What is a US Business Visa? A kind of US Visitor Visa, the US Business Visa (B-1) is available to eligible foreigners looking to enter the United States primarily for business. As a non-immigrant visa, the US B1 allows temporary access to the US for foreigners who would otherwise need a visa to enter the country (i.e. those who are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
Successful recipients of the B-1 Business Visa can remain in the United States until their duration of stay ends. The length of a duration of stay (how long an applicant can stay in the US on a granted visa) is typically determined by the US border officials, who decide how long you can remain in the country based on a number of factors, including nationality and reason for travel. While the validity period of B-1 Business visa may range from a few months to 10 years depending on the nationality of the applicant.
Who is eligible for a B-1 Visa? B-1 Business Visa eligibility extends exclusively to non-Visa Waiver nationals (i.e. those ineligible for the VW program) who are attempting to come to the United States for business purposes (elaborated below). Please note that B-1 Visas are only available to non-immigrant foreigners; those who wish to stay longer than the standard six-month duration are ineligible for the visa.
Travel purposes which meet the B-1 Visa requirements include those relating to business. These most frequently include the attendance of business meetings/conventions and engagement in estate administration. Foreigners traveling for the purpose of engaging in discussions surrounding contract negotiations may also apply for a B-1 Business Visa.
How to Apply for a US Business Visa (B-1) involves submitting the below required documents. Please consider that other documents/materials pertaining to the specific nature of your trip (business) may be requested by the consular authorities.
A main component of a complete application for a US B-1 Visa, this form should be completed in English. Access it online via the following link, and be sure to print out the confirmation page in order to submit it at your visa interview
Colorized, recent, passport-sized image, which should be electronically submitted as an element of the DS-160 application form (or alternatively submitted in paper copy at visa appointment).
A travel document, which is valid, which also has an expiration date that extends beyond your US Business Visitor Visa period, plus an additional six months.
Total payment (and payment confirmation) of the B-1 Visa cost (you may be able to pay your Business Visitor Visa fee at your visa appointment.
Other forms/docs which may not be needed but which typically are requested by authorities include those which may be used to prove the following:
How to Apply For US Business Visa (B-1):
Think about when you need to be in the United States so that you receive your B-1 Visa before you need to travel.
Business B-1 Visa applicants should apply through a US Embassy or Consulate—typically in their country of residence.
• US Business Visa applicants should apply online, by using the DS-160 form. Consider that this form must be completely filled out and printed out (the specific page needed to be printed is the barcode/confirmation page) in advance of your visa interview, where you will be asked to present the barcode page of the DS-160 as well as other physical application materials.
• Put together the rest of your application by collecting the rest of the required materials, such as your passport.
• Making an in-person visa appointment is a necessity for the majority of US Business visa applicants (usually, this is when you will submit all of your application). Your visa appointment will take place at the US Embassy or Consulate you are applying through.
• Because it can sometimes take weeks or even months to get a visa interview, you should attempt to get one (by contacting the embassy/consulate to schedule one) as soon as possible, in case you are forced to wait a long time for your appointment.
Your visa appointment is where you will fulfill the in-person B-1 Visa requirements (i.e. pay for your visa, sit for a US visa interview, have your biometrics collected, etc).
When you formally submit your application, you may have to wait for it to be processed (this can take weeks or even months due to US visa processing times not being consistent (i.e. they vary across application destinations). Alternatively, you may be given a visa (or be shown a rejection notice) immediately post-interview. Ultimately, you will need to have your physical B-1 Visa at the ready in order to enter the US. Once it is given, you may travel.
The B-1 Visa cost is typically $160 per applicant, however some applicants should also budget for what is called an issuance fee (whether you have to pay this fee or not depends on what country you are from). Please note that all fees are non-refundable (however, only successful Business Visa applicants are liable for the issuance fee).
Apply for your B-1 Visa so that you receive it in time for you to travel. This will involve taking into account all the potential stages of the US Business Visa (B-1) application process. It is recommended that applicants apply weeks—if not months—in advance of when they need to travel, given that a decision on an applicant’s application is dependent on the outcome of a visa interview, which can sometimes take months to arrange (depending on the US Mission the applicant is applying through).
While many applicants are informed as to the outcome of their application at the end of their interview, others will see their application sent for additional review. Processing times (to be discussed below) for this additional review process can also vary. Contact the American Embassy/Consulate you are applying through in order to determine how long it will take you to get a visa appointment. This will give you a better idea of how long the whole process will take (and therefore when to apply).
While some key steps of the US Business Visa (B-1) application process may be accomplished electronically (for example, the D-160 form is submitted online), you will ultimately apply for a B-1 Business visa through the American Embassy or Consulate closest to you (i.e. in your country of residence). The embassy/consulate is where you will meet the in-person requirements for your visa.
After you attend your visa interview and formally submit a physical copy of your complete B-1 Visa application (and attendant required documents) your application may be submitted for official processing. Because all visa applications have the potential to be subjected to administrative review, all applicants for US B-1 visas should factor in extra time for processing into their application timeline.
The US B1 Visa is a kind of US Visitor Visa (the other being the B2 Tourist Visa), which allows foreigners who need a visa to come to the US the opportunity to do so for business purposes.
Traditionally, B1 business visa holders can remain in the US six months after entering. However, it is also possible to extend the B-1 Visa.
Anyone who meets the B-1 Visa requirements (outlined above) and who successfully demonstrates their intent to come to the US for business (and leave the country before their visa expires) is eligible for the B-1 Visa.
The B-1 Visa Cost is $160 for applicants who do not have to pay a visa issuance fee.
All applicants interviewing for US visas will be asked basic biographical questions about themselves. As someone seeking a B1 visa, you will also likely be asked to provide answers to questions about your business interests in the US, such as the nature of the business you seek to conduct there.