The B-1 business visitor visa is a non-immigrant visa to the United States designed for temporary business activities which promote international trade, commerce or investment.
If you are a citizen of one of the countries on the United States Visa Waiver Program then you do not need to apply for a B-1 visa to visit the US for ninety (90) days or less.
B-1 Business Visitor Visa
As a B-1 business visa holder you can train, consult with business associates, take orders, participate in meetings, negotiate contracts, or look for sites for investment opportunities.
Duration: B-1 visas are generally issued for a one year or more (sometimes up to ten years). Entries are generally limited to six months. The actual duration of your B-1 stay in the United States during a particular visit will be determined by the date on your Form I-94.
Extending Stay: As a B-1 visitor you can apply to extend your stay beyond six months without limit. However, you must continue to demonstrate non-immigrant intent.
Changing Visa Status: As a B-1 visa holder you may change to another visa status. However, if an application for change of status is made within 30 days of entry, the USCIS will presume that the B-1 entry was fraudulent and made with the intent to stay.
Limitations: As a business visitor on a B-1 visa you cannot be paid a salary by a U.S. company and cannot engage in local skilled or unskilled labor (productive employment).
Permissible B-1 Visa Activities: US regulations explicitly bar B-1 business visa holders from performing skilled or unskilled labor. However, the USCIS and the State Department have approved use of the B-1 visa for some limited types of work where the activities are temporary in nature but are not covered by any other visa category.
The following are activities which are permitted when using a B-1 visa:
Attend a meeting of the board of directors or perform other functions resulting from membership on the board of directors of a U.S. corporation.
Undertake training for a limited duration. To do so, you must continue to receive a salary from the foreign employer and receive no salary or other remuneration from a United States source other than an expense allowance or other reimbursement for expenses (including room and board). The consular officer must be satisfied that your intended stay in the U.S. is temporary and is indeed for training and not productive employment.
Observe the conduct of business or other professional or vocational activity. Participate in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars.
Install or maintain equipment produced abroad, or train workers on the equipment, if installation, maintenance and training was part of the contract of sale with your foreign employer.
If you are a foreign national student seeking to gain practical experience, you should consider more appropriate non-immigrant classifications, such as an F, H, or J visa.
Make sure to apply for a B-1 business visitor visa no later than 60 days before your anticipated travel date to the United States.
Depending on the U.S. consulate in your country, it may take even longer. Security clearances and administrative processing after your interview may cause additional delay, so it is best to apply for the visa as soon as possible.
Certain US consulates do offer expedited or emergency appointment on discretionary basis depending on factors such as urgency of travel and the US national interests involved.
If you have questions about securing a US B-1 business visitor visa, you can contact me, Somair S. Alam, Esq. at e-mail email@example.com.