Temporary Visas: Visitors (B-1, B-2 & Visa Waiver)
B-1 Business Visitor Visa
The B-1 visa is for visitors coming to the US for business purposes. This includes a wide variety of activities but in all cases, the B-1 visitor is not allowed to work in the US. This means that the B-1 visitor cannot receive any compensation from a US source for activities performed in the US. The B-1 visitor may only be compensated from a non-US source. Generally, the activities performed in the US should not be a type that would normally be performed by a US worker. A B-1 visa is available for household employees of persons temporarily assigned to the US for business. A B-1 visa stamp may be issued to authorize multiple entries over a 10-year period, depending on the applicant’s country of citizenship as noted in the Reciprocity Schedule. Here are a few examples of legitimate B-1 activities:
- Ajna is an Indian software support engineer is employed in Singapore by a subsidiary of a US company. She will come to the US to receive on the job training about a new software release for four months then return to Singapore for continued employment by the Singapore company. The engineer will remain on the payroll of the Singapore employer during her stay in the US. The US company may provide the engineer with housing, and pay her a travel allowance or other incidental expenses while in the US.
- Marc-Henri is a French chef has been employed as a chef in Monaco for several years. His Monaco employer has joint ventured with a US company to open a French restaurant in Los Angeles. As part of the joint venture agreement, the Monaco company will send the chef to the US for six months to help set up the kitchen and train the kitchen staff in Los Angeles. The chef will remain on the payroll of the Monaco employer during his stay in the US. The US company may provide the chef with housing, travel allowance, and other incidental expenses while in the US.
- Chou owns a bicycle factory in Shanghai. He would like to spend 3-5 weeks checking into the feasibility of setting up a final assembly unit in Mexico, then ship the finished bicycles to the US for sale. He will pay all his own expenses while in the US. He will travel 3-4 times between Tijuana and San Diego during the trip. If it proves feasible, he will set up a US office and apply for a temporary investor visa (E-2). Chou will also need to apply for a Mexican visitor visa.
- Benigno is an evangelical Christian minister from the Philippines. He would like to attend a world convention of evangelical Christian leaders to be held in Memphis, then travel on a missionary fund raising appeal across seven states in the US for three months. He will then return to his congregation in the Philippines to build a new church. He will pay his own travel and lodging expenses. He will not use the money raised in the US for his US trip expenses.
- Angelita is a Venezuelan citizen. She has worked as a housekeeper and nanny for her Venezuelan employer’s family for several years in Venezuela and the Middle East. Her employer is a high level executive for a European petroleum company operating in Venezuela. Her employer is now being transferred to work in his company’s US office in California. Angelita is eligible to continue to work in the US as a housekeeper and nanny for her employer’s family.
The B-1 visa is a Nonimmigrant Visa. The applicant must provide evidence of the purpose of the trip and of nonimmigrant intent. A household employee must provide an employment contract offering the Prevailing Wage and other benefits.
The visitor visa application is filed at a US Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s home country or country of residence. Most visa applicants must appear for a personal interview. During the interview the applicant will present the required documents and be asked questions about the purpose of the trip and ties to the home country.
B-2 Visitor Visa for Non-Business Purposes
The B-2 visa is for visitors coming to the US for non-business purposes. This includes a wide variety of activities including visiting friends and relatives, sightseeing, educational, cultural, religious or social tours, and medical treatment. If you are going to the US primarily for tourism, but want to take a short course of study of less than 18 hours per week, you may do so on a visitor visa.
The B-2 visa is a Nonimmigrant Visa. The applicant must provide evidence of the purpose of the trip and of nonimmigrant intent.
The B-2 visitor visa application is filed at a US Embassy or Consulate in the applicant’s home country or country of residence. Most visa applicants must appear for a personal interview. During the interview the applicant will present the required documents be asked questions about the purpose of the trip and ties to the home country.
Visa Waiver Visitors
Visa Waiver Benefits
Citizens of Visa Waiver Countries may enter the US for up to 90 days with no visa. The advantage of entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program is that tourists and people wishing to conduct business in America can travel to the United States spontaneously without obtaining visas, unless they are otherwise inadmissible. The Visa Waiver admission is possible for any purpose allowed under the B-1 or B-2 programs. The Visa Waiver Countries are listed at this link:http://www.travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html#2. Visa Waiver Countries have a very low visitor visa refusal rate and meet other criteria.
If admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, the traveler may not change or extend nonimmigrant status. Within 90 days, the traveler must depart the US. If admission is denied, the traveler has no right to administrative or judicial review, except in very limited cases. If the traveler is found to have violated the terms of previous admission to the US, he or she will be denied entry and receive a Removal Order. The Removal Order will make the traveler ineligible to return to the US for five years or longer.
Visa Waiver Requirements
Visa Waiver is a nonimmigrant class of admission. The applicant must provide evidence of the purpose of the trip and of nonimmigrant intent. If coming for a B-1 type of activity, the applicant must bring documentation of eligibility as indicated above. In addition, the applicant must possess a valid Machine Readable Passport and a ticket for departure from the US. Visa Waiver admission may be refused if the traveler has overstayed or worked without authorization.
Visa Waiver Procedure
The visitor completes a Form I-94W before boarding the carrier to the US. At the port of entry into the US, the visitor will be interviewed by a US Customs and Border Protection Inspector who will decide whether you are allowed to enter the US.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with the immigration attorneys at Visawolf, simply click here. Our multi-lingual team provides immigration services in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
From our offices in Concord, located in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, we serve clients throughout the United States and the world. We provide immigration expertise to clients in all parts of the U.S., including Texas, Hawaii, New York, Florida, New Jersey, Illinois, Washington, and Ohio. We serve clients in all parts of California, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Berkeley, San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Fresno, Bakersfield, and Redding.