What Is B-1 Visitor Visa?

The B-1 business visitor allows an individual to come to the U.S. for a short period of time for the following purposes:

  • engaging in meetings and consultations with U.S. business associates
  • attending non-productive training of benefit to the overseas company
  • attending professional conferences or meetings
Basic Requirements for B-1 Visa Applicants
  • Permanent residence in the home country which they intend to return at the end of the authorized period of stay
  • An intention to enter the US for a specifically limited period of time
  • Engagement in activity related to business, not employment
  • Remaining on a foreign employer’s home country’s payroll and cannot receive compensation from a U.S. source, other than reimbursement for incidental expenses.

B-1 visa holders are generally admitted for the period of time necessary to conduct the business. Pursuant to the statutory requirement, a B-1 entrant may be admitted up to a maximum of six months. However, in practice, INS officers typically allow business visitors to remain in the United States for no more than 30-90 days. When unexpected events necessitate an extension, individuals may apply to extend the authorized period of stay up to six months. However, prolonged business visits may give rise to a presumption that the visitor is engaged in prohibited productive employment.

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Once admitted as a nonimmigrant, a foreign national may apply for an extension of a temporary visa. It is very important that you apply for an extension of stay before your authorized stay expires! The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) recommends that you submit an application for an extension of stay at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires. The BCIS Service Center must receive your application by the day your authorized stay expires.

When a foreign national enters the country as a nonimmigrant, a U.S. immigration inspector examines your passport and visa and then gives you a Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). On the I-94, a date stamp should tell you when you must leave the United States. If you want to extend your stay in the U.S., then you must ask for permission from the BCIS before your authorized stay expires. You are eligible for an extension if:

  • you were lawfully admitted into the United States as a nonimmigrant in a category that is not ineligible for an extension and
  • you have not committed any act which would make you ineligible for an extension and you submit the application for an extension of stay before the current authorized stay expires

Nonimmigrants previously admitted to the U.S. may, in some circumstances, request a change of status. If you want to change the purpose of your visit while you are in the U.S. then you (or, in some cases, your employer) must ask the BCIS to change your nonimmigrant status. A common change of status for a nonimmigrant is from a visitor or tourist to a student, or from one employer or job to another. In order to do this, you must request the change of status from the BCIS by submiting an application before your current stay expires. It is very important that you make this request before you change the purpose of your stay. If you do not apply to change your nonimmigrant status, you may be in violation of immigration laws. You may become subject to removal (deportation) if you break U.S. immigration laws.

A nonimmigrant may qualify for a change of nonimmigrant status if:

  • you lawfully maintain your present nonimmigrant status in a category that is not ineligible for a change in status and
  • you are eligible according to immigration regulations for the nonimmigrant status you are requesting and
  • you have not violated any law which would keep you from being granted this benefit

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without obtaining a U.S. visa. Currently there are 27 participating countries in the VWP: Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

VWP nationals are permitted to enter the U.S. under the same rules as the B-1 classification through the Visa Waiver program for up to 90 days. No extensions of status, nor change of status may be granted to VWP entrants.

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