The B-1 business visitor visa allows businesspersons to enter the U.S. on relatively short notice. B-1 business visitors may be admitted for the purpose of engaging in business activities, but not for the purpose of engaging in the performance of skilled or unskilled labor. A B-1 visa may not be used for the purpose of obtaining employment while in the United States. Permitted activities include attending conventions, conferences, consultation, negotiations and meetings; engaging in activities appropriate to a member of a board of directors of a U.S. corporation; undertaking independent research; and conducting litigation. A B-1 visa can be used for a trainee as long as the trainee will not receive a salary. The trainee must also show that training is not available in his or her home country, that the training will benefit his or her career abroad, and that the training neither includes productive employment nor displaces a U.S. worker.
To be eligible for a B-1 visa, the applicant must:
- maintain a residence in a foreign country which he or she does not intend to abandon
- intend to enter the U.S. for a period of specifically limited duration and
- seek admission solely to engage in legitimate activities relating to business.
A U.S. source may not pay a B-1 visitor for services rendered in connection with the U.S. activities, but may provide an expense allowance or reimbursement for incidental expenses. Incidental expenses are limited to the actual reasonable expenses incurred in traveling to and from the event, together with living expenses reasonably expected to be incurred for meals, lodging, laundry, and other basic services.
The Department of State has established the Worldwide Business Visa Center online that allows online application for the B-1 Business Visitor visa.