You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
You must demonstrate the following in order to be eligible to obtain a B-1 visa:
Aliens seeking a B-1 visa from certain countries may be able to enter the United States without a visa. If you are in the United States in another valid non immigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status. To change to B-1 status, you must file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non immigrant Status.
1 to 6 months; 6 months is the maximumExtension of Stay
Up to 6 months; maximum total amount of time permitted in B-1 status on any one trip is generally 1 year.
At the port of entry, an immigration official must authorize your admission to the United States, and, if you are eligible for admission, you may be admitted initially for the period necessary to carry out your business activities, up to a maximum period of 1 year. If you who wish to stay beyond the time indicated on the Form I-94 without departing from the United States, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non immigrant Status and submit any required supporting documents to USCIS.
Your spouse and children are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. Each of your dependents who will be accompanying or following to join you must apply separately for a B-2 visa and must follow the regulations for that visa.
The following types of B-1 business visitors require employment authorization:
Note: All applicants for a B-1 visa or admission as a B-1 business visitor as a personal or domestic servant described above must demonstrate the following:
Before you may commence employment in any of the above three activities, you will need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
Below are some key requirements you must fulfill to apply for a B-1 Visa. For each requirement, we have included forms of evidence that you may submit to meet the requirement and other tips to help you prepare your petition.
Note: If you are in the United States in another valid non immigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status. To change to or extend your B-1 status, you must file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Non immigrant Status, with USCIS. If you require a B visa to travel and be admitted to the United States, you must apply to the Department of State at a U.S. consulate abroad, generally in your home country. You can view the full requirements and application process at the State Department website. Once you have been admitted to the United States as a B non immigrant, you can apply for an extension of B non immigrant stay with USCIS.
The B-1 non immigrant visa category is not meant for extended, long-term activity, but rather for a definite and specific activity. The maximum period of initial admission to the United States as a B-1 non immigrant is typically 6 months, but the actual period of admission will be for a period of time which is fair and reasonable for completion of the purpose of the visit (and therefore may be less than 6 months).
You must be able to show you have sufficient funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States. You must also show you maintain your residence abroad, which you have no intention of abandoning, and that you have other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit.
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate your intent to remain for a limited time includes:
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay in the United States without working includes:
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate social and economic ties abroad includes:
The B-1 visa is intended only for business activities that are a “necessary incident” to your business abroad. This covers a wide range of activities such as attending meetings, consulting with associates, engaging in negotiations, taking orders for goods produced and located outside the United States, attending conferences, and researching options for opening a business in the United States (such as locating or entering into a lease for office space). Generally speaking, you cannot engage in any activity or perform a service that would constitute local employment for hire within the United States. What constitutes local employment for hire will depend on the circumstances of each case, but generally speaking, any activity you perform in the United States must be directly connected with and part of your work abroad.
If you are coming to secure funding for a new business, you cannot remain in the United States after securing the funding to start actual operations or to manage the business, unless you change status to another classification that authorizes employment in the United States.
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate that the purpose of your trip is to explore starting a business includes:
It is permissible to conduct business activities on behalf of a foreign employer, but no salary may come from a U.S. source. In some cases, however, you may receive reimbursement from a U.S. source for reasonable incidental expenses incurred while in the United States.
Note: There can be no guarantee that the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will issue you a B-1 visa, or that DHS will grant you B-1 status, even if you present the evidence described above. A consular or DHS officer will look at all the relevant facts before determining whether to issue you the B-1 visa. As such, it is important to fully explain the purpose of your visit or stay, and the activities you will be doing, so that USCIS (or DOS) can make an informed decision on your application.
If your country is listed on the State Department’s list of visa waiver countries, you may not need a B visa stamp to enter the United States and engage in your business visitor activities. If you choose this route, you will only be allowed to stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 days at a time and, except in an emergency, cannot extend that time. Note that persons from certain other countries, such as Canada, are also exempt from the visa requirement but are not subject to the 90-day rule.