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If you plan to travel to the United States temporarily for business purposes, you may be eligible for the B-1 nonimmigrant business visitor visa.

For professional assistance with the application process for this or any other visa, our New Jersey immigration lawyers can help. With over 10 years of experience helping numerous people obtain visas, you can rest easy and in good hands throughout this process. Call our firm today for a private consultation regarding your case.

Everything you need to know about the B-1 business visitor visa

The B-1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant business visa issued to individuals who will travel to the United States to engage in business of a commercial or professional nature, including:

  • Negotiate a contract.
  • Consult business with partners.
  • Attend a scientific, professional, educational, or business convention or conference on a specified date.
  • Participate in short-term training.
  • Being in transit through the US.
  • Belonging to an aircrew in transit through the US that is not on duty ( deadheading ).

Certain individuals may transit through the US on a B-1 visa. To find out if you can do it, attorney Carolina T. Curbelo will answer all of your questions in a professional consultation and guide you through this process.

Requirements For The B-1 business visitor visa

To be eligible for the B-1 visa, you must show that:

  • You are admissible to the US.
  • Your visit to the United States is for business purposes.
  • You will remain for a limited time in the US.
  • There are enough funds to cover travel expenses and your stay in the US.
  • You have a residence abroad that you do not wish to abandon, and you have ties that confirm your return upon completion of your visit to the United States.
temporary visitor with b-1 visa

Domestic Employees & Employees of Foreign Airlines

The following employees who will have activities in the US related to their foreign employment may be eligible for B-1 status if:

  • They are household or personal employees accompanying or traveling to meet with an employer seeking admission or already in the US under category B, E, F, H, I, J, L, or TN.
  • They are personal or domestic employees of US citizens who have a permanent address or are stationed in another country.
  • We are talking about certain employees of foreign airlines.

The activities will not be considered as local “employment” or “contract labor” for purposes of category B-1. Although these immigrants are not required to have an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) by USCIS for such activities, they may receive an EAD through the Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

Keep in mind that if you work for another employer in the US or perform activities outside of B-1 status, you would be committing a violation of the B-1 nonimmigrant status.

how to get a job in the united states while being illegal

If you do not have the required documentation to work, we invite you to visit our article dedicated on how to get a job in the United States being illegal?

How To Apply For The B-1 Business Visitor Visa

  1. Complete Form DS-160.
  2. Upload your photo while completing the DS-160. You must follow the format of the photo requirements.
  3. Print the confirmation page of the DS-160 form.
  4. Pay the B-1 visa fee of $160.
  5. Schedule a visa interview at the US embassy or consulate in your home country. 
  6. Attend the visa interview.

Documents To Apply For The B-1 Type Of Visa

  • DS-160 confirmation page.
  • Valid passport that does not expire until 6 months after your planned visit to the United States.
  • Passport-size photograph.
  • Proof that you have no criminal record.
  • Letter confirming that you scheduled the interview for the B-1 visa.
  • Letter explaining your purpose of visit to the US.
  • Details of any previous visit to the US.
  • Evidence that you have funds to maintain your stay in the US.

If you do not submit any of the required documents, your application could be delayed. To avoid delays, check with our immigration office.

B-1 Visa Type Limitations

temporary business visitor to the united states


You may be eligible for the B-1 category if your purpose in the US is to exhibit, take orders, and sign contracts for products produced outside the United States.

If your activities are not as described, you will require a temporary work visa (H-2). You can visit our articles dedicated to the H-2A visa program and H-2B visa.


You may be eligible for the B-1 category if you plan to participate in educational, scientific, professional or commercial conferences, seminars if:

  • Activities in a single institution will not last more than 9 days.
  • The activities carried out are for the benefit of the institution.
  • The institution is a government organization, an institution of higher education, a nonprofit research organization, or an affiliated or related nonprofit entity. 
  • You have not accepted payments from 5 such institutions during the previous 6 months. 

If the activities are not those required for this category, you may be eligible for a temporary work (H-1) or exchange visitor (J-1) visa.

What are H-1B visas? Find out everything you need to know about this type of US visa on our blog.

Professional Athletes

Athletes may enter the US on a B-1 visa if:

  • They receive no salary or income from a US company or entity (other than the prize).
  • The alien athlete and sports team have their principal place of business or headquarters in a foreign country.
  • The foreign-based sports team is a member of an international sports league.
  • Sports activities involved have an international dimension.
  • Team’s income and salary are primarily accrued in a foreign country.
what is p visa

If your activities do not relate to those described, you may still be eligible for the P visa.

