As a foreign national who wants to do business with a U.S.-based company, you need a B-1 visa to attend meetings, conferences, and even settle an estate. A B-1 visa also called a temporary business visa, allows you to travel to the U.S. to negotiate business contracts, make investments, and attend business events in the United States during a short, specified period.
Understanding the B1 Visa Requirements
You must apply for your B-1 visa at the U.S. embassy in your home country. In addition to preparing a Letter of Support and completing Form DS-160 online, you’ll be interviewed at the embassy. You’ll also need to pay visa fees and visa insurance fees. To give yourself the best chance at approval, work with an experienced international lawyer who has a corporate background, such as the team at Rooney Nimmo.
To be eligible for a B-1 visa, you must have temporary business activities of a legitimate nature in the United States. You must also be able to demonstrate that you have no intention of abandoning your citizenship or residence abroad; that is, you must overcome a presumption of intending immigration. Examples of ways to prove your intent to leave the U.S. at the end of your temporary stay include showing proof of continuous employment, mortgage and homeownership liability, and children’s enrollment in school in your home country.
After you receive your visa, you may enter the U.S. for a determined period of time necessary to carry out your business activities. The initial period of stay permitted on a B-1 visa is one to six months, with the ability to apply for an extension of stay of up to an additional six months. The maximum period of stay on a B-1 visa on one trip is generally up to one year. The U.S. border patrol officers will determine, at their discretion, your authorized length of stay upon each visit to the U.S.
You must be visiting on legitimate business, and you cannot engage in any “productive work” while you’re here. This means you cannot receive payment within the U.S., and all work must be performed on behalf of and paid for by your foreign employer or company.
To receive a B-1 visa, you need to show evidence that you or your employer has sufficient funds to pay for your expenses during your stay, including flights, accommodation, and business expenses, and you cannot have restrictions that bar you from entering the U.S.
Family members are ineligible for a B1 visa, but they can apply for a B2 tourist visa if they are traveling with you.
Benefits of a B1 Visa
A B-1 visa holder can conduct the necessary business of a limited nature in the U.S. for an extended period without the hassle of moving to another country and applying for a nonimmigrant work visa. You can do many of the same things that residents do while on your B-1 visa, which allows you the freedom to conduct certain business activities and establish a temporary residence as needed and permitted per the regulations. These include:
- Opening a bank account and obtaining a debit card;
- Renting a car with your International Driving Permit (IDP) or a valid driver’s license from your home country (note that state laws apply and may differ depending on which state you travel to); and
- Renting an apartment.
A B-1 visa is valid for multiple visits and is generally valid for up to ten years from the initial issue date. This gives you time to network with clients and develop business relationships. There is no specified limit on how many times you may enter the U.S. on a B-1 visa, however, this is at the discretion of U.S. border patrol officers and will be determined based on the number and length of trips you make overall.
If you want to grow and expand your business, a B-1 visa allows you the freedom to travel between your home country and the U.S. as necessary. At Rooney Nimmo, we can help you connect with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals to grow your business. If you need ideas, we are happy to help guide you as you establish yourself in the U.S.
How Our Firm Can Help
The team at Rooney Nimmo are corporate lawyers with extensive international experience. We have offices in London, Edinburgh, New York, and San Francisco and affiliations in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong.
As fellow entrepreneurs, Allan J. P. Rooney and John Nimmo understand what it means to build business relationships and grow your company in the United States. If you need to apply for a B1 visa for the USA, contact our law firm today for a trusted advisor to walk you through the process.