How Long Does It Take to Get a B1 Visa?

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When a foreign national is interested in traveling to the United States for a brief stay in order to engage in limited business-related activities, that individual must generally secure a B1 visa before he or she will be allowed to enter the country. A B1 visa is commonly known as a business-related “visitor visa.” This nonimmigrant visa may be used for trips to the U.S. that last no longer than six months. It is possible to extend a B1 visa stay, but generally for no longer than an additional six months past the original expiration date.

While B1 visa holders are visiting the U.S., they may participate in short-term trainings, consult with business associates, attend conferences, negotiate contracts and otherwise engage in limited business activities within the scope of their current employment. B1 visa holders may not take on paid work for a U.S. employer outside of the scope of their current job duties, participate in academic study for credit or otherwise work/study in the U.S. in unauthorized ways. Despite the restrictions of the B1 business-related visitor visa, this particular visa type is often invaluable for business travelers who need to attend to important, limited work in the U.S. before returning to their countries of residence and continuing the terms of their employment there.

Obtaining a B1 business-related visitor visa is a time-sensitive and time-intensive process. As a result, it is important for aspiring business travelers to speak with an experienced immigration attorney as soon as they know their intended dates of departure and return. If you are interested in securing this kind of visa, know that it will take you and your attorney time to properly complete your nonimmigrant visa application, prepare you for your interview and compile supporting documentation. It will similarly take time for U.S. immigration officials to process your application, conduct your interview and approve or reject your petition. The amount of time that it will ultimately take you to secure a B1 visitor visa will depend on a number of factors. However, it is important to understand that you will place yourself in the best possible position to have your application approved without unnecessary delay by working with an experienced attorney. Attorneys who are intimately familiar with the visa process will know what to expect, will be capable of completing your application efficiently and will be able to help you cut through unnecessary red tape and predictable delays.


Applying for a B1 Visa and Compiling Supporting Documentation

The amount of time it will take to complete your application and compile necessary supporting documentation is largely up to you. An experienced and efficient attorney will generally be able to help you complete your application in a matter of days, provided that you have all the necessary initial information and required documentation, qualifying photograph and fees in place. After you have submitted your application and been scheduled for an interview, you will need to gather any relevant supporting documentation (as outlined by your attorney) and prepare for your interview as you wait for your interview date to arrive.


Interview and Final Approval

According to the U.S. Department of State, the wait times associated with interviews for visitor visas vary significantly according to the staffing needs and workload (at any given time) at specific U.S. embassies and consulates. When a specific location is not overloaded, you may only need to wait two or three days to be interviewed. When a specific location is experiencing a heavy volume of applications, you may need to wait weeks to be interviewed. It is partially for this reason that it is so important to speak with an attorney early in your visa process. Depending on your anticipated date of departure, you may need to accommodate a longer-than-average wait time for an interview. Please note that you can stay updated on the estimated wait times for interviews at your closest U.S. embassy or consulate by visiting the visa appointment wait time page on the Department of State website.

Once your application has been successfully submitted and your interview is complete, you will likely have your visa issued within a matter of days. However, because turnaround times vary depending on your location and a host of other factors, you should prepare to wait up to several week in order to have everything properly processed after your interview is complete.


B1 Visa Assistance Is Available

Planning ahead is critical when it comes to securing a visa successfully. Before you can start to prepare for your interview and compile your supporting documentation, you will need to contact an experienced immigration lawyer in order to properly file your application. If you are interested in securing a B1 business-related visitor visa in a prompt and efficient manner, please consider scheduling a consultation with a LawTrades immigration attorney as soon as you have set your travel dates.