Visas for the United States are numerous. The US administration has organized access applications for non-immigrants from a large number of american visas. Among the non-immigrant visas starting with the letter B, we will present in detail all that concerns the Visa B1.
For a stay of less than 90 days in the United States: It is not necessary to apply for a B1 visa. You can simply apply for ESTA online. The ESTA is an Electronic Travel Authorization issued by the United States and valid for stays of less than 90 days. To obtain your certificate in a few minutes, click on the online form.
US visa B1
The B1 visa is a US visa intended for non-immigrants. It concerns foreigners wishing to travel to the United States for a business trip.
This reason, considered as “professional” or “economic”, profoundly differentiates the B1 visa from the one that approaches it by its very similar name: the B2 tourist visa. Indeed, the B2 visa relates to stays in the United States for tourism purposes or to visit friends and family.
Regarding the B1 visa, the categories of activities that it allows to consider doing in the United States can be listed as follows:
- Perform various types of investments in the United States;
- Enter into negotiations to obtain a professional contract;
- Meet with professional partners in the United States
- Attend conferences or professional events.
Visa B1 photo
Strong point of the B1 visa
It makes it possible to go to the United States as many times as necessary to develop its business relations. Most of the time the visa initially obtained has a duration of six months, but when it is expired, it is enough to ask another one directly. The number of B1 visas is not limited per person, so you can renew the visa several times in a row to continue your business relations in the United States.
Who is the B1 visa for?
The procedure for obtaining a B1 visa is intended primarily for two types of travelers:
- To nationals of countries that have not adhered to the visa waiver program and therefore absolutely require a B visa for a business trip;
- To citizens of visa waiver program countries wishing to stay in the territory between 3 to 6 months, so beyond the 90 days allowed by ESTA.
Citizens of the VWP countries do not need to apply for the US B1 visa for a stay of less than 3 months. These travelers must request an ESTA. By getting an ESTA, they do not need to go to the US Embassy and will be able to get the equivalent of the US Business Visa much faster. Canada has implemented the same Canada tourist visa waiver system.
Eligibility criteria for Visa B1
The eligibility criteria for the B1 business visa are not as strict as for other visas, but of course all of them must be completed in order to qualify for the Visa. To be eligible for Visa B1, you must:
- Plan to travel to the United States for business
- Have sufficient funds to finance the stay on site;
- Have the intention to return to the country of origin at the end of the visa and not plan to stay in the United States.
If you meet these criteria and submit the admissible supporting documents during the application process, you will be able to obtain the B1 visa following your application.
How to apply for a B1 visa?
The B1 visa application process is similar to the visa application process for all US non-immigrant visas. However, as the criteria for obtaining are few, it is ultimately less complicated.
To apply for a B1 visa, you must follow these steps:
Fill in the form DS-160
Form DS-160 is available online at the Consular Center Web site. This form DS-160 is used in most US visa applications for non-immigrants. To complete the form, prepare your basic personal information and details of your future stay. In the DS-160, a section is for the B1 visa, this is the part you need to complete. After validating your online form, you will arrive at a confirmation page indicating your application number. This number must be registered because it will be useful later in the process of obtaining the visa.
Pay visa fees
The fees associated with applying for the B1 visa are $ 160. You must pay these administrative fees in order to validate your request. In addition to the fees directly associated with the application, you may have to pay other fees such as visa fees. The amount of visa fees depends on the relationship your home country has with the United States. Once you have paid all fees, keep receipts for expenses incurred and attach them to your documents.
Schedule your visa interview
All visa applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 must attend an interview to obtain a visitor visa . Interviews are held at the US Embassy where you apply for and are operated by an Embassy official. US embassies usually have a heavy workload so you should ask for an interview as soon as possible. Early handling allows you to avoid too much waiting time and will allow you to complete the application process more quickly. You can reach your embassy by telephone to schedule the interview and receive confirmation of the appointment. You will need to bring your confirmation letter with you the day of your interview.
Prepare your B1 visa application
The set of documents to prepare for your file includes first of all the supporting documents of your American visa application. These documents will allow you to demonstrate to the US Embassy that you are eligible to obtain the B1 visa.
