Like with other visitor visas, the B1’s duration can range from 1 to 10 years, with a maximum singular stay not exceeding six months. However, certain geographical restrictions are in place for countries depending upon the Department of Homeland Security’s risk perception. The B1 allows for multiple entry and exits into the United States during the period of its validity.
Who applies for B1?
The B1 covers a variety of aspects. Some of the chief ones are negotiations pertaining to business, business deals and meeting with business partners. Some examples would be: if you are planning to go to the United States in an effort to further your business prospects or if you are making the trip to attain specific business training. A critical aspect here is that your trip needs to be financed in its entirety by your company. And that company should be a registered one in your home country with a good repute. Shady or new enterprises are often not given any weight. Furthermore, if you are planning to make the trip in personal capacity, you should have the necessary finances and a letter of endorsement from the receiving party in the United States.
A lesser known fact about the B1 visa are its in lieu characteristics. They allow an applicant to use the B1 visa as a cover for another, more intensive non-immigrant visa. Two scenarios are described below.
- If somebody has decided to become a prospective investor in the United States but they are not yet sure as to where to invest, how to invest or where to acquire a business, they can initially opt for the B1 visa in lieu of the E2. They tell the immigration officer that their objective is to come to the US to invest, look for the location and/or look for partners to help them in financial capacity. If the officer is satisfied, they will issue a B1 visa with an added notation of the E2.
- Similarly, if a US company is hiring an overseas professional for a short-term project, the individual in question can apply for a B1 visa in lieu of the H1-B. Regardless, the condition for the H1-B are still partly enforced to determine the individual’s specialized body of knowledge in a field stipulated by the Department of Homeland Security. Engineering, biotechnology, medicine, and fundamental sciences are some of the main fields in this regard. Furthermore, if a person is going for a job interview or training in the US, this same in lieu apparatus can apply to them.
An important point to mention about the B1 visa is that there are two solid parameters that need to be fulfilled before an individual is in any position to obtain it:
- The nature of the visit should be temporary. The applicant should exhibit strong financial, familial or professional ties to the home country. Thus showing the immigration officer that they have solid plans to return and are not going to overstay their welcome. Also, the employment, if any, should be of the sort that doesn’t require explicit work authorization.
- With the B1 visa, no reimbursement should come from the US company in question. In other words, the applicant must not be compensated by the US entity that is sponsoring the visa but should be paid by a foreign firm or subsidiary.
How to apply?
The visa is applied for at the US embassy in the applicant’s country of residence.
- The form to ask for is the DS-160 (Non-immigrant Visa Application). If you have an internet connection you can also complete this form electronically.
- After selecting the B1 visa as your required type, you will have to pay the requisite visa fees as outlined by the embassy’s schedule of charges.
- Now you will have to schedule two appointments: one for the interview at the pertinent embassy or consulate and another for the Visa Application Center. Prior to this step you will have to get all your documents in order. These include:
- A copy of the valid letter of invitation from the US entity that is inviting you in the visitor capacity or a proof of your position in a company that is sending you to the US from your home country.
- A confirmation receipt of the DS-160 form.
- A valid passport that is going to last beyond at least 6 months of your intended stay in the United States.
- A proof of payment of the required visa processing fees.
- A couple of passport-sized photographs.
- After going through these steps you will hear from the US embassy within 4-6 weeks as to the status of your application.