The B-1 in Lieu of H-1B visa is a form of B-1 visa application. It is used by non-immigrant temporary employees who seek to undertake work on the United States. It is primarily used by graduate-level staff and intra-company transfers.
In this article, we discuss the reasons for the B-1 in Lieu of H-1B visa and the process and documents required as part of the application process. We also discuss the various advantages of the B-1 over the H-1B and the additional requirements for securing the B-1 in lieu of H-1B beyond the requirements of the B-1 visitor visa.
What is the Purpose Behind the B1 in Lieu of H1B Visa?
The reason for the B-1 in Lieu of H-1B visa regards the difficulty in obtaining the H-1B or other temporary, non-immigrant work visa. The H-1B, for example, is extremely oversubscribed each year. Only about 1 in 3 student applicants are able to achieve the H-1B status. It can also be expensive to obtain in H1B visa for intra-company transfers. The B-1 application process if are easier, cheaper, and there are no quotas. Additionally, it is easier to demonstrate the qualifications for the B-1 than for other non-immigrant work visas.
Generally, the B-1 is used when a US company contracts with a foreign company to perform work. A foreign employee then comes to the US temporarily to work on the project. The B-1 is that it is granted for up to a six-month period. It can be extended once for an additional six months.
What is Required to Qualify for a B1 in Lieu of H1B Visa?
The applicant must meet the following questions:
- Specialty Occupation – The work to be undertaken in the US must be speciality work by a skilled professional. This is the same level of skill required for the H1B visa. A skilled worker must be engaged in a ‘speciality occupation’ in graduate level work generally requiring at least a bachelors degree or equivalent.
- Permanent Employee – The applicant must need to be a permanent employee of the non US business and must continue to be paid by the employer outside the US while in the US on a B1 in lieu of H1B visa. As such, the worker most remain on the payroll of the overseas business. The worker may receive no compensation other than an expense allowance from a US source.
- Education – The graduate-level worker must have at least a bachelors degree. Ideally the bachelors degree should be relevant to the services to be provided. Work experience or a combination of work experience and other qualifications may be considered to be equivalent to a degree.
While these requirements are not drastically different from those of an H-1B, the decimation and application process really makes the B1 a beneficial option.
What Are the B1 in Lieu of H1B Visa Application and Documentation Requirements?
The B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa application process is relatively quick compared to most visa application. The whole process generally takes just a few weeks. The application, however, generally requires far more supporting documentation compared to a normal B-1 business visitor visa.
The B-1 Visa application process generally proceeds as follows:
- Completing Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application – The form is completed and submitted online.
- Application Fee – Along with the application, you must pay the non-refundable visa application fee.
- Visit Embassy or Consulate Interview – The applicant schedule an interview at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where s/he lives. The interview will be with a consular officer. The purpose is to determine whether the applicant meets the B-1 requirements.
- Waiting Period – Once the application is filed, there is a waiting period to allow processing of the visa application and scheduling of the interview. The time period for scheduling an interview varies based upon the location, season, and workload of the applicable embassy or consulate.
- Finger Printing – During the visa application process, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be taken.
- Further Administrative Processing – If there is uncertainty on the part of the consular officer, the application may be retained for additional administrative processing. This can lengthen the process by 60 or more days.
- Visa Issuance Fee – If the B-1 Visa application is ultimately approved, you may need to pay a visa issuance fee. The issuance fee is only applicable to certain nationalities.
- Visa Stamp – An immigration official at the port of entry must authorize the admission of the B-1 Visa holder into the US. She will issue the B-1 visa holder a form I – 94.
Successfully applying for a B-1 Visa requires the applicant to demonstrate the following in order to be eligible for the visa:
- Business Purpose – Remember, the purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for a legitimate business purpose. Part of the application process requires you to substantiate this purpose. This generally means providing information about the business activity at issue. The standard is to convince the consular officer that you have this purpose and this purpose alone in visiting.
- Time Period – You must demonstrate that you have the intention to return to your home country. As such, you must demonstrate that your business purpose is finite in nature. I recommend providing documentation of the details of your business purpose for visiting (such as a conference agenda or details of the relevant business transaction).
- Financing – Not having adequate financing to carry out a visit and return is evidence that an individual does not intend to return. As such, you must demonstrate that you have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States. Of course, extraordinary shifts or arrangements of incomes could indicate the contrary.
- Foreign Residence – You must be able to demonstrate that you have a residence outside the United States to which you intend to return. You do not need to own your residence, but you must be able to identify a place where you actually reside. If you cannot demonstrate a residence, it indicates that you may have an intent to remain in the US.
- Catchall – 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.
- Addition documentation for a B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa application must include:
Educational Documentation – This generally means a copy of bachelors degree (or graduate degree if applicable) for the applicant.
Work Skills – The applicant must demonstrate her work skills or experience. She should include a curriculum vitae.
Housing – The applicant should provide a rental agreement for housing, if available.
Company Information – The applicant should provide information documenting their role and involvement in company operations. This might include: company accounts, payroll records,
Employment Information – This should generally include a contract with the US business.
These are just recommendations for demonstrating one’s qualifications for the B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa.
What are the Procedures for Entering the US on a B1 in lieu of H1B
It is advisable to have full documentation relating to the application when entering the United States. Remember, you must still get the stamp of approval for entrance from a USCIS official when arriving. The documentation should confirm reasons for the trip and that you will be continuing to work for the overseas employer while in the US. It is certainly possible that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) visa officers on entry may not fully appreciate that the B-1 in lieu of H-1B visa is different to the B-1 business visitor visa.
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This material should demonstrate the value of the B-1 visa as an alternative to the far more costly and difficult to obtain H-1B visa. While the cost and availability of the visa is more advantageous, it can still be trying to put together an application that has a strongly likelihood of acceptance.
It is advisable to work with a competent legal professional with experience in this specific area of immigration law. The immigration attorneys at LawTrades are experts in all matters of immigration law. They can provide you with guidance and services necessary to make a successful B-1 in Lieu of H-1B application.