In addition to the standard documents required, your B1 visa application must contain the following additional documents:
- The DS-160 form submission confirmation page and the confirmation code obtained;
- The confirmation page of the interview planned at the Embassy;
- An identity photo that complies with the US visa requirements;
- A memorandum describing the reasons for your stay;
- Bank statements or any evidence that you can afford to stay in the United States;
- Evidence of your ties with your country of origin and your wish to return at the end of your stay, such as: your family, your employment contract, your lease;
- Your criminal record or a letter from the administration stating that you have no previous conviction.
- If you have ever visited the United States, provide documentation of your previous stays;
- If you are an employee, submit a letter from your employer and your last three payslips.
- A letter from your company detailing the reasons for your trip and your role in the company.
Prepare your interview
On the day of your interview, present yourself with all the documents prepared for the occasion and get ready to answer the interviewer’s questions. The questions that will be asked will relate to your personal and professional background, the reasons for your visit, what business you plan to do in the United States, and whether you intend to return to it later. Plan to present a detailed version of what you plan to do in the United States.
What is the processing time of the B1 visa?
Since the onset of the health crisis in March 2020, the deadlines for obtaining visas are not very precise, the processing of your visa may take a few weeks or even a few months. The waiting time will depend on the workload of the US embassy to which you are attached, but also other factors to take into account. Once the processing time has elapsed, you will receive a notification indicating whether or not you have obtained your B1 visa.
What are the limits of the B1 visa?
Some activities are not allowed for the holder of a B1 visa present on the American territory, here is the list of the main unauthorized activities:
- Become a full-time or part-time student
- Perform a benefit and get paid;
- Work in the press or in journalism;
- Engage in any form of employment
- Engage as a crew member on a boat or plane;
- Try to get a permanent residence in the United States.
What is the validity period of the B1 visa?
The basic validity period for which the B1 visa is obtained is six months. The US Embassy assumes that in six months you will be able to carry out all the business you have in the United States. The six-month period is also enough to allow you to visit any place in the United States.
B1 visa extension
After six months maximum, you will have to return to your home country without considering a moment to stay in the United States beyond the expiry date of your visa. However, if you wish to renew your B1 visa, you can prepare your file with your employer on this subject. You must prove that you have not been able to complete all the missions planned with the B1 visa initially obtained. You must also prepare letters of attestation from your employer indicating that your stay in the United States is essential for the business of the company. However, keep in mind that you are not allowed to work and receive a salary from a US company. Finally, you will also have to prove your financial stability again and have enough funds to stay in the United States.
Can I get a green card with a B1 visa?
To be able to obtain the B1 visa, you must prove that you will return to your country of origin. This means that you can not travel with your B1 visa and consider staying in the United States permanently. As you will have to prove your intention to return to your country during your interview, it will be very difficult for you to obtain a US green card with a B1 visa.
To obtain a permanent residence card with a B1 visa, you must either:
- Have family in the United States and ask to join them;
- Marry a US citizen with a valid marriage and then apply for permanent residence;
- Find a job in the US where the employer is willing to sponsor your visa, such as the H-1B visa, and then apply for a green card.
However, since the B1 visa is a business tourism visa, if you find a job in the United States, you will not be able to work for the company in your home country. This means that you will have to go through complicated procedures to change the status of your stay and prove that you did not intend to find a job in the United States, but that an unexpected opportunity was offered to you.
Can I bring dependents on a B1 visa?
Unfortunately, since the B1 visa is an individual temporary visa, there is no visa for dependents. This means that your spouse, children or other family members can not join you in the United States if you are the only one with a B1 visa. To be able to join you, they must apply for the B-2 visa for tourist stays. With this tourist visa, they will stay with you for six months, then ask for possible extensions of up to a year if necessary.
Obtaining a visa for one or more members of your family will not be linked to the fact that you have obtained a B1 visa. Each request will be considered individually and treated as such. Each visa application requires proof of financial ability and intention to make a limited stay before returning to the country of origin.