B-1 visas, or visitor for business visas, allow employees to enter the United States for a limited period of time to conduct certain “business activities.” The term “business activities” includes activities that would generally not be considered work, and in fact B-1 visa holders are not permitted to perform work that would normally be performed by a United States worker within the company. Activities that B-1 visa holders may perform in the United States include: (i) engaging in commercial transactions not involving gainful employment in the United States; (ii) negotiating contracts; (iii) consulting with business associates; (iv) litigating on behalf of the company; (v) participating in scientific, professional, or business conferences; and (vi) conducting independent research.
To qualify for a B-1 visa, an individual must show all of the following: (i) that the purpose of the trip is a legitimate business purpose; (ii) that the trip will be for a specific, limited amount of time; (iii) that he or she, or the company, has sufficient funds to cover the trip; (iv) that the individual has a residence outside of the United States, as well as other sufficient ties outside of the United States, to show that he or she is not planning to permanently abandon the country in which they currently reside; and (v) that they are otherwise admissible to the United States. There are no specific eligibility requirements relating to the individual’s job title or job responsibilities.
B-1 visas are only granted for the amount of time actually necessary to carry out the stated business activity. B-1 visas may be granted initially for a maximum period of six months, and may be extended only for a maximum of an additional six months, resulting in a maximum period of one year under which an individual may remain in the United States under a B-1 visa.
Spouses and children of B-1 visa holders may not be admitted as dependents. If a B-1 visa holder wishes to have his spouse or children accompany him, they must apply and qualify for separate B-2 visas for trips associated with business or for pleasure.