B-1 Visitor For Business: Are You Engaging in Business Activity On a Visa Waiver?


Are you a foreign national coming to the U.S. to engage in commercial transactions that do not involve gainful employment?  Are you planning to temporarily stay in the U.S. for purposes of negotiating contracts, consulting with clients or business associates?  Then, B-1 visitor for business is a nonimmigrant visa classification that you should be considering to secure to ensure your compliance with the U.S. immigration laws, especially if you are a foreign national entering the U.S. regularly on a Visa Waiver to engage in the business activities described above.

In order to qualify for a B-1 status, you must be able to demonstrate the following:

  1. Intent to depart at the expiration of requested stay;
  2. Extensive ties with the home country;
  3. Adequate financial arrangements (may not be on the U.S. payroll);
  4. Visiting temporarily for business purposes (detailed itinerary of the proposed activities in the U.S.); and
  5. Residence in a home country.

You may be admitted in a B-1 status for up to one year (multiple entries allowed), with an extension of 6 months.  In order to qualify for a B-1 status, you may not be receiving salary or any remuneration, other than an expense allowance or other reimbursement incidental to your temporary stay.  The principal place of business and actual accrual of profits must predominantly remain in the foreign country, and your services in the U.S. must be incidental to international trade and commerce.  As a requirement, the services being performed are not the ones which a U.S. worker would have to be hired for, are not inherently a part of the U.S. labor market, and are not primarily benefiting the U.S. entity as local work.

The foreign nationals entering the U.S. on a Visa Waiver are not allowed the same leeway and business flexibility as the B-1 visa holders, and are oftentimes scrutinized by Customs at the port of entry.  It is advisable to Consular Process for a B-1 status when you plan to engage in the commercial and business activities described above, to ensure a hassle-free admission process with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and your compliance with the U.S. immigration laws.