B-1 Visitor for Business

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
  • Litigation

You may not engage in gainful employment in the U.S.  If employed by a company in a foreign country, your salary must continue to be paid by that entity with funds from abroad.  A U.S. company may only provide an expense allowance or reimbursement for expenses incurred, such as travel expenses and living expenses for meals and lodging.

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 U.S. 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 U.S.
  • You have a residence outside the U.S. 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 U.S.

Application Process

If you are outside the U.S., you should first consult the instructions on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa.  Generally, you will complete the online Form DS-160, schedule an interview, pay the application fee (currently $160), gather the documents as instructed on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website, attend your interview where the consular officer will determine whether you are qualified for the visa, and obtain a B-1 (or B-1/B-2) visa stamp in your passport.

Travelers seeking a B-1 visa from certain countries may be able to enter the U.S. without a visa through the Visa Waiver Program.

If you are in the U.S.  in another valid nonimmigrant status, you may apply to change status to B-1 by submitting Form I-539 along with required documents.

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

The initial period of stay is 1 – 6 months.  You can apply to extend your stay for up to another 6 months (total of one year generally allowed on any one trip) by submitting Form I-539 to USCIS.

Family Members

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.

Sources: USCIS.gov, Travel.state.gov