B-1 Business Visitor Visa - U.S. Immigration

The B-1 visitor visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign citizen to temporarily enter the United States for business, or in the case of a B-2 visa, for pleasure or medical treatment. The B-1 visitor visa allows one to travel to the United States for purposes such as educational, scientific, or professional conferences, consulting with business associates, negotiating contracts, etc.

B-1 Visitor Visa Requirements & Qualifications

  • Show that you intend to enter the United States solely for temporary business purposes
  • Intend to remain here for a specific finite period
  • Show evidence of funds to cover your expenses while in the United States
  • Show a bona fide NEED to enter the United States
  • Provide evidence of your permanent residence outside the United States, and other ties to your country abroad, in order to ensure your return to your country of origin after your temporary stay in the United States

Purpose of Entering the United States with a B-1 Visitor Visa

  • Attend professional, business, educational, scientific, or religious seminars or conventions
  • Those temporarily working on projects within the united states. In this case, the individual must be paid by the foreign employer
  • Personal or domestic servants of a nonimmigrant employer or U.S. citizen may enter the United States with the nonimmigrant employer or U.S. citizen
  • Technicians who enter to install or service equipment in the United States
  • Business professionals may enter the United States to explore the options of opening up branch offices in the United States
  • Professional Athletes may enter for purposes of competing at competitions. Professional athletes must not obtain a salary from a U.S. citizen, however, they may compete for prize money
  • Foreign employers and business associates may enter the United States for purposes of obtaining goods for use outside the United States
  • Colleges and Universities may bring lecturers or guest speakers
  • Business executives and professionals may enter to negotiate contracts, however, such purposes must not involve gainful employment

B-1 Visa Application Process

Although it is best for those seeking a B-1 visitor visa to apply through the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their place of origin, you may apply for the B-1 visitor visa at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. It may be more difficult, however, to qualify for the B-1 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate that does not have jurisdiction over your place of permanent residence.

  • It is important to apply for your B-1 Visitor Visa well in advance, in order to ensure that it is approved before your date of departure
  • At the interview, a digital fingerprint scan will be taken
  • Those that are under 13 or over 79 do not generally require an interview

Required Documents:

  • The first step is to apply online by filing Form DS-160
  • The applicant’s passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the intended period of stay in the United States
  • A 2x2 photograph is required

B-1 Visa Application Fee

  • The Application processing fee is $140.00
  • Once your visa is issued, there may be a visa issuance reciprocity fee

Change to B-1 Status while under another nonimmigrant status:

If you are currently in the United States under another nonimmigrant status, you may be able to change to B-1 Business Visitor status by filing Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status)

B-1 Visitor Visa FAQ

How long can I stay in the U.S. with a B-1 Business Visitor Visa?

The period of stay under a B-1 Business Visitor Visa ranges from 6 months to one year, depending on the purpose of entering the United States under B-1 Status

Can I extend my stay under B-1 Status?

You may apply for an extension of stay for no longer than 6 months each. Religious missionaries or those involved in missionary work may apply for 1 year extensions, however, they must show that they will not be involved in any sales transactions or accept donations while in the United States.

How do I apply for an extension of stay under B-1 visa status?

In order to apply for an extension of stay under B-1 Status, you must file form I-539 Extension of Stay/Change of Status at the USCIS Service center with jurisdiction over your place of stay. Generally speaking, it is best to apply for an extension of stay within 30 days of the I-94 expiration date.

Can I study at an institute of learning while under B-1 Status?

No, you may not study at any institution of learning while under B-1 Status. The B-1 Business visitor visa specifically prohibits the studying at an institute of learning while under B-1 Status.

What documentation is required for the B-1 Business Visitor Visa?

In addition to providing proof of residence in your country of origin, evidence of funds in your country of origin to cover your expenses, and a passport, a B-1 Business visitor must provide:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Birth certificate of children abroad
  • Family members residing abroad
  • Any family members in the United States

The more information you provide, the better you will stand. You must prove to the USCIS that you to only temporarily reside in the United States. When applying, it is assume that you have the intent of staying in the United States. You must provide ample evidence to show that you stay is only temporary

In addition you must provide:

  • Proof of employment, a copy of any tax information regarding your salary
  • A letter of support from your foreign employer, specifically stating the reason of your entry to the United States
  • Documentation on your living arrangements while in the U.S.

Where should I re-apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa if my previous application is denied?

After providing supporting documentation and new information on your purposes of entering the United States, it is best to apply at the same U.S. Embassy or Consulate in which you were previously denied to avoid any suspicions.  Your case will not be reexamined unless there is new information regarding your intent in entering the United States. Simply trying to reapply at a different U.S. Embassy or Consulate with the same information as your previous case will result in rejection of the case.

How early should I apply for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa?

You should apply for the B-1 business visitor visa no later than 60 days before the expected date of departure. If the nature of your visit is scientific, you should apply no later than 90 days before the intended date of departure.

Please note that visa wait times at U.S. embassies and consulates vary greatly in different regions. It is therefore important to review visa wait times. These interview wait times do not include security clearance or processing wait times.

Written by:Mark Carmel