B-1 Visa for
Business Visitors

B-1 Visa Benefits

Optimal for business negotiations, overseas site visits and short-term training.

Select countries don’t require a visa for business travel.

Key B-1 Visa Requirement Takeaways

Visitors are not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.

Acceptable reasons for travel include attending contract negotiations, business meetings, short-term unpaid training, conferences and in-person consulting sessions.


Who’s eligible for B-1 visa sponsorship?

Lecturers, researchers, commercial engineers, salespersons and trainers often use B-1 visas when traveling for work on a short-term basis.

B-1 visa requirements:
• Funds to cover expenses throughout the stay.
• No compensation by a U.S. employer during the trip.
• Residence and country ties in the home country with no interest in abandoning those ties.
• Intent to leave the United States at the end of his or her visit.

B-1 visa length of stay

•The initial stay is one to six months.
•The total stay is up to one year.

Special Note: The B-1 visa itself can be valid up to 10 years, depending on country of citizenship. Consult an attorney to learn whether your employee’s B-1 visa validity period exceeds the standard time allotment.

Government fees

Application filing fee: $160

Premium processing: There is no expedited application processing available for B-1 applications.

Visa Waiver Program

Citizens in select countries can travel to the United States for a stay of 90 days or less without a U.S. visa. In order to travel under the Visa Waiver Program, the traveler must have completed the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) process prior to the trip. Persons admitted under the Visa Waiver Program cannot extend or change their status while in the United States.

Participating countries include:
• Australia
• Ireland
• Japan
• Portugal
• South Korea
• United States

Full Visa Waiver Program list: https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/esta

B-1 visa extension options

Extensions granted for up to six months.

Dependent visa availability

Spouses and children of B-1 holders aren’t eligible to apply for a dependent visa. If the traveler would like family members to accompany him or her, separate B-2 visitor visa applications must be filed.

Green card sponsorship

B-1 visas are not dual intent, meaning holders may face international travel complications if they file a green card petition under this status. It’s recommended they switch to a dual intent visa, such as an H-1B Person in Specialty Occupation visa or an L-1 Intracompany Transfer visa, before applying for legal permanent residency.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any dependent visas available for B-1 holders?
Your spouse and children are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa. Each of your dependents who will be accompanying or following to join you must apply separately for a B-2 visa and must follow the regulations for that visa.
What qualifies as business activities?
• Consulting with business associates
• Traveling for an educational, professional conference or convention for specific dates
• Negotiating contracts
• Short-term training

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