What is the B-1 Business Visitor Visa? Can I work or study with a B-1 Business Visitor Visa? Do I need a lawyer to apply for this visa?

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A B-1 Business Visitor Visa is a temporary visa granted to individuals who are planning to come to the United States to participate in business activities of a commercial or professional nature. Click here for our blog post on the B-2 Tourist Visa.
 
Applicants for visitor visas must show through documentary evidence:

  • That the purpose of their trip is to enter the United States temporarily for business or pleasure;
  • That they plan to remain for a specific, limited period;
  • Evidence of funds to cover expenses in the United States;
  • That they have a residence outside the United States as well as other binding ties that will ensure their departure from the United States at the end of the visit.

Do I need a visa?
Travelers coming to the United States for tourism or business (B-1 or B-2 category visa) purposes for 90 days or less from qualified countries may be eligible to travel without a visa if they meet the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) requirements.
 
Can I work with a B-1 Visa?
No. You cannot work or study as a B-1 visa holder. However, there are a variety of activities permitted a B-1 visa holder:

  • Consulting with business associates
  • Attending a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
  • Settling an estate
  • Negotiating a contract
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Transiting through the United States
  • Deadheading

This includes the following individuals and cannot draw any salary from a United States entity:

  • Athletes and sports teams attending tournaments, sporting events or professional tryouts
  • Investor seeking investment: e.g. survey sites or lease premises
  • Conference, meeting, trade show, or business event attendee
  • Exposition or trade show employees of foreign exhibitors at international fairs
  • Lecturer or speaker
  • Researcher
  • Salesperson
  • Commercial or Industrial Service Engineer
  • Participant in training program not designed primarily to provide employment
  • Certain personal or domestic employees. 

Can I study with a B-1 Visa?
No. You cannot study on a B-1 Visa. You must first change your status to F-1 or M-1 before you can enroll in a course of study. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently issued Special Instructions for B-1/B-2 Visitors Who Want to Enroll in School, which provides additional guidance on this question. Essentially, if a B-1 visa holder enrolls in school before they change status to F-1 or M-1, they will have violated their status.
 
Do I need a lawyer to apply for a visa?
Not necessarily. Many people have successfully applied for their own visas. However, many applicants are also denied or refused a visa. This is a result of many factors, including the quality of information provided to the U.S. consulate or USCIS. If you have a previous denial, previous contact with law enforcement or immigration, and other concerns, we recommend seeking the advice of an experienced attorney who can assist you in the application process. Follow the link to the U.S. Department of State’s Business Visitor Center for more information.


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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