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B-1 Visas For Visiting The United States On Short Business

The B-1 Business Visa is for business-related travel. This sort of travel is very different from a work visa that requires that you stay and work full-time for an employer in the United States. Examples of short-term business activities include but are not limited to:

  • Forming and registering companies
  • Signing lease agreements
  • Interviewing and hiring staff to fill the company
  • Negotiate, sign, and take orders for contracts
  • Litigate
  • Settle estates
  • Purchase real estate
  • Attend a conference, meeting, trade show, or business event attendee
  • Lecture or speak at an event. Only incidental expenses can be covered, and if honorarium will be received, cannot be longer than nine days at any institution.
  • Perform independent and incidental research
  • Perform as a service engineer to install, service, or repair commercial or industrial equipment sold by a non-US company to a US buyer
  • Participate in a training program that is not employment
  • Attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • Consult with business associates
  • Engage in evangelical tours
  • Participate in unpaid voluntary service programs that do not involve solicitation or acceptance of donations
  • Perform duties of a member of a board of directors
  • Participation as a foreign professional athlete in a US event who receives no other compensation than prize money
  • Take photographs of the United States for professional purposes for which compensation is not from a US source
  • Perform due diligence for investments or explore investment options
  • Enter to perform as a domestic worker. This is only allowed for domestic workers of US citizens or nonresident aliens who have resided abroad, but are now following the family to the United States.

The nature and length of the business activity will determine the reasonable funds required for the alien to defray costs. Entering the United States to participate in a five-day trade show would realistically cost less than participating in a 16 week franchise training program.

An alien visiting on the B-1 Business Visa can be granted a maximum stay of 180 days with the possibility of requesting an extension as long as the alien can demonstrate that she did not engage in unauthorized activities upon entry. Any extensions should demonstrate that the alien did not engage in ineligible activities and has sufficient funds to continue the business activity. For example, a prospective alien may enter the United States for six months to explore potential investment options and perform due diligence. An extension may later be requested to form a company, sign a lease, hire staff, or complete franchise training. The use of a B-1 Business Visa to complete substantial steps to opening and starting a business that could lead to an application to another nonimmigrant visa status is also appropriate. For example, an alien who has, in B-1 Business Visa who has formed a company, executed a lease, opened a US company bank account, hired staff, and retained the services of a law firm may then consider a change of status to an E-2 Treaty Investor visa status or an L-1 Intracompany Executive visa status.

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