B-1 Business Visitor

You may be eligible for a B-1 visa if you are coming to the United States as a business visitor in order to secure funding or office space, negotiate a contract, or attend certain business meetings in connection with opening a new business in the U.S.

Although B-1 is not a work visa, it is useful if you wish to come to the U.S. to start business negotiations about opening a new office, signing corporate formation documents, lease agreement, etc.

Available only for a short period of time

The B-1 nonimmigrant visa category is not meant for extended, long-term activity, but rather for a definite and specific activity. The maximum period of initial admission to the United States as a B-1 nonimmigrant is typically 6 months, but the actual period of admission will be for a period of time which is fair and reasonable for completion of the purpose of the visit (and therefore may be less than 6 months).

Sufficient Funds to Cover Trip and Ties with Home Country

You must be able to show you have sufficient funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States. You must also show you maintain your residence abroad, which you have no intention of abandoning, and that you have other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit.

Coming to the U.S. to engage in “business”

B-1 is a business visit visa but not a work visa. The B-1 visa is intended only for business activities that are a “necessary incident” to your business abroad. This covers a wide range of activities such as attending meetings, consulting with associates, engaging in negotiations, taking orders for goods produced and located outside the United States, attending conferences, and researching options for opening a business in the United States (such as locating or entering into a lease for office space).

Generally speaking, you cannot engage in any activity or perform a service that would constitute local employment for hire within the United States. What constitutes local employment for hire will depend on the circumstances of each case, but generally speaking, any activity you perform in the United States must be directly connected with and part of your work abroad. It is permissible to conduct business activities on behalf of a foreign employer, but no salary may come from a U.S. source.

If you are coming to secure funding for a new business, you cannot remain in the United States after securing the funding to start actual operations or to manage the business, unless you change status to another classification that authorizes employment in the United States discussed above.

For more information please visit our B-1 Temporary Business Visitor page.

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