There are several visas for people who are interested in visiting the US temporarily. One such visa available for business purposes is the B-1. In this blog entry, we break down the basics.
The B-1 visa is intended for someone who, for example, needs to sign a contract, attend a business meeting or convention, meet with business associates, or settle an estate.
To qualify for this visa, you must:
- Be coming to the US for a short visit only. The maximum period is six months, but the time frame is determined by the requirements of your visit, and may be shorter.
- Be able to show that you have enough funds to cover your stay in the US.
- Be coming to the US for business purposes. This can cover a variety of activities, including researching opening a business in the US, but it cannot include anything that could be interpreted as being employed in the US. If you’re securing funding for a US business, you should not remain in the US after funding is acquired unless you change your visa status.
- Not be receiving a salary from a US business.
Quite a few countries are visa waiver countries, meaning their citizens are exempt from the visa requirements. Citizens of these countries enter the US under the ESTA program. If you’re from one of these countries, you may not need a visa, but the time you can spend in the US is limited to 90 days. A few countries, such as Canada, are exempt from the 90-day rule.
The steps to apply for this visa vary between consulates, but in general:
You complete the online application, Form DS-160. You need to print the application form confirmation to prove that you’ve filled out the application. Part of filling out the online application is uploading your photo. The photo must meet specific requirements and is probably best taken by a professional visa service.
You need to schedule an interview. The interview usually takes place at your local US Embassy or Consulate. The wait time for an interview varies between consulates, so you must be sure to allow for plenty of time.
You need to pay an application fee, which is currently $160. There may also be an issuance fee.
You’ll need to bring a passport, your visa application confirmation, and your payment receipt to your interview. In some circumstances, you may need to bring additional documentation.
We recommend that you speak to an experienced immigration attorney for assistance with this process. Please contact us today to learn more!