Global Work Glossary

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Table of Contents

What is the difference between a B-1 and B-2 visa?

What activities does a B-1 visa not cover?

Who else can apply for a B-1 visa?

What are the eligibility requirements for a B-1 visa?

How do you apply for a B-1 visa?

How much does a B-1 visa cost?

How long is a B-1 visa valid?

Can you change status from B-1?

Get your B-1 visa fast with Deel immigration

What is a B1 visa

The B-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa classification that allows foreigners to enter the United States for business. B-1 visas are temporary. They cover a variety of business activities, including:

  • Contract negotiations
  • Observerships
  • Business, professional, scientific, or educational conventions, seminars, and conferences
  • Colleague or business consultations
  • Lecture presentations
  • Job interviews

The visa holder must support their expenses while in the country on a B-1 visa. The holder cannot receive payments or remuneration for any business they conduct during their stay. The holder also must not work or study in the United States while on B-1 status.

💡 In a hurry to plan your visit to the US? Deel’s in-house immigration team can handle the entire visa application process on behalf of the applicant and deliver the B-1 visa fast. We file paperwork, facilitate visa stamping, and support the applicant and their dependents on their journey into the country, from application to approval. Get started now.

What is the difference between a B-1 and B-2 visa?

The B-1 visa is a type of B visa. It is often compared to, and sometimes granted alongside, the B-2 visa. However, while B-1 status allows holders to visit the US temporarily for business, the B-2 lets them tour the country. The B-2 visa is also known as the tourism visa. It can be used to, among other things:

  • Visit friends and relatives in the US
  • Go on vacation or holiday
  • Participate in a social event hosted by a social or fraternal organization

The B-2 visa also allows holders to seek medical treatment in the US under some circumstances.

Discover which US visas Deel can support with our free US immigration guide.

What activities does a B-1 visa not cover?

As mentioned, the B-1 visa is intended for business visits to the US. The Immigration and Nationality Act forbids the use of the B-1 visa for the following activities:

  • Study
  • Professional or paid performances before paying audiences
  • Long-term employment by a US employer
  • Permanent residence
  • Work for foreign press, including print, radio, and film

Because a B-1 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant category, it does not allow permanent residence in the US. However, holders can apply for a green card while on B-1 status.

See also: How to Get a US Work Visa for a Foreign Worker

Who else can apply for a B-1 visa?

Besides (unpaid) business visitors, several other parties may qualify for a B-1 visa under certain circumstances. They include:

Voluntary service program participants

Applicants may receive a B-1 visa to participate in a voluntary program that benefits local communities in the US. To qualify, applicants must establish a commitment to or membership in a nonprofit or religious organization. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must officially recognize the organization. Additionally, the voluntary program must not accept donations or involve selling articles.

Specialized workers

In cases where a contract of sale specifies such a service, a company outside the US may send a specialized worker to the country to repair, install, or service purchased machinery or equipment. This worker may receive a B1 visa but cannot be paid by a US source for their work.

International competition participants

The US government may also grant a B-1 visa to those participating in a competition in the United States. The holder may not receive any remuneration for their participation besides a prize and expenses. Without exceeding a reasonable limit, a US source may provide the holder with an allowance or reimburse their costs.

Personal/domestic employees

The US government may grant a personal or domestic employee a B-1 visa to accompany their US citizen or foreign employer into the country. The employer may also already be in the United States.

Private yacht crewmembers

If you enter the country on a private yacht, you can get your crewmembers B-1 visas to facilitate entry. Each crewmember must demonstrate that they do not intend to remain in the US permanently.

💡 Find out if you are eligible for the B-1 visa with Deel’s in-built eligibility checker. Explore our immigration platform or schedule a call with an expert today.

What are the eligibility requirements for a B-1 visa?

