Business travelers may enter the United States using a B-1, or “Visitor for Business” visa. In practice these visas are invariably issued as jointly with B-2, or “Visitor for Pleasure” (i.e. tourist) visa. While in the U.S. as a business visitor, an individual may:

  • Conduct Negotiations
  • Solicit sales or investment
  • Discuss planned investments or purchases
  • Make investments or purchases
  • Attend business meetings, and participate in them fully
  • Interview and hire staff
  • Conduct research

When determining foreign national’s eligibility for a B-1 visa, we first want to ensure that he is not a citizen of a country listed in the Visa Waiver Pilot Program. Some of these Visa Waiver countries are Japan, New Zealand, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, Brunei, Ireland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.

We then look to see if the broad criteria for B-1 eligibility have been met:

  • Limited duration of time to stay in the United States?
  • Intent to depart the United States?
  • Maintenance of a foreign residence?
  • Adequate financial arrangements?
  • Legitimate business activities?
  • Does the foreign national’s activity preclude productive employment in the United States?
  • Is the business activity associated with international trade or commerce?
  • Does the benefit of the activity accrue to the businessperson or corporate entity abroad?
  • Is the alien’s salary received from abroad

Those entering on B visitor visas will generally be granted 6-months admission on entry. It may be possible to obtain a 6-month extension to the B-1/B-2 visa, as long as the candidate will be maintaining visitor status, and there are good reasons to do so. It is sometimes possible to change status to another longer-term visa while in the U.S. as a visitor, as long as the candidate advised the relevant U.S. Embassy or Consulate of this possibility beforehand, or there was no pre-conceived intent to do so.

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