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 nonimmigrant 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 Nonimmigrant 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 nonimmigrant, you can apply for an extension of B nonimmigrant stay with USCIS.|
The B-1 nonimmigrant 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 nonimmigrant 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.
+ How do I show that I intend to remain for a limited time?
Some of the evidence you may submit to demonstrate your intent to remain for a limited time includes:
+ How do I prove that I have sufficient funds to cover my stay in the United States?
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:
+ How do I demonstrate compelling social and economic ties abroad?
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.
+ How do I demonstrate that the purpose of my trip is to explore starting a business?
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.
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.
I’m ready to apply, what’s next?
Once you have determined that the B visa classification is the best pathway for you and you are ready to apply, you can find the full application process and legal requirements outlined on USCIS’s website.