Aside from being a well-known destination for tourism and employment, it is also a good choice of country for business purposes.
That being said, visitors who want to enter the United States for business purposes are issued a B1 non-immigrant visa.
An individual who has a B1 visa can participate in the following activities:
- Settle estates
- Consult with business associates in the US.
- Negotiate contracts.
- Attend meetings, professional, business events, or educational.
One of the numerous advantages of this visa type is that you can build business relationships and visit the country as often times as it is required for business.
You can always apply for another one after your visa expires. Interestingly, this visa type also does not have a restricted number of visas that can be issued out yearly.
Who Can Apply for a US Business Visa?
Well, you are not required to apply for a US Business visa if you are a citizen of one of the countries in the Visa Waiver Program, instead what you can apply for is an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
It is unnecessary for you to go to the US Embassy in person if you have the ESTA program, and obtaining a business visa will be much faster.
Who is qualified for the B1 Visa?
While the US business visa eligibility criteria are not strict when compared to other visas, however, you are expected to fulfill them if you must qualify. We have listed below the criteria that you must meet for you to obtain the B1 visa:
- Your intention for visiting the United States must be connected to a business.
- You must have adequate finances to fend for yourself during your stay in the United States.
- If you intend to go back to your home country upon the expiration of your visa.
That being said, if you are able to meet these criteria and also prove your eligibility via valid documents in the application phase, no doubt, you will be able to apply and get the B1 visa.
What are the steps to apply for a US Business Visa?
You must pass through the processes below if you must apply for a B1 visa:
- Fill Form DS-160.
- Pay the B1 visa fees.
- Schedule your visa interview.
- Get your B1 visa documents file ready.
- Go for the interview.
Fill Form DS-160
Just like most US non-immigrant visa applications, the Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application is used to apply for a business visa.
In this form, you are required to give information concerning your details, background as well as the purpose of the visit. Just locate the section specifically designed for the B1 visa and fill it.
Upon submission, a confirmation page and number will be sent to you and you will need them later on during the application process.
You can fill out the DS-160 form online via:
- With the assistance of a visa processing assistant, or
- Consular Electronic Application Center
Pay the B1 visa fees
The application fee for the B1 visa is $160 and it has to be paid if you must continue with your application.
Also, there are other fees like visa issuance fees you may be asked to pay aside from the application fee, and the amount of visa issuance fee is dependent on the relationship between your home country and the US.
Lastly, ensure that you have and keep the receipt of every fee you pay, they should be attached to your documents.
Schedule your visa interview
As long as you fall within the age range of 14 and 79 years old, you must attend a visitor visa interview as an applicant. The interviews take place at the US Embassy where you are applying and it is carried out by an official.
Make sure you schedule your interview early enough because United States Embassies normally have a high workload. By so doing, you can avoid long wait times thereby completing the application process sooner.
In a case like this, all you need to do is to call your Embassy and schedule the interview, and then you will receive your interview confirmation letter which you must bring along with you on the day of your interview.
Get your B1 visa documents file ready
To support your application, do prepare the common documents required for the business visa application. Below are the additional documents that are expected to be seen in your B1 visa application, they are:
- The Form DS-160 confirmation page and the code sent to you.
- Your valid passport must be 6 months valid beyond your intended stay in the US.
- Information about your social media accounts, a list of the social media accounts you use including the name you bear in each of them
- The confirmation page of the interview.
- A photo that meets the requirements of the US Visa photo.
- Financial or bank statements to serve as proof that you have adequate finances to remain in the US.
- Ties to your home country like a job contract, lease, family, or property deed, which will also serve as proof that you intend to return.
- Criminal records or letters obtained from authorities to show that you don’t have convictions in the past.
- If you have been to the US in the past, bring documents relevant to your past visits.
- If you are employed, bring with you, a letter from your employer and payslips for the past three months.
- A letter from the company describing the aim of your trip and your job position.
Go for the interview
On the interview date, you are expected to bring your documents file with you and be ready to answer questions from the interviewer. Expect questions ranging from your background, the business you will be doing in the U.S, the aim of your visit to whether you will be returning or not.
Answer each question specifically and don’t forget to give comprehensive information about what you intend to do in the United States.
How Long before the B1 Visa can be processed?
Truthfully, there is no exact time for processing the B1 visa. It takes either a few weeks or even months sometimes for your visa to be processed.
Whichever way, the processing time depends on the workload of the US Embassy, they also take other factors into consideration. Finally, you will be told if you got the visa or not only after the processing time is complete.
How Long is the B1 Visa Valid?
Initially, the validity for the B1 visa is 6 months because the US embassy expects that you should be able to complete whatever business you have in the U.S within that time frame.
Furthermore, they assume that within this period, you should have visited and toured anywhere you want to in the United States.
All about B1 Visa Extension
You are expected to go back to your home country after six months and not exceed your visa expiration date. Nevertheless, if by chance you want to get your B1 visa extended, you have to figure that out with your employer by getting a confirmation letter from them to prove that your extended stay in the U.S is majorly for the purpose of business.
Please don’t forget that you are not authorized to work for a US company and earn income, therefore you must also prove that you have adequate funds to stay in the United States.
Can a B1 Visa Holder Get a Green Card?
Remember that we earlier said that one of the criteria for being qualified for a B1 visa is that you must prove your intention of returning back home. How then can you have plans of staying permanently in Canada?
Well, if you still insist, be prepared to prove this and state it during your interview because it will be difficult to get a Green Card while on a B1 visa. However, you must either be any of the following to be able to get a permanent residence with a B1 visa:
- Have family in the US and then you can apply to join them.
- Get married legally to a US citizen and then apply for permanent residence.
- Secure a job in the US where the employer is ready to fund your visa like the H-1B visa, and then apply for the Green Card.
Please another point you should note is that as a B1 visa holder if you secure a job in the United States, you will not be permitted to work for the company in your home country.
In addition to this, you will have to go through a rigorous process to change your status and convince them that you had no intentions of finding a job in the US, but an unexpected opportunity came your way.
Can I Access American Healthcare With a Business Visa Visa?
No, you won’t have access to free healthcare since you are a foreigner visiting the United States for tourism purposes. We sincerely advise you to buy a health insurance plan because the American healthcare system is the most pricey in the world.
Can I Bring Dependents to the USA As A Business Visa Holder?
You already know that the B1 visa is an individual temporary visa, therefore it does not have dependent visas. It means that if you are the only one that has a B1 visa, your spouse, children, or other family members cannot join you in the United States but if they wish to join you, they can apply for the B2 visa or the US tourist visa.
Also, your dependents getting a visa or not has nothing to do with the fact that you have a B1 visa as each application is individually considered, that being said, there must always be proof of financial stability and that you intend to return home.
In conclusion, we believe that you have known all there is to know about B1 visas ranging from the meaning, eligibility criteria, steps to take when applying, and finally, frequently asked questions about the visa.