Temporary Visas


Typically, any citizen of a foreign country wishing to enter the United States must obtain a visa. A B-1 visa — commonly referred to as a business visa — is a nonimmigrant visa for people traveling to the U.S. for a temporary stay.

Typically, any citizen of a foreign country wishing to enter the United States must obtain a visa.  A B-1 visa — commonly referred to as a business visa — is a nonimmigrant visa for people traveling to the U.S. for a temporary stay.

What Is a Business Visa?

A business visa is issued by the U.S. Department of State to business travelers. To be eligible for a business visa, you must be able to demonstrate that:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the U.S. for a legitimate business
  • You have the funds to cover all expenses for the length of your trip and stay in the U.S.
  • Your trip is set for a specific, limited period of time
  • You have binding ties that will ensure you’ll return to your home country
  • You’re otherwise admissible to the U.S.

For How Long Is a Business Visa Valid?

A business visa is commonly valid for ten years. A single visa can permit multiple trips to the United States. Unless your business visa is canceled or revoked, it will remain valid until the expiration date stated on your visa.

What Activities Can I Do With a Business Visa?

The activities you can do with a business visa are restricted to business-related activities. However, this still covers a broad range of activities. Here are activities you can participate in without violating the status of your B-1 visa:

  • Consulting with clients or business associates
  • Attending educational, scientific, professional, or business conventions/conferences
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Attending and participating in meetings
  • Participating in short-term training
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention, or a conference on specific dates

However, note that the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) does not allow business visa holders to engage in gainful employment while present in the United States. Therefore, you aren’t allowed to perform labor for a U.S.-based employer.

How Do I Apply for a Business Visa?

You can apply for a business visa by submitting Form DS-160 and complying with other requirements. Then, you can begin the process online through the Consular Electronic Application Center website. The form will likely take a few hours to complete, and you’ll need copies of your passport, itinerary, business registration, and other supporting documents. You can also pay for the required visa fees online.

Afterward, you’ll have to schedule and attend an interview at the U.S. embassy in your country.

What Supporting Documents Do I Need for a Business Visa?

You need several supporting documents for a business visa, such as:

  • A letter from your employer stating the length and purpose of the trip
  • Documents discussing the nature of your business (brochures, business cards, etc.)
  • Invitation letter from U.S.-based business/conference/convention
  • Proof of registration at conference/convention

When you submit your application for a business visa (Form DS-160), the consular officer will review these documents supporting your application. They are one of many factors the consular officer will consider when deciding whether a business visa should be issued. They have significant weight even if they aren’t the only factors considered.

Thus, your supporting documents should be clear, detailed, and well prepared. Your goal is to present persuasive evidence that you are eligible for a business visa. 

Do I Need Proof of Foreign Residence for a Business Visa?

Yes, you must provide proof of foreign residence for a B-1 visa. Under INA section 214(b), all business visa applicants are presumed to be intending immigrants. As such, you need to prove that you only intend to stay in the U.S. for a temporary period of time, in line with the scope of a business visa.

The best way to prove your nonimmigrant intent is by presenting proof of business, social, or economic ties to your home country. These ties should ensure you return to your home country at the end of your visit. You must be a foreign national who has a permanent residence in a foreign country, with no intention of abandoning that foreign residence. Your visit must have a specific, limited period of time.

What Can I Do if I Am Inadmissible to the U.S.?

If you are inadmissible to the U.S., you may still be eligible for a business visa if granted a nonimmigrant visa waiver. Examples of people that are inadmissible under the INA are: 

  • Those who have certain health disorders that may pose a threat to themself or others
  • Those convicted of moral turpitude crimes (e.g., murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, voluntary manslaughter, etc.) 
  • Those who have previously accrued too much “unlawful presence” in the U.S. (i.e., stayed in the U.S. illegally) 
  • Those who have made a material misrepresentation to obtain an immigration benefit (e.g., faking marriage status to a U.S. citizen)

For some of these categories, waivers are available to “excuse” your inadmissibility. These waivers may seem difficult or confusing to obtain, but it’s certainly possible with the help of an immigration lawyer. 

Next Steps

The U.S. is great for business growth. If you are among the many professionals who have been struggling to secure a visa but still want to do business in the U.S., consider working with an immigration lawyer. Our skilled legal team at Reeves Immigration Law Group has substantial experience helping our clients pursue B-1 visas. Feel free to contact us today for a confidential consultation about your case.


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