B-1 or Not B-1? THAT is the question
It can be difficult for foreign workers, who wish to come to the United States for business purposes, to understand when a B-1 Business Visitor Visa is sufficient and when Work Authorization is required. Working in the U.S. without the appropriate authorization can have life-long consequences. Therefore, a careful analysis of the work to be completed in the U.S. should be undertaken before a decision is made as to the appropriate documentation that will be needed. Additional information on qualifying for a B-1 or B-2 visa can be found here.
The chart below, which is courtesy of the U.S. Department of State, provides an overview of key groupings of temporary business-related activities permitted on the B-1 Business Visitor visa. If your business purposes do NOT fit within the descriptions below, you will most likely need a different type of visa. If you are unsure whether or not you require actual work authorization for an upcoming business trip to the U.S., contact our office for a review of your situation prior to your travel.
|Purpose of Your Travel||About Your Temporary Visit|
|Athlete, professional||Receives no salary or income from a U.S.-based company/entity, other than prize money for participation in a tournament or sporting event. Try-outs for a professional team, but cannot remain in US playing on US team.
Athletes or team members who seek to enter the United States as members of a foreign based team in order to compete with another sports team shall be admitted provided:
(1) The foreign athlete and the foreign sports team have their principal place of business or activity in a foreign country;
(2) The income of the foreign based team and the salary of its players are principally accrued in a foreign country; and
(3) The foreign-based sports team is a member of an international sports league or the sporting activities involved have an international dimension.
|Business venture, investor seeking investment||Survey potential sites for a business and/or to lease premises in US. Cannot remain in US to manage business.|
|Conference, meeting, trade show or business event attendee||Will receive no salary or income from a U.S based company/entity. For scientific, educational, professional or business purposes.|
|Exposition or trade show employees of foreign exhibitors at international fairs (excludes government representatives)||Will receive no salary or income from a U.S based company/entity. Will plan, assemble, dismantle, maintain, or be employed in connection with exhibits at international fairs or expositions.|
|Lecturer or speaker||No salary or income from a U.S. based company/entity, other than expenses incidental to the visit. If honorarium will be received, activities can last no longer than nine days at any single institution or organization; payment must be offered by an institution or organization described in INA 212(g); honorarium is for services conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity; and visa applicant will not have accepted such payment or expenses from more than five institutions or organizations over the last six months.|
|Researcher||Independent research, no salary/income from a US based source, or benefit to US institution.|
|Sales/selling||Exhibition/taking orders/negotiating and signing contracts for products, which must be produced outside the U.S.|
|Service engineer (Commercial, Industrial)||Engineer(s) install, service or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a non-US company to a U.S. buyer, when specifically required by the purchase contract.
Installation cannot include construction work, except for supervision or training of US workers to perform construction.
|Training||Participating in a training program that is not designed primarily to provide employment. Will receive no payment or income from a U.S. based company/entity, other than an expense allowance or expense reimbursement related to traveler’s stay.|