The B-1 visa is a general business visa available to short-term visitors who will not be on the payroll of a US company. The B-1 visa may be a good option for entrepreneurs who are looking to participate in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States.

The types of activities permitted on a B-1 visa include, but are not limited to:

  • Establishing a new business and speaking with necessary lawyers, accountants, and other business advisors
  • Negotiating contracts
  • Securing funding
  • Looking for office space
  • Consulting with business associates
  • Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
  • Participating in short-term training

You must demonstrate the following in order to be eligible to obtain a B-1 visa:

  • The purpose of your trip is to enter the United States for business of a legitimate nature
  • You plan to remain for a specific limited period of time
  • You have the funds to cover the expenses of the trip and your stay in the United States
  • You have a residence outside the United States in which you have no intention of abandoning, as well as other binding ties which will ensure your return abroad at the end of the visit
  • You are otherwise admissible to the United States

The B-1 visa allows for entry into the US for up to six months.  Once inside the U.S. it is possible to extend the validity of the B-1 status up to one year so long as you can continue to demonstrate eligibility.

As a general rule, individuals should spend as much time outside of the United States as inside when traveling on a B-1 visa.