US Business Visas: B-1 Visa / B-1 in lieu of H-1B Visa

US Business Visas

US Business Visa processing resumes at the US Embassy in London on July 27, 2020 and at the US Consulate in Belfast on August 3, 2020.

Can I travel to the US on a B visa? If you have been physically present in the UK or Ireland, Europe, Brazil, China, or Iran within the 14 days before your scheduled arrival into the US you may need a national interest waiver.

B-1 US business visas and B-1 in lieu of H-1B US work visas are available for temporary travel and may permit certain work assignments in the United States. The B visa is intended for foreign visitors wishing to travel to the United States temporarily, usually for no more than 6 months at a time, and who have no intent of abandoning their foreign residence. Do you wish to visit the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2)? The B visa category allows foreign nationals to gain entry to the United States for a limited duration under the following conditions:

B-1 Business Visa / B-2 Visitors Visa:

  • The applicant has a residence in a foreign country, which they do not intend to abandon;
  • The applicant seeks entry to the United States for a limited duration;
  • The applicant seeks entry for limited, specified business or tourism purposes; and
  • If entering for business purposes, the applicant is prohibited from undertaking productive work, but is permitted to attend meetings, sign contracts, scout locations and engage in other enumerated activities under United States immigration law.

Typically, though not exclusively, the B1/B2 visa category is intended for passport holders living in countries which do not participate in the US Visa Waiver Program. Citizens living in nations participating in the program can often bypass the B1/B2 category, and instead travel to the US as temporary visitors under ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Exceptions do apply, particularly if the traveler has previously been denied clearance and/or entry under ESTA, or has a criminal conviction that prohibits future travel to the US under ESTA. Applicants wishing to travel to the United States under the B1/B2 visitors visa category will be compelled to submit proof of permanent foreign residency along with a thorough outline of travel purposes and sufficient funds in order to be approved by the local US Embassy or Consulate.

B-1 in lieu of H-1B: A separate business feature under the B visa umbrella is the B-1 in lieu of H-1B subcategory. In the absence of a US employer or sponsor, skilled professionals employed by a foreign company who would otherwise qualify for H-1B status may apply for a concessionary business visa that allows the applicant temporary access to the United States for the purpose of undertaking productive work on behalf their foreign employer at the location of a US client. The following criteria must be met for a successful B-1 in lieu of H-1B application:

  • Applicant is solely employed and remunerated by a foreign company;
  • Applicant will not receive any compensation, remuneration or expenses from a United States company or source;
  • Applicant holds a bachelors degree or equivalent experience in a related field;
  • Applicant seeks entry to the US for a limited duration; and
  • Upon the expiration of his or her I-94, applicant will depart the United States to continue employment duties for the foreign employer in applicant’s home country.

B-1 in lieu of E-2 (Prospective Investor Visa) Another sub-category under the B visa umbrella is the B-1, temporarily, in lieu of E-2, which may be suitable for an investor seeking investment in the United States, including an investment that would qualify him or her for status as an E-2 investor. Such an investor is precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business prior to being granted E-2 status. In both the B1/B2 and B-1 in lieu of H-1B/E2 categories, our lawyers are highly trained to facilitate travel to the United States and have a distinguished record of success in petitioning the US Government.  Contact us now for a free no obligation consultation.