What is the B in lieu of H-1B visa?

The B in Lieu of H-1B Visa is a B-1 Business Visitor Visa, with a special annotation by a U.S. Consulate abroad ("B-1 IN LIEU OF H, PER 9 FAM 402.2-5(F)"), allowing a foreign worker to enter the United States and work temporarily for a foreign employer on a discrete project.  

What are the requirements for a B in Lieu of H-1B Visa?
A B in Lieu of H-1B is appropriate for the following scenario:

  • Foreign applicant works for a foreign company,
  • On a temporary project in the United States.
  • Foreign applicant has the appropriate skills to do the job,
  • And will be paid the prevailing wage for that job.


How is the B in Lieu of H-1B Visa different from the H-1B Visa?
The B in Lieu of H-1B is different in the following respects:

  • The applicant works for a foreign company.
  • The applicant is paid by the foreign company.
  • There is no Labor Certification requirement.
  • Short duration: about 6 months (the length typically granted to a B visa holder).
  • Application must be made at a U.S. consulate rather than at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • No change of status possible in the U.S. as the "in lieu" annotation can only be made at a U.S. consulate.
  • No dependent visas, but family members joining the applicant may apply for their own B visas.


How is the B in Lieu of H-1B visa different from the B1 Business Visitor visa?
The B in Lieu of H-1B visa is different in the following respects:

  • The applicant may engage in productive work while in the United States.
  • Does not apply to Visa Waiver Travel.
  • No change of status possible in the U.S. as the "in lieu" annotation can only be made at a U.S. consulate.

However, the following B visa conditions must still be fulfilled:

  • The applicant must not receive compensation from a U.S. source; however, provision of accommodation or reimbursement of expenses incidental to a temporary stay are allowed.
  • The applicant's stay must be temporary, both per visit and in terms of the total duration of stay (in case of a multi-entry visa).
  • The applicant should still enter without immigrant intent or the intent to convert the stay to a long-term stay; for instance, the person should not look for employment in the U.S. job market.

If you are a foreign company interested in obtaining a visa for your employee or an employee in need of a visa for temporary work in the United States, please contact us. We are here to help. Follow us on InstagramTwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Tumblr for up-to-date immigration news.


Rasoulpour Torregoza is the law firm for immigrants, by immigrants. We are founded on the motto of LegalEase: we do away with the legal jargon and make law easy to understand, so you can focus on what’s important to you – going for your American Dream.
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