A citizen of a foreign country wishing to enter the United States must usually obtain a visa. A B-1 Visa, commonly referred to as a Business Visa, is a nonimmigrant visa for people traveling to the U.S. for a temporary stay, as opposed to an immigrant visa which is for people permanently moving to the U.S.
Acceptable Activities with a Business Visa
A business visa is designed for a foreign national to come to the U.S. and participate in activities that are business in nature. There are a wide range of activities in which a person present in the U.S. pursuant to B-1 visa may participate without violating their status. They include the following:
•Consulting with clients or business associates
•Attending scientific, educational, professional or business conventions / conferences
•Attending and participate in meetings
Note that the Immigration and Nationality Act (Act) does not allow business visa holders to engage in gainful employment while present in the U.S. They are therefore prohibited from performing labor for a U.S.-based employer.
All business visa applicants must demonstrate to a consular officer at a U.S. Embassy that they meet all of the requirements as stated in the Act. One particularly noteworthy section of the Act is 214(b), which states that all business visa applicants are presumed to be intending immigrants. However, as stated above, a business visa is designed for individuals who are only intending to travel to the U.S. for a temporary period of time.
To overcome this legal presumption, an applicant for a business visa must be a foreign national who has a permanent residence in a foreign country. The applicant must have no intention of abandoning that foreign residence and they must prove that they are coming to the United States solely on a temporary basis. In other words, they must show that they are only planning on remaining in the U.S. for a specific, limited period of time. The best way of proving this nonimmigrant intent is by presenting proof of business, social, or economic ties to the applicant’s home country; ties that will ensure you return to your home country at the end of your visit.
When submitting an application for a business visa (DS-160), the consular officer will review documents in support of your application. These documents are one of many factors the consular officer will consider when deciding whether a business visa should be issued, but they are a particularly important factor. Thus, the supporting documents should be clear, detailed, well prepared, and should consist of persuasive evidence that shows that you are indeed eligible for a business visa. The following are common examples of supporting documents:
•A letter from your employer stating the length and purpose of the trip
•Documents discussing the nature of your business (brochures, business card, etc.)
•Invitation letter from U.S.-based business / conference / convention
•Proof of registration at conference / convention
Validity of Business Visa
Business visas are commonly valid for 10 years and permit multiple trips to the U.S. Unless your business visa is cancelled or revoked, it will be valid until the expiration date stated on the visa.
Waiver of Inadmissibility
Applicants for business visas must prove that they are admissible to the U.S. This means that they must not be inadmissible under the various categories set out in the Act. These categories include foreign nationals who have certain health disorders that may pose a threat to the alien or others, those convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude, those who have previously accrued too much “unlawful presence” in the U.S., those who have made a material misrepresentation to obtain an immigration benefit, etc.
Applicants who are inadmissible to the U.S. may still be eligible for a business visa despite their inadmissibility. Their inadmissibility would be excused if they were granted a nonimmigrant visa waiver. As with all things immigration, the waiver is more difficult to obtain than it would seem at first glance, but it is certainly possible. Please review the section of our website discussing nonimmigrant visa waivers.
Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza – Full-Service Immigration Law
There are plenty of professionals throughout the world who want to conduct business in the U.S. Allow the skilled legal team at Reeves Miller Zhang & Diza to help you grow your business by temporarily conducting business in the U.S. pursuant to a B-1 visa. Contact us today for a confidential consultation about your case.