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DownloadLearn more about how the immigration process works and help you with your immigration concerns and questions. The Charleston USA Immigration Law Center is here to support you in your goal to become a United States citizen.

B-1 Visa: Temporary Business Visitor

This is a nonimmigrant entry visa for business on a short term limited and restricted basis for specific purposes such as to:

  • Sign up business and negotiate contracts,
  • Settle a probate or estate,
  • Attend short term training or observe business procedures,
  • Consult with business partners and associates,
  • Transit through the U.S.,
  • Attend scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, workshops, seminars and conferences,
  • Inquire how to set up franchises, subsidiaries or make investments,
  • Install technical equipment, if a technical person,
  • Give advice about installing foreign machinery,
  • Be a guest lecturer at a U.S. university, or
  • When a coasting officer (officer of a foreign ship granted home leave while the vessel is in U.S. ports) seeks to enter the U.S., or
  • When crew members of a private yacht sailing out of a foreign port will be cruising U.S. waters for more than 29 days

To qualify a foreign national must satisfy the home country U.S. Embassy or Consulate that he/she has a permanent residence abroad with no desire of abandoning it, family and work ties to the home country, assets in the home country, sufficient funds to return home and to maintain oneself in the U.S., the purpose of the trip is for business and that the trip is for only a specific short duration. The applicant cannot work nor attend university studies.

B-1 Visitor Visa Submission Process

To apply, the business visitor will need passport size photos, his/her passport valid for 6 months beyond the intended visit, proof of funds for the cost of the trip, valid ship passage or roundtrip airline ticket, and a nonrefundable application fee of $45 plus Form OF-156 obtainable at any home U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Some U.S. Embassies and Consulates have special rules about what days you can enter, entry procedures and entry fees. So, check with your home country U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A visa issuance fee will also be owing upon approval.

B-1 Visa Length of Stay

Generally, the length of stay is a maximum of 6 months. However, a renewal of another 6 months can be procured under extenuating circumstances using USCIS Form I-539, with accompanying documents and paying all required filing fees.

Visa Waiver Pilot Program

This program permits foreign nationals of certain designated countries seeking entry to the U.S. for temporary business to enter without a visa. Currently, 37 countries participate in a U.S. program that does not require a visa to enter our country for short term business and travel. Participants can only stay a maximum of 90 days and cannot work, study nor change their immigration status to another category upon arrival. Currently, the participating countries are; Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

Finally, please remember that the DHS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have absolute discretion and authority to admit or deny any traveler requesting admission into the U.S. should they believe or determine that the business visitor poses a threat to the U.S. or its entry visa paperwork is not in order. Just because you have obtained a valid visa from your home country U.S. Embassy or Consulate processing does not guarantee your entry. Border review is the final step. Inadmissibility can be for the commission of fraud, drug trafficking, smuggling, overstay on a previous visa, fraudulent document submission, criminal record or terrorism.

If this occurs to you the CBP can detain you and put you on the next flight home, allow you remain in the airports secured area or allow you a temporary exit for a limited time to consult with an attorney. By all means seek legal consultation to explore your options for a Waiver of Inadmissibility. We can provide that legal consultation.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
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Charleston USA Immigration Law Center, LLP - Immigration Lawyer in Charleston, SC
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