B-1 Visas

Alien visitors coming to the United States temporarily for business are covered by the B-1 non-immigrant visa (NIV) category. By and large, periods of stay in the United States under the B-1 visa category are brief. In order to qualify for a B-1 visa, the prospective alien applicant must maintain a residency abroad to which he/she plans to return. Also, the employer, on whose behalf he/she is traveling to the US, must have their main place of business where profits are accrued overseas Trips that are made to the United States in this category cannot involve employment in the U.S. Further, payment to the B-1 visa holder should occur abroad, although payment from outside the US may be arranged through a US financial institution. Expense and per diem payments are allowed to cover the B-1 visa holder’s time in the US.

The duration of authorized stay for a B-1 holder is decided by the Customs and Border Patrol officer at the time of the B-1 holder's entry into the U.S., and usually ranges from one week to six months. However, they may be admitted for an initial period up to one year (8 CFR § 214.2(b)(1)). However, the majority of the approved visits are for less than three months at a time. Only in rare circumstances would an initial period of entry exceeding six months be granted. It is possible to obtain extensions to the duration of stay under B-1 visas in increments of six months.

B-1 holders may change status to another non-immigrant status, like H-1, J-1, F-1 or B-2. A change of status from B-1 or B-2 visa to J-1 or M-1 is a common scenario because enrolling in a course of study is expressly prohibited while under either of the B visa categories. However, one should be cautious when changing from B-1 status to another non-immigrant status. Using the B category as a stepping stone to a different non-immigrant status for the purpose of avoiding the more stringent application procedures associated with the new status is frowned upon by USCIS.

In addition, the holder of a B-1 status may successfully apply for an adjustment of status to an immigrant visa or status in certain situations.


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