The B-1 Visa is a visitor’s visa. It was created for individuals participating in a commercial or professional business activity within the United States. While it generally does not allow for the visitor to work within the country, there are some options in this regard. The B-1 Visa holder can request a work authorization. Another options is to file for a B-1 in Lieu if H-1B. This visa allows individuals to come to the United States as a foreign employee contracted to work in the United States.
This brings up the question of how long does the B-1 visa last and what are the options for extending that period.
Time Period for the B-1 Stay?
The B-1 visa is granted for a specific period of up to 6 months. Remember, the purpose of coming to the United States must be expressed at the time of applying for the B-1 visa. If the purpose the visit is less than 6 months, you will need to demonstrate that the remainder of your visit will be dedicated to acceptable business purpose.
The qualifying type of business or professional 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 United States with a B-1 visa;
- Certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 visa.
Of course, applying for the B-1 visa requires more than simply stating the purpose of your visit. You must substantiate everything about your visit. The requirements for substantiating become greater if you intend to carry on work while in the country. Here is what you need to demonstrate:
- Business Purpose – Remember, the purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature. You will need to provide evidence of this purpose in the application.
- Time Period – You must demonstrate that you have the intention to return to your home country. As such, you must demonstrate that you plan to remain for a specific limited period of time. This is normally done by providing documentation of the details of your purpose for visiting. This could be a conference agenda or details of the relevant business transaction.
- Financing – You must demonstrate that you have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States. The inability to demonstrate adequate resources is seen as evidence of an intent not illegally remain in the United States.
- Foreign Abode – You must be able to demonstrate that you have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit
- 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.
As you can see, the reason for all of this substantiation is to demonstrate that you have no intention of remaining in the country upon the expiration of your visa.
Extending the Time Period for the B-1 Stay?
If the purpose of your visit lasts longer than initially expected, you can request an extension of stay. The B-1 visa can be extended for an additional 6 months. The process for extending the visa requires is similar to intensive process as when receiving your initial visa. This process included:
- Completing Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application – This form is completed and submitted online. After you have submitted Form DS160, print the confirmation page and bring it to your interview at the consulate or embassy. You will upload your photo while completing the online Form DS-160. The photo must meet the specific requirements stated in the application system.
- Application Fee – Along with the application, you must pay the non-refundable visa application fee. You are required to pay it before your interview.
- Visit Embassy or Consulate Interview – The applicant should generally apply at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where s/he lives. (Note: it is more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.) It is important to apply for a visa well in advance of the travel departure date. Make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A consular officer will interview you to make certain that you meet the requirements for the B-1 Visa. You can learn how to schedule an appointment for an interview, pay the application processing fee, review embassy-specific instructions, and much more by visiting the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will be applying at usembassy.gov.
Note: 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. A consular officer has the authority to require an interview with any applicant.
- Waiting Period – The time period for scheduling an interview varies based upon the location, season, and workload of the applicable embassy or consulate. In any event, early application is strongly encouraged. Visa wait times for interview appointments and visa processing times for each U.S. Embassy or Consulate are available on travel.state.gov and on most U.S. Embassy or Consulate websites.
- FingerPrinting – During the visa application process, an ink-free, digital fingerprint scan will be taken.
- Further Administrative Processing – Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Before making inquiries about the status of administrative processing, applicants or their representatives will need to wait at least 60 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.
- 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.
Luckily, if the reason for your visit has not changed, you will have all of the same documentation from the original application. There are, however, additional steps in the process. When you first enter the country, you will receive a Form I-94. If you wish to stay beyond the period indicated on your Form I-94 (without departing the US) you must file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. You will submit any required supporting documents to the USCIS. Again, you will state the purpose of your stay and the time period. If you do not have a specific time period identified, you can project the time for up to six months.
What Are your Options if Your B-1 Visa Extension is Denied?
If the consular officer finds it necessary to deny the issuance of an extension to your B-1 visa, the applicant must leave the country. She may apply again for a new B-1 visa if there is new evidence to overcome the basis for the refusal.
It is important that you do not let your Visa expire while traveling to the US. Failure to depart the United States on time will result in being out of status. Under U.S. law, visas of individuals who are out of status are automatically voided pursuant to Section 222(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Any multiple entry visa that was voided due to being out of status will not be valid for future entries into the United States. Failure to depart the United States on time may also result in you being ineligible for visas in the future.
LawTrades Knows Immigration Law
Given the complicated procedures and substantiation requirements for the B-1 visa, it is advisable to work with a competent legal professional when applying. Immigration attorneys can make certain that you do not suffer the negative repercussions of making a simple mistake in the application process. While the filing fees associated with any visa application are high, failing to complete the process correctly can cause significant delays in processing your application. It could cause you to miss the entire purpose for your intended visit the US.