B-1, Visitor for Business

Section 101(a)(15)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) provides that an alien who has a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning and who is visiting the United States temporarily for business or for pleasure may enter the U.S. in “B” status. The regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(b) divide B visa classification into B-1 visitors for business and B-2 visitors for pleasure. The Department of State summarizes appropriate B-1 business visitor activities as follows:

The Foreign Affairs Manual lists several other permissible B-1 activities which are beyond the scope of this article.

In addition to having a legitimate purpose in entering the U.S., the B-1 applicant also must prove the following elements:

  1. Evidence of a foreign residence which the applicant has no intention of abandoning.

    This can be demonstrated by a copy of one's lease agreement on an apartment in his or her home country or a title deed to one's property; by a letter from the applicant's employer in his or her home country stating that the applicant is on leave from work and is expected to return to her job on a specified date; or by showing evidence of a spouse and/or children who are being left behind in one's home country during the trip. This list is not exhaustive, but illustrative of the types of evidence required to prove one's intent.

  2. Evidence that you intend to enter the United States for a period of specifically limited duration.

    You must be able to explain the purpose of your trip (visit relatives, attend wedding, etc.), and the duration of your anticipated travel should be consistent with the purpose of the trip.

  3. Evidence that you seek admission for the sole purpose of engaging in legitimate activities

    Provide any available documentation of the purpose of your trip, including, as appropriate: copies of contracts, email communications with business associates regarding upcoming plans for meetings, letters from foreign and/or U.S. business entities describing the purpose of travel, travel itineraries, etc.

B-1 business visitors may be admitted to the U.S. initially for between 6 months and 1 year. The period of stay is controlled by one’s I-94 record. B-1 status may be extended in 6-month increments. There is no limit to the amount of time that someone can spend in B-1 status; however, the above requirements must be met upon each extension. With each renewal, it becomes more difficult to prove nonimmigrant intent, and the risk of denial grows exponentially. However, depending on the purpose of entry, there are some legitimate business travelers who spend extended periods of time in the U.S.

B-1 on the Immigration Newswire

Congress Mandates Changes to Visa Waiver Program  (24 December 2015)

On December 8, 2015, Congress passed H.R. 158, an Omnibus spending bill, which included an Act to amend the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). That portion of the bill is titled The Visa Waiver Program Improvement Act of 2015. The impetus for the changes, which restrict usage of the VWP, was the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris.

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