B-1 Business Visitor Visas and the Visa Waiver Program

 
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Summary

The B-1 visa is applied for directly at the U.S. Consulate.  B-1 visa holders are generally admitted for the period of time necessary to conduct the business, up to a maximum of six months.  In practice, US Customs and Border Protection officers typically set 30 to 90 day limits for business visitors to remain in the United States. If unexpected events necessitate an extension of stay, individuals may apply to extend their stay up to six months but must provide specific justification for such extension.  Prolonged business visits may give rise to a presumption that the visitor is engaged in prohibited productive employment.

B-1 visas are subject to the following limitations:

  • A B-1 visitor is not authorized to perform productive work in the U.S.
  • A B-1 visitor must maintain a foreign residence abroad to which the B-1 visitor intends to return at the end of the visit.
  • The B-1 status may not be used as a means to accelerate a candidate's eligibility to enter the U.S. to work.
  • The B-1 visitor should generally remain on a foreign employer's home country's payroll and must not receive compensation from a U.S. source, other than reimbursement for incidental expenses.

Visa Waiver Program

Currently there are 27 participating countries in the VWP: Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. 

Citizens of VWP participating countries are permitted to enter the U.S. under the same rules as the B-1 classification through the Visa Waiver program for up to 90 days, but must depart within the 90 day period. No extensions of status or change of status are allowed.