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Anytime visitors come to the United States they are required to obtain a visa. The B-1 Visa is intended for those visitors who are conducting business in the U.S. and are here on a temporary basis.
The B-1 Visa covers a wide range of business activities such as meeting with business associates, attending business meetings, being involved in training programs, negotiating business deals, procuring goods manufactured outside the United States, and attending conferences. Foreign business owners may also be looking to expand in the United States. Any activity you perform in the United States while visiting on a B-1 Visa must be directly connected with your work abroad.
To apply for the B-1 Business Visa, persons have the burden of showing they qualify for the visa. They must convince the consular officer that they are in the United States for a limited time. Persons must show:
• The purpose of their trip is business related,
• That they plan to remain for a specified time period,
• That they maintain a home and family ties outside the US and/or other financial and economic connections that will ensure they return to their home country at the end of the visit.
• Expenses for the trip will be covered by personal funds or a business expense account. Persons travelling on a B-1 Visa are barred from employment in the U.S.
At the port of entry, an immigration official must authorize admission to the United States. If admitted to the United States, travelers are granted a maximum of 1 year stay before they must return to their home country.
A domestic servant travelling with their employer or who is to meet up with their employer on U.S. soil also must obtain a B-1 Visa. The qualifications for servants are similar to their employer’s. They must also have a home abroad that they have no intention of leaving. They must have a minimum of 1 year experience as a personal or domestic servant. If the servant has been with the current employer for less than 1 year, the current employer must show that they had employed servants previously in the same capacity.
There are documents that can provide evidence that is required as proof for the application. Travel tickets showing return dates and proof of commitments at home on certain dates can show that the visit is temporary. To prove residence outside of the United States, documents can include: foreign bank accounts, foreign mortgage or rental agreements, foreign deed, family abroad, employment abroad, contracts and other documents proving foreign commitments.
To prove family ties can be a little trickier, perhaps school records and employment records can be used.
To prove that the trip is being fully funded, use documentation regarding credit limits, bank accounts, cash on hand, expense account, and paid return travel tickets.
If the purpose of coming to the United States is to gain funding for a new business, operations cannot begin in the United States without changing the visa status to include employment in the United States.
Evidence to prove the purpose of the trip is business related includes:
A travel itinerary, written statements detailing the purpose of the visit, and the date the visit will end, confirmations of proposed meetings, invitations to conferences and trade shows, proof of a business expense account or other means of funding the stay.
While the first step to entering the United States is to obtain a visa. Having a visa does not guarantee admittance to the U.S. Immigration Inspectors at the Port of Entry have the authority to grant or deny admission to the U.S. If the inspector grants permission to enter, they will also decide how long the visit may last. If the visitor does not feel that enough time has been granted for their stay, they may apply for an extension with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States.
Currently there are 28 countries that do not require travel visas if the stay is for business, and is for less than 90 days. Visitors entering on the Visa Waiver Program are not allowed to work or attend school while in the U.S. or change their status.
Persons who choose the Visa Waiver Program can only get an extension in the case of an emergency. There are certain countries, such as Canada, that are exempt from having a visa, but are not subject to the 90 day rule.
Those wishing to apply for B-1 Business Visa should apply at the American Embassy or Consulate with in their home country. You can view the full requirements and application process at the State Department website.
It is very important to complete any forms accurately and truthfully to avoid being denied permanently.