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B-1 Temporary Business Visitor

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:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
  • Settling an estate
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 visa
  • Deadheading: certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa

Eligibility Criteria

You must demonstrate the following in order to be eligible to obtain a B-1 visa:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature
  • You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time
  • You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States
  • You have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit
  • You are otherwise admissible to the United States

Application Process

For information on applying for a B-1 visa, see the “Department of State” link to the right.

Aliens seeking a B-1 visa from certain countries may be able to enter the United States without a visa.  For information about exemptions from the visa requirements, see the “Customs & Border Protection” link to the right.

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 B-1 status, you must file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.  For more information, see the “Change my Nonimmigrant Status” link to the right.

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

 Initial Period of Stay Extension of Stay
1 to 6 months; 6 months is the maximum 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 Nonimmigrant Status and submit any required supporting documents to USCIS. For more information, see the ”Extend my Stay” link to the right.

Family of B-1 Visa Holders

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.

Certain B-1 Activities that Require an Employment Authorization Document

The following types of B-1 business visitors require employment authorization:

  • A personal or domestic servant who is accompanying or following to join an employer who seeks admission into, or is already in, the United States in a  B, E, F, H, I, J, L, or TN nonimmigrant classification.
  • A domestic servant of a U.S. citizen accompanying or following to join his or her U.S. citizen employer who has a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country, and who is temporarily visiting  the United States.
  • An employee of a foreign airline engaged in international transportation of passengers freight, whose position with the foreign airline would otherwise entitle the employee to treaty trader nonimmigrant classification (E-1) and who is precluded from such classification solely because the employee is not a national of the country of the airline's nationality or because there is no treaty of commerce and navigation in effect between the United States and the country of the airline's nationality.

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:

  • You have a residence abroad in which you have no intention of abandoning
  • You have at least 1 year of experience as a personal or domestic servant
  • You have been employed abroad by your employer for at least 1 year prior to the employer’s admission into the United States or if you have been employed abroad by the employer for less than 1year, the employer must show that while abroad, he or she has regularly employed a domestic servant in the same capacity as that intended for your employment

Before you may commence employment in any of the above three activities, you will need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on filing the Form I-765, see the “Work Authorization” link to your right.

Last Reviewed/Updated: 03/31/2011