Business Travel to the United States

B-1 NOT B-2

Traveling to the United States for a brief business trip requires specific steps to ensure a timely and seamless approval at a U.S. Consulate. A business visitor must apply for a B-1 visa, and not a “B-2” or tourist visa. This mistake can be easily made by just checking one box incorrectly on required forms, and result in a denial.

When applying for a visitor visa, the online process with the Department of State begins with application form DS-160. If the form is not completed accurately, an unexpected denial can cause huge headaches. 

The B-1 visa also has very specific documentation requirements, not all explained here. These requirements should be clearly and concisely presented at the time of the scheduled interview with the U.S. Consulate. Therefore, it’s important not to book an appointment with the U.S.  Consulate until a well put together package and essential documents are compiled by you with an experienced U.S. immigration attorney. An initial denial can affect future visa applications negatively.

Here are a couple examples of B-1 requirements:

 (A) B-1 requires a detailed showing of how all business and travel costs will be paid for from a source “outside” the United States. Ensuring the source of funding meets the U.S. Consulate officer’s scrutiny requires financial statements that should be prepared with one’s immigration legal counsel. Having those key documents in hand before booking the B-1 Consulate interview is important.

Our office prepares a variety of B-1 business visas such as: B-1 in lieu of H-1B, B-1 in lieu of L-1A or L-1B, B-1 in lieu of O visa to name a few. Each B-1 visa category requires a unique set of financials to ensure it’s intended purpose is satisfied. The B-1 offers an excellent interim visa solution to our foreign national clients and U.S. employers seeking work visas that are temporarily unavailable or impractical to meet immediate employment demands.

(B) Even the briefest business trips to the United States requires one demonstrate ‘no immigration intent’. Documentation and letters in support of no immigration intent is essential to overcome this popular reason for denial. Once again, the Consulate interview should not be scheduled without ensuring, through legal counsel, that you have satisfied this requirement.

A Well Prepared B-1 Visa Package

Once the B-1 visa is prepared, and government filing fees paid, an appointment with the U.S. consulate may be booked in one’s home country; or at any U.S. consulate where one has a visa and/or permission to enter alternative country.  The option to process one’s visa in a different country’s consulate arises where the wait times are excessive in one’s country or the U.S. consulate is closed or does not exist.

Applying for a visa should be seen as a ‘one shot’ deal based on the lack of appeal available if denied; and the difficulty in obtaining future non-immigrant visa benefits.  Hiring U.S. immigration counsel early, and not rushing to an interview makes applicants confident, prepared, and able to successfully complete the visa process.

B-1 Business Visa Change of Status if You are Already Living in the United States

It’s important to note that individuals already present in the United States on a temporary visa such as F-1 students, J-1 Au Pairs, or B-2 tourist visas may change status while in the U.S. to a B-1 business visa without leaving the United States. However, the change of status must be completed well in advance of visa expiration or termination.

We have successfully processed these U.S. immigration matters for over 25 years. To schedule a consultation, you may email us at or call / text (703)966-0907. B&E Capital – Vassell Law Group,PC | | | Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for over 20 years.