Foreign citizens may sometimes need to enter the United States for a short period of time to conduct business. There is a special type of visa designed just for this purpose, called a visitor visa.
There are two categories of visitor visas available. One is a B-1 visa, for business and one is a B-2 visa, for tourism. However, if you are coming to the United States for business, you may want to combine your business trip with a vacation.
What is temporary business?
In that case, you can apply for a B1/B2 combination visa. There are various activities that qualify as business activities for a B-1 visa, including:
- Attending a conference
- Meeting with business partners or associates
- Negotiating a contract
- Settling an estate
Activities such as spending time with friends or family, seeking medical treatment, participating in a sporting or musical event or attending a social event hosted by an organization, can qualify you for a B-2 tourist visa or a combination B1/B2 visa.
An overview of the visa process
As with all types of visas, applying for a visitor visa involves many steps. You should begin the process as soon as you know you will need to be in the United States to conduct business.
The general process involves completing a visa application, providing a photo, paying a fee and participating in an interview. You should also have a valid, current passport available.
The interview takes place at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. The wait time for an interview can be long, which is another reason to start the process as early as possible.
When applying, check the estimated interview wait time, so you have an idea of what to expect. This can help prevent the visa process from delaying or hindering your business plans and activities.
Gather additional documentation, just in case
You may be asked to provide additional information or documentation on the purpose of your business trip, your estimated date to leave the United States after your business is finished and how you plan to pay for your trip.
Conducting business requires flexibility, and once you are in the United States, your plans may change. A visa extension is possible.
Working with an experienced immigration attorney can help you obtain your visitor visa or extend your stay, if necessary.