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What business travelers need to know about B-1 visas

Advancements in communication technology have served to transform the face of international business. Indeed, a live video teleconference can now be held between parties separated by an entire ocean with just a few clicks, while email and live chat facilitate regular, instantaneous communication for multinational corporations.

Despite the relative ease with which international parties can now communicate, business travel nevertheless remains an absolute necessity. In recognition of this fact, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has long offered those looking to enter the country temporarily for business purposes the chance to secure what is known as a B-1 visa.

Those seeking a B-1 visa to enter the U.S. must first be able to demonstrate that their trip is for a legitimate business purpose.

While a complete breakdown of all the activities that constitute legitimate business purposes for B-1 visas is clearly beyond the scope of a single blog post, here are some of the more commonly accepted reasons for temporary business travel to the U.S.

  • Consultation with associates
  • Settling of an estate
  • Contract negotiations
  • Training
  • Conventions, conferences, trade show, business events, etc.
  • Investment

It should be noted that it won't be enough for B-1 visa applicants to simply identify one of these business purposes. Rather, they will have to meet certain criteria.

To illustrate, any B-1 visa applicant looking to enter the U.S. for training must be able to demonstrate that they will not receive any sort of payment or reimbursement from a U.S.-based entity outside of expense allowance/reimbursement connected with their stay, and that the training is not designed as a mechanism for employment.

We'll continue to explore this topic in our next post, taking a closer look at the remaining eligibility requirements for B-1 visas and other pertinent information, including the period of stay provided to business travelers.

In the meantime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have any questions about securing a B-1 visa or non-immigrant visa.

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