Trading Companies

Although the B-1 visa is required to inspect potential business sites or lease premises in the US, you cannot remain within the US country to operate the business. To run a business in the US you will need to follow either the L-1A visa  or the L-1B visa process.

Voluntary Jobs

If you participate in volunteer service programs that benefit a US locality and demonstrate membership in and commitment to a recognized nonprofit charitable or religious organization, you may be eligible for B-1 status. However:

  • The work must be done by volunteer charity workers.
  • You will not receive remuneration, salary from any US source, or reimbursement for expenses related to your stay in the US.
  • You will not participate in sales of items and/or the solicitation and acceptance of donations. 

If your activities do not meet these criteria, you will need a J-1 or H-2B visa.

Research and Development Work

Independent research participants in the US may be eligible for the B-1 category as long as there is no compensation from any source. If you will receive a payment from a US source, you will need a J-1 or H-1B visa. 

Engineering Services

If you plan to travel to the US to service, install, repair equipment, commercial or industrial machinery sold by a non-US company to a US buyer and the contract requires the foreign company to provide such services, you may be eligible for the B-1 category.

Medical Elective

Medical students studying at a foreign school and entering the US for a temporary elective internship at a US medical school hospital may apply for the B-1 category as long as they are unpaid.

Works On An Outer Continental Shelf

If serving on the outer continental shelf, you may be eligible for a B-1 business visitor visa and will not require a C-1/D visa. 

For more information on this point, do not hesitate to contact our law firm.

Period Of Stay And Extension Of The B-1 Visa

applying for a b-1 business visitor visa

The initial period of stay of the B-1 visa is from 1 to 6 months maximum. However, you can request an extension of stay for an additional 6 months. The total maximum period of stay for the B-1 visa category is 1 year.

An immigration officer will authorize your admission to the US at the port of entry. If eligible to enter the United States, you will be admitted initially for the necessary period to complete your business activities.

If you want to stay longer than the time indicated on Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record without leaving the country, you must file Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Can Family Members Of The B-1 Visa Holder Accompany Them?

Spouses and children of the B-1 visa holder cannot obtain a dependent visa. To accompany the B-1 category holder, they must apply for the B-2 tourist visa separately.

What Is The Difference Between A B-1 And A B-2 Visa?

The main difference between the B-1 and the B-2 visa is the reason for the trip. Other key points include:

The B-1 visa can only be used for business-related purposes and does not serve as a work permit. However, it is possible:

  • Attend commercial activities or commercial consultations.
  • Attend business, science and/or education meetings or conventions.
  • Liquidate an estate.

The B-2 visa is intended for aliens traveling to the US for:

  • Holidays.
  • Visit friends or family.
  • Undergo any medical treatment.
  • Visit a tourist location.
  • Attend a recreational course, such as a cooking course.
  • Participate in a social, musical, sports or similar event where there is no payment.

Should I Apply For The B-1 Visa Or The ESTA permit?

Citizens belonging to the Visa Waiver Program can apply for the ESTA program instead of the B-1 visa. However, if you enter the US through ESTA you will only be able to stay for up to 90 days.

Do Canadian Citizens Need A B-1 Visa?

For casual business travel, Canadian citizens do not require a visa, they will automatically be admitted in the B-1 or B-2 category.

Check out our TN visa lawyer section where you will find information about the TN visa for Canadians and Mexicans.

Can I obtain a Green Card once I become the Holder of a B-1 visa?

It is not possible to jumpt from the B-1 visa to a Green Card. The B-1 category is a nonimmigrant permit, so you will need to leave the US once the validity of the visa expires.

If you are thinking of immigrating to the United States, check our blog on how to get a Green Card to explore the categories where you may be eligible. 

How Can Curbelo Law Help With The B-1 Visa?

Applying for the business visa and any other type of American visa can be complex, since there are many forms and documents that you must submit. 

Many petitioners of business visas do not evaluate if their visa is the most appropriate according to their circumstances, perhaps you are eligible for another type of visa that benefits you even more. Our attorneys will review your situation and help you determine which type of visa is most appropriate for you.

Our immigration attorneys have over 10 years of experience helping hundreds of individuals and companies with any visa, including business related visas. Do not hesitate to let us know your case and requirements so that we can analyze it in detail.