B-1/B-2 Visa Classification
Certain foreign nationals may travel to the U.S. for a temporary visit for either pleasure or business. Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who desire to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (visa category B-1/B-2). Temporary visitors must have a home in a foreign country that they do not intend to abandon, which demonstrates their strict nonimmigrant intent.
Temporary visitors may seek entry to the U.S. either:
- By presenting a valid B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visa, or,
- If eligible, under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as either a visitor for pleasure (VWT) or a visitor for business (VWB).
Our attorneys will advise you on temporarily visiting the U.S. to perform a business activity as a business visitor. We offer guidance about available methods – specific to you – for entering the U.S. using either a B-1/B-2 nonimmigrant visa, or visa-free travel with ESTA authorization, under the Visa Waiver Program. As a visitor visa holder, it is important you are fully aware of the types of activities that are permitted and prohibited during your visit to the United States. Our attorneys are here to counsel on these key issues.
Foreign nationals may enter the US as business visitors if their U.S. activities are primarily:
- Engaging in commercial transactions that do not include employment for services in the US. The traditional example is a foreign businessperson who is in the US to take orders for goods that are manufactured outside the US.
- Negotiating contracts.
- Consulting with business associates.
- Attending meetings.
- Attending court proceedings.
- Participating in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars.
- Undertaking independent research.
Business visitors may also be admitted to the U.S. to engage in certain employment activities that are incidental to their normal professional business activities. Please call our office for a consultation about whether your activities qualify.
Permissible activities include:
- Vacation (holiday)
- Visiting with friends or relatives
- Medical treatment
- Participating in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations
- Participating in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if the amateur is not paid for participating
- Enrolling in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a 2-day cooking class while on vacation)
B-1/B-2 visas may be issued for up to 10 years duration and multiple entries. The visa’s validity period depends on:
- Visa reciprocity between the US and the foreign national’s country of citizenship and
- How well the foreign national has documented ties to the home country so that the consular officer is confident the foreign national will return abroad after the short-term travel to the US.
U.S. law presumes that applicants for U.S. nonimmigrant visas are seeking immigrant Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. To overcome this presumption, our attorneys will assist in demonstrating your ties to your home country to satisfy a consular office that your intended travel purpose fits within the nonimmigrant visa classification that you are requesting. Although several nonimmigrant visa categories (H-1, L-1, and O-1) allow applicants to seek LPR and nonimmigrant status at the same time, other categories, such as the B-1/B-2 and F-1 classifications, require visa applicants to prove that they will depart the U.S. when their travel purpose has been fulfilled or their permitted US stay is expiring.
Entering the U.S. with a B-1/B-2 Visa
A visitor visa holder may be admitted to the U.S. for up to one year on each trip. However, the visitor must provide documentation evidencing the duration of time needed to complete the trip’s purpose. For example, if a business traveler is entering the U.S. to meet with business colleagues and potential customers and seeks entry for six months, the traveler must be able to show (in addition to meeting other criteria, such as sufficient funds to support the visitor while in the U.S.) that they have prearranged meetings that are scheduled over the course of six months.
Temporary business visitors who enter the U.S. using a B-1/B-2 visa may request an extension of their B-1 status in increments of up to six months. Each request for an extension must include documents that substantiate the need for additional time. Our attorneys will file the appropriate forms and documentation for your B-1 extension.
There is no limit on how many times business visitors may enter the United States. Visitors may be admitted as long as they present credible documents substantiating the legitimate purpose of their trip. However, if a temporary business visitor makes many trips or spends a substantial amount of time in the U.S. in B-1 status, CBP is likely to begin questioning whether the visitor’s intent or activities requires a different type of visa classification, such as a work visa or a green card.
Our attorneys are ready to prepare your Business Visitor’s Application for a B-1/B-2 visa for admission to the United States. We will tailor your entire application package based on your specific needs and submit it to USCIS. For more information, please call our office at (305) 391-2105 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.