Individuals interested in coming to the United States as a temporary visa (non-immigrant), the B-1 Visa is a good option. The visa allows individuals participating in a commercial or professional business activity to visit the United States for that purpose.
Some of the eligible visa activities include:
- Meeting or consulting with business associates in the United States;
- Traveling to the United States for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference taking place on specific dates;
- Administering or working through a state probate court to settle the estate of a decedent;
- To negotiate the terms or execution of a contract related to a business activity;
- To participate in a short-term, business or professional training program;
- Transiting through the United States: certain persons may transit the U.S. with a B-1 visa;
- Certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa.
It is important to understand the various options for applying for a B-1 visa. Each of these various reasons for visiting will have its own unique documents required by the USCIS (or processing consular office) to substantiate the purpose of the visit.
What Criteria Am I Attempting to Establish to Receive a B-1 Visa?
The nature of non-immigrant visa law is best described as skeptical. There is a presumption under U.S. law that any visitor intends to be a permanent immigrant to the US. It is the job of the visa applicant to demonstrate or prove to the consular officer otherwise.
As such, the visa applicant will need to provide the processing officer with all the information she needs to make the determination that the purpose of the visit is valid and true. Further, she will have to satisfy the officer that she does indeed have the intention of returning to her home country before the expiration of the visa.
Successfully applying for a B-1 Visa requires the applicant to demonstrate the following in order to be eligible for the visa:
- Purpose – You must establish the particular purpose for which you are coming to the United States. Recall from the above categories, there are various reasons that qualify. You will want to identify the documents relevant to your visit and disclose those to the consular officers. For example, if the purpose of your visit is to administer or settle a decedent’s estate, you should provide evidence from the probate court concerning the decedent’s passing and your role in the execution process. If your purpose is a business event, you should have detailed information about the business event you will be attending. Types of proof might include a registration notice or other documentation showing your name as an attendee.
- Time Period – The USCIS is very concerned that you do not overstay your requested visitation period. As such, you will need to provide documentation showing the length of your stay. For some things, such as a conference or other event, you should be able to demonstrate the conference dates. In addition, you must demonstrate that you have the intention to return to your home country. Showing a round-trip airline ticket is one example of a piece of evidence.
- Financing – Not having adequate financial means for the purpose of your visit is a signal to the USCIS that you are actually an immigrant and you do not intend to leave the US at the end of your visa period. You must demonstrate that you have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States. The expenses should include costs of food, travel, lodging, and a return flight or boat passage.
- Foreign Residence – You must be able to demonstrate that you have a residence outside the United States. You must also show that you have no intention of abandoning this residence to remain in the United States. It is also a good idea to provide evidence of other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit and within the allowable visa timeframe.
- Other Admissibility Criteria- You are otherwise admissible to the United States. This means that you do not have any previously disqualifying attributes, such as a criminal history, from a country with a travel bad, or subject to exile.
So What are the Specific Documents that Make Up the B-1 Visa?
The B-1 Visa application process generally proceeds as follows:
Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application – The process begins by completing the Form DS-160 online. After submitting the Form DS160, you must then print the confirmation page. You are required to bring it to your interview at the consulate or embassy.
Photo – When submitting the Form DS-160 online, you will upload a photo that meets the established requirements. If there is an issue with uploading the photo, you will have to bring one with you to the consular meeting. I recommend that you do not take any chances and bring a copy of the picture with you anyway.
Passport – The passport must be current and valid for travel to the United States. This generally means your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay in the United States (unless exempt by country-specific agreement). Each person submitting an application must have her own Passport.
Application Fee – You will generally be required to pay the application fee either electronically or by check at the time of mailing in the application. If you paid it electronically, you should print out a copy or the receipt and bring it to the interview.
Visit Embassy or Consulate Interview – You will need to schedule a consular interview through the consulate website. An interview is generally noted required for individuals 13 years old and younger or individuals 80 years old and older. There are some exceptions for the interview process for individuals between 14 and 79 years old for renewals of Visa application. In any event, you will need to provide any documentation necessary to demonstrate that an interview is not required, if applicable.
Further Administrative Processing – Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. You may need to submit additional documents may be requested to establish if you are qualified.
Waiver – B-1 visa applicants from certain countries may be able to enter the United States without a visa. If so, you will need to provide all of the information required to demonstrate that you meet the applicable waiver requirements.
Employment Authorization Document – This will not apply to all B-1 visitors. If the B-1 applicant plans to undertake some form of work or employment. Before doing so, the applicant must receive employment authorization. You will need to file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
Changing One’s Status – If for some reason you need to change your B-1 status while you are in the United States, you will need the following documentation:
Form I-539 – This is the form employed for applications to extend or change of status from a non-immigrant visa.
Filing Fee – The USCIS charges a filing fee, which should be paid with a check or money order made payable to the US Department of Homeland Security.
Original I-94 card – You must submit your original or a or photocopy of admission stamp and paper printout of the I-94 record.
Visa Page – Submit a photocopy of the visa page and identification page in your passport.
Visa-Specific Information – You must submit any pre-qualification documentation for the visa to which you will be switching.
Financial Support – (If applicable to your new visa) submit a detailed evidence of financial support.
While this list is not exhaustive, it does provide you with an understanding of the primary documents that will be required to complete the process.
LawTrades Knows Immigration Law
Immigration law is a very complicated area of law. While it is certainly possible for individuals to successfully navigate the procedural processes without legal assistance, it is quite risky to do so. Failure to meet any of the requirements can result in significant delays and expenses. For example, having to file an amended application will result in additional filing fees. Failing to meet certain criteria could result in losing your priority in process.
As such, it is important to work with a qualified and experienced legal professional when applying for immigrant or non-immigrant visas. A trained professional will make certain that you do not fall victim to any of these potential traps. The immigration attorneys at LawTrades are experts in all matters of immigration law.