip.
For first-time applicants, the required documentation may seem daunting, and it is recommended to speak to an immigration attorney before filing the application to ensure the best chance of success. The required forms and documents include:
- Form DS-156, a nonimmigrant visa application
- Form DS-157, a supplemental form including employment details
- A letter from the applicant’s company detailing the trip
- A passport valid for 6 months after the end of the trip
- Recent photographs
- Informational or promotional material that describes the company
- Itinerary or schedule of the trip
- Proof that the applicant intends to return to his or her home country after the trip
Applicants should also present proof of their classification as a business professional and the nature of the trip. Applicants should provide:
- Planning documents of the trip’s purpose
- Documentation of ability to pay for, or receipts of already paid, travel arrangements and expenses
- Affirmation that the applicant is not applying for employment in the United States on the visit
- Affirmation of intent to arrive and depart the United States in accordance with the stated business plans
Allowed Activities for B-1 Visa Holders
B-1 visa holders are allowed to act in accordance with their business plans inside the United States, including ordering and purchasing supplies, recording sales, and taking part in normal business practices. Visitors are free to attend and participate in conferences and conventions pertaining to their stated purpose. While B-1 visa holders are not permitted to seek employment opportunities on their trip, they are permitted to conduct hiring practices and recruit staff, make or manage investments, and perform sales motions.
Length of Stay Under a B-1 Visa
B-1 visas are only valid for up to one year at a time, but are generally further limited to only the amount of time needed for the recipient to conduct his or her business as stated in the interview and application. If the business needs or purpose of the trip has not been met, an individual may file an application for an extension in six month increments. For an extension to be granted, the B-1 visa holder must prove that the purpose of the trip has not yet been fulfilled.
Get Business Visa Application Help From Immigration Attorneys
Applying for a visa can be a lengthy, complicated process and getting all the details right takes practice, time, and effort. Focus on the details of your business trip and the performance of your company by allowing the experienced professionals at the Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC handle your application. Call us at 703.273.5500 or request a consultation online today.