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B-1 Business Visitors


Alien visitors to the United States who come for business are covered by the B-1 non-immigrant visa (NIV) category. Trips that are made to the United States in this category cannot involve employment in the U.S. However, an individual can use the B visa to conduct business on behalf of an overseas employer.

1) Have no intention of abandoning their residence abroad;
2) Visit the US temporarily for business.

Limitations: (Should be NO to these questions)
1) Whether a US worker could be hired to perform the work;
2) Whether the work product is predominantly created in the US;
3) Whether the work is controlled mainly by a US company.

Business Visa (B-1) is appropriate for activities such as:
1. Consult with business associates;
2. Attend a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates;
3. Settle an estate;
4. Negotiating a contract;
5. Participate in short-term training.
This is not an all-inclusive list. But you cannot involve in any employment in U.S. under this category.

Available for the Following People
1) An individual traveling to the United States to take part in an exhibition, set up an exhibition booth, display samples, sign contracts, and take orders for merchandise produced in and delivered from the alien's foreign country;
2) Individuals participating in a voluntary service program which benefits a U.S. local community, who establish that they are a member of, and have a commitment to, a particular recognized religious or nonprofit charitable organization;
3) Individuals who will install, service or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a company in the alien's foreign country to a buyer in the United States;
4) Individuals traveling to the United States in connection with a speaking engagement;
5) Participants in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences or seminars;
6) Individuals who will engage in independent research;
7) Individuals traveling to the United States to survey potential sites for a business and/or to lease premises;
8) Individuals coming for an elective clerkship which affords practical experience and instruction in the various disciplines of medicine under the supervision and direction of faculty physicians at a U.S. medical school's hospital;
9) Individuals temporarily resident in the United States who will be working from home as computer programmers for foreign based companies;
10) Individuals performing missionary work on behalf of a religious denomination, to engage in an evangelical tour and do not plan to take an appointment with any one church you may be eligible, or to preach in the United States for a temporary period;
11) Individuals participating in a voluntary service program which benefits a U.S. local community;
12) An amateur, or group of amateurs performing in a social and/or charitable context, or as a competitor in a talent show or contest;
13) A professional entertainer may be eligible, unless an O visa or P visa is appropriate;
14) An amateur athlete or group of athletes competing in an athletic event for which they will receive no payment, other than incidental expenses;
15) Professional athletes, such as golfers and auto racers, who receive no salary or payment other than prize money for his/her participation in a tournament or sporting event.

The B-1 in lieu of an H-1B

In certain, limited circumstances the US Consulate may issue an employment - authorized B1 visa where the work to be undertaken would usually require an H1B visa. This provision is particularly applicable to situations where you may need to send a member of staff to the US for a limited period in order to undertake specific projects for you. The requirements for acquiring a B1 in lieu of H1B are:
1. The work to be undertaken in the US must be H1B level  i.e. the worker must be engaged in a speciality occupation
2. The worker must permanently employed (i.e. not a contractor) and paid by the employer outside the US
3. The worker may receive no compensation other than expenses from a US source
4. The worker must have a degree relevant to the services to be provided, there is no provision for work experience to be considered equivalent to a degree, as there is under the H1B.

The B1 in lieu of H-1 visa generally takes 1 to 2 weeks to obtain, and considerably more supporting documentation is required than for a normal B1 visa. Periods of admission and extension are the same as for the standard B1 visa (i.e. generally 6 months).

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