B1 Temporary Business Visa
The B1 Business Visa is a nonimmigrant visa used for temporary business travel in the United States by its holder. While the holder of a B1 visa is not permitted to undertake any productive work while in the United States, they may undertake very limited business transactions.
Do I need a B1 visa?
We are frequently contacted by potential clients who want a B1 visa so they can travel to the US for a short trip to attend a meeting or seminar, not knowing that they can essentially do the same activities under the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA). However, there are certain instances when one would benefit from obtaining a B1 visa. For example, if you are a passport holder of a visa waiver country but you travelled to a country on the government’s travel ban list, you are no longer eligible to take advantage of the visa waiver program and require a visa.
How long can I stay in the US on a B1 visa?
If you plan on spending more than ninety (90) days in the US on a single business trip or make frequent business visits to the US then a B1 visa would also be beneficial for you. The visa waiver program only authorizes a stay of up to ninety (90) days. You may also face additional scrutiny at the US border if you have a pattern of frequently entering the US for business under the visa waiver program. The B1 visa generally allows its holders a maximum stay of six (6) months, which may be extended for another six (6) months if necessary, allowing for a possible stay of one year in the States under certain conditions.
What can I do while on a B1 visa?
B1 visa holders may undertake the following B1 permitted business activities while in the United States:
- Participation in a business convention, conference, or seminar
- Meet with lawyers regarding litigation
- Meet with business associates (Note: You cannot perform gainful work)
- Negotiate a contract
- Attend certain short term training
What can’t I do on a B1 visa?
A B1 visa holder cannot perform any productive labor while in the US. Essentially, this means you cannot be travelling to the US to work. Additionally, the visa does not allow you to live or study in the US. While travelling with a B1 visa you must continue to maintain a residence outside of the United States and be able to provide evidence of such ties.
What if I need to perform productive work?
The B1 visa regulations include a subcategory in which the B1 visa is annotated in order to permit its holder to perform productive labor in the US for a temporary period of time. This annotation is called the B1 in lieu of H1B visa. To learn more about performing productive labor in the US and the B1 in lieu of H1B visa click HERE.
Where can I learn more about the B1 visa?
Contact our US business visa lawyer at our London or Brussels office to learn more about the B1 visa or to arrange a telephone consultation.