A business visa, also referred to as a B-1 visa, is a temporary visa for visitors to the United States for the business activities. As implied above, this visa does not allow a person to relocate to the U.S. permanently, but only for a specific amount of time, and for specific business activities.

There are many activities which fall within the “business activity” category. The following is a partial list of such activities:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Purchasing goods or materials
  • Attending conferences
  • Volunteer work
  • Performing research

Prohibited activities under the B-1 visa include:

  • Starting a U.S. business or helping a family member with one
  • Working for a U.S. employer
  • Accepting paid work in the U.S.

What are the Requirements for a B-1 Business Visa?

Documentation may be required to secure this visa. An applicant for the visa will need to supply their visa application, receipt for payment of the application fee, their passport and a photo of themselves to an interview for the visa.

Additional documentation that may be required:

  • Evidence of lodging arrangements in the U.S.
  • Evidence of ability to fund trip
  • Evidence of intent to return to home country

Immigration officials are always on the lookout for fraud, so they will be concerned with the visa applicant’s intent to return to their home country, and not attempt to stay in the U.S. illegally.

What Other Types of Business Visas are there?

As discussed above, a B-1 visa is primarily for those who intend to make short business trips to the U.S., and not to remain there for an extended period of time. A person who intends to remain in the U.S. to work for an employer there should seek an H-1B visa, instead.

An L-1 intracompany transfer visa would be suitable for a worker for a foreign company who is being transferred to the company’s U.S. branch. These types of visa are more complex, and require more documentation, typically, as well as more involvement from the employer.

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Business Visa?

Visa applications can become pretty complex, and the documentation can be difficult to navigate. An immigration lawyer who specializes in business issues can help you figure out the best solution to your business travel needs.