B-1 Visa Fast Facts

Who is Eligible?

Business travelers seeking to come to the U.S. for a limited period of time, to engage in specific activities, may find the B-1 to be an elegant solution to their visa needs.  Permissible activities include the negotiation of contracts, consultation with business associates, litigation, participation in scientific, educational, professional or trade conventions, conferences or seminars, installing and servicing industrial equipment, and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature.

Is Employer Sponsorship Required?

No.  In some circumstances, such as giving lectures or settling an estate, there is no employment relationship at all.  Because B-1 business travelers are not to engage in employment in the U.S., individuals traveling for corporate business should continue to receive their regular pay at home.  Payment from a U.S. based entity is not allowed.  Incidental expenses and lecture honorarium are allowed under certain limitations.

How Long Can an Individual Stay in B-1 Status?

Depending on the nature and purpose of the visit, the admission period can range from 30 days to 6 months.  An extension of 6 months is available if circumstances warrant.

Spouses and Children

There is no dependent visa for family members in this category.  Spouses and children should apply for a B-2 "tourist visa" and will need to document the temporary nature of their travel and their intention to return to their home country at the visit's completion.

Government Filing Fees

Most B-1 visas will be obtained at consular posts.  The basic visa application fee is $160.  Nationals of some countries must pay an additional fee based on treaty obligations.

Special Issues

B-1 in Lieu of H-1B

The B-1 in lieu of H1B category provides foreign employers with the flexibility to send employees to the U.S. to perform tasks for a limited duration, particularly when such employers do not have U.S. affiliates and are unable to file a typical H-1B request.  This category is sometimes also utilized when the cap has been exhausted and stop-gap measures are necessary.  All remuneration must continue to be paid by sources outside of the U.S. 

This category, while useful, has become subject to increased scrutiny because of abuses and should be considered only in limited circumstances.