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. Also, in limited circumstances, the visa holder can undertake limited work within the country.
As part of the B-1 visa application process, you must undergo an interview with a United States consular officer. The purpose of this interview is to make certain that you and your visit meet the qualifications for issuance of a B-1 visa.
In this article, we discuss the various subjects or topic questions that consular officer may have.
What Is the Purpose of the Visit?
This will be the first and primary question from the consular officer. She will want to know the purpose of the B-1 visit. 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.
Make certain that you provide one of these eligible purposes — even if there is an underlying purpose that is broader. You should also bring any documentation available to substantiate your business purpose. Remember, you are trying to convince someone. Make certain you have everything to show that your answers are accurate and truthful.
Do You Intend to Return Back to Your Home Country at the End of the Visit?
As with all temporary visas, the holder is required to return to their home country at the expiration of the visa. There is a presumption under U.S. law is that every visitor visa applicant is an intending immigrant until they demonstrate otherwise. Therefore, you are again trying to convince the consular officer that this presumption is not true.
Successfully applying for a B-1 Visa requires the applicant to demonstrate to the consular officers the following:
- 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. The B-1 visa is granted for a period of up to 6 months (6 months is the maximum). The B-1 visa can, however, be extended for an additional 6 months. Generally, one extension for a total of 12 months is the maximum period for a single B-1 visa visit.
- 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. You should provide any bank account or other records necessary to demonstrate your ability to finance the trip.
- 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. If you own a home, you should provide evidence of your ownership and residence at that location. If you are renting, you should provide a rental agreement demonstrating that the lease continues well past your trip.
- Other Evidence of Intent to Return – The applicant should strive to produce evidence of compelling social and economic ties abroad which will insure his or her return abroad at the end of the visit. This can include employment, family ties, social or professional organizations, etc. Remember, anything that demonstrates the intent to return after the visit is relevant.
Where Will You Stay While in the United States?
Having a planned a coordinated trip indicates that you have thought through the logistics of arriving and departing. Conversely, not having any information on where you will stay or how you will get there shows the opposite. Make certain you can answer where and under what conditions you will be staying in the US. If you are renting a place, take the rental contract with you as substantiation. If you have a hotel reservation, then that is relevant as well.
Do You Plan to Work or Otherwise Seek Employment While in the US?
The applicant will be asked if she plans to engage in skilled or unskilled labor, study, or work as a representative of foreign press, radio, film, or other information media. Generally, the B-1 does not permit the holder undertake a job function while in the US. 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.
The following types of B-1 business visitors require employment authorization:
A personal or domestic servant who is accompanying or following to join their employer who is a B-1 visa holder.
A domestic servant of a U.S. citizen accompanying or following to join his or her U.S. citizen employer who has a permanent home or is stationed in a foreign country, and who is temporarily visiting the United States.
There is a version of the B-1 known as a B-1 in Lieu of H-1B. This form of B-1 visa allows for temporary work under specified conditions.
Do You have any Family Members or Dependents Accompanying You?
Many B-1 applicants will be accompanied by their spouse and/or dependent family members. Unfortunately, these individuals are not eligible to obtain a dependent visa to accompany the B-1 applicant. Each of your dependents who will be accompanying or following to join you must apply separately for a B-2 visa and must follow the regulations for that visa.
If your family members intend to accompany you on the trip, you can support your application by demonstrating the social and economic ties that demonstrate their intention to return at the end of the visa period. Obviously, having one’s family members on the trip reduces the social ties requiring the applicant to return.
Are You Seeking Waiver of the Visa Requirement for Any Reason?
The B-1 Visa is part of the visa waiver program (VWP). This is a US Government program that grants entry into the U.S. to citizens of some countries for business, tourism, or while in transit for duration of about 90 days. Thirty-eight countries are in this program including: Australia, Belgium, Andorra, Denmark, Finland, Austria, France, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, San Marino, Spain, Slovenia, the UK, Sweden and Switzerland. Other are South Korea, Latvia, Chile, Brunei, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Taiwan, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Citizens of those countries allowed to come to the U.S. under this scheme are not required to apply for a visa before they can enter the U.S. for the purposes stipulated above.
To qualify for entry into the U.S. under the VWP, you must meet certain requirements. You must have your individual machine-readable and biometric passport, which must contain your digitalized photograph. Your passport should also be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you are expected to leave the U.S.
LawTrades Knows Visa Applications
The B-1 visa interview process is generally considered to be less strenuous than the interview associated with many other types of visas. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should take the interview of application process lightly. You can still run into issues in the process that can severely prejudice your plans of visiting the United States.
It is highly recommended to work with a competent legal professional any time you plan to undertake the visa application process. The immigration attorneys at LawTrades are here to provide you with all of the guidance and services you need to successfully carry out the process.