To qualify for the B-1 visa, applicants must prove intent to return to their home country at the end of their visit. They must also be able to afford the trip and submit the following supporting documents:

  • A valid passport usable for six months after the end of your trip
  • Proof of sufficient funds to cover your travel expenses, including travel and accommodations
  • A digital photograph that meets the photo requirements set by the US government
  • Evidence of strong ties to their home country, including property, a job, or a family
  • Where applicable, documentation of their last five trips to the US

The USCIS may impose more qualification requirements on the application depending on why the applicant is entering the country. For instance, voluntary service program participants may need to submit a letter on official letterhead from a recognized charitable organization. A domestic employee may need a signed agreement with their employer, and so on.

Read more about these specific qualifications here.

To prove that the applicant retains strong ties to their home country and do not plan to stay in the United States permanently, they must submit documents such as:

  • A certificate of residence
  • A residence permit (for foreigners)
  • An employment contract
  • A marriage certificate
  • Property lease or mortgage documents, etc.

If the applicant does not qualify for a B-1 visa, they may be able to enter the country for business on an alternative visa. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is available to citizens of most European nations. It allows holders to travel to the US for tourism or business while in transit for up to 90 days. The Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) affords Chinese citizens similar rights.

See also: Enterprise Employee Visa: Your Essential Application Guide

How do you apply for a B-1 visa?

Once you confirm eligibility, the applicant can apply for their B-1 visa at the US embassy or consulate in their home country. The visa application process involves the following steps:

  • Create an online account with the consulate or embassy in the home country
  • Fill out the DS-160 online application
  • Print the confirmation page (the applicant must bring this as evidence)
  • Pay the application fee
  • Schedule interview appointments with the consular office
  • Father required documentation
  • Attend the interview and bring all the documents mentioned above

If the consular office approves the application, the applicant receives the visa within a week. The passport will also be returned to the applicant using the option they selected when setting up their account.

If the office denies the visa, it will send back the passport. The applicant will also receive an official letter from the consular office explaining why the visa was denied.

💡 Deel’s Immigration support helps applicants track visa status throughout the application process. Sign up to receive regular status updates, personal notes, and projected completion dates through the Deel dashboard or email.

How much does a B-1 visa cost?

The B-1 application process involves a $160 filing fee. This fee is exclusive of visa insurance fees, which depend on the applicant's home country and the cost of gathering supporting documents.

In some cases, applicants may not pay to apply for a B-1 visa. Examples include a US government employee or an applicant attending a charitable event.

How long is a B-1 visa valid?

The B-1 visa is valid for a maximum of 6 months. Upon arrival at a port of entry, a US customs and border protection (CBP) officer will admit the visa holder into the country for a given duration. The Form I-94 will have more details about how long the holder can stay.

If the holder wishes to remain in the country longer than the standard six months, they can apply to extend their stay to a year. The must file Form I-539 (Application to Extend or Change Nonimmigrant Status) at least 45 days before the current B-1 visa expires.

💡 Track visa status and renew expired visas from one platform. Deel’s immigration support helps you stay ahead of renewal dates and legal changes so the B-1 visa is always up to date.

The B-1 is a multiple-entry visa. This means the holder can use it to travel to the United States multiple times. There is usually no limit to how many times a year the holder can visit. However, the holder cannot use the B-1 visa to live permanently in the US. The CBP officers at the point of entry also have discretion over whether to admit the holder into the country each time they apply.

Can you change status from B-1?

Yes, B-1 visa holders can change their B-1 visa category to another classification while in the country. The applicant must meet the requirements of that classification and submit a change of status application to USCIS. If approved, a different classification will allow the holder to remain in the country longer.

See also: How to get a UAE residence visa in six steps

Get your B-1 visa fast with Deel immigration

If you or your employee wish to visit the US temporarily for business, the B-1 visa is a fast and convenient entry option. However, navigating the acceptable activities, application process, and eligibility criteria can present a minefield. At Deel, we take over the visa application process, stressing the details so you don’t have to. Our in-house immigration support handles everything from document gathering to filing DS-160s.

Contact us today to discuss your business travel needs with the Deel immigration team and get your B-1 visa fast.

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