What are the B1 visa application requirements?
The B-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, specifically designed for temporary business visits to the USA.
The B1 visa is for non-US nationals who are not eligible for travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), who wish to travel to the USA on a short-term basis for business-related activities.
To be eligible, you will need to evidence in your application to the US consular that you meet the B-1 visa requirements. The B1 visa is highly discretionary, and any application should be well prepared with supporting documents to evidence to the consular officer that the requirements are met and avoid a visa denial.
B-1 visa requirements
As part of your application, you will need to show you do not intend to work in the USA and that your reason for travel falls within the permissible B-1 visa activities (see below).
Your visit to the USA must be for a defined and limited period of time.
You must have sufficient funds to support yourself and pay for any expenses incurred as a result of the trip, including your return travel out of the USA.
You must have a residence in a country other than the USA which you intend to return to, as well as other ‘substantial ties’ to that country which would satisfy the caseworker that you will return home at the end of your visit (ie a maximum period of 6 months).
There must be no other factors that would prevent you entering the USA, such as criminal convictions, involvement in terrorist activities, or previous violations of immigration laws.
B-1 visa permissible activities
To be eligible for a B1 visa, your visit to the USA must be for legitimate business purposes.
The type of activity that you will be permitted to – and prohibited from – undertaking will be a critical aspect of your B-1 visa application and the evidence that you should provide to assure the consular officer that you do meet the B-1 visa requirements.
Examples of reasons to visit the USA for temporary business purposes could include, but not be limited to:
- Attending a business meeting, convention or conference as an employee of a foreign company
- Negotiating a contract with a customer
- Taking orders for goods which must be produced outside the United States
- Consulting with clients or business associates
- Visiting sites in the USA that could be used for future business premises
- Litigating or attending court
- Undertaking independent research
- Installing or making repairs to machinery for a foreign company that sells to US customers
- Taking up a speaking engagement at a US university for 9 days or less
- Taking part in a voluntary service programme which benefits a US local community
- Participating in a training program that is not designed primarily to provide employment
- Personal/domestic servants accompanying citizens returning to the US who temporarily or permanently reside in the US
- Personal/domestic servants of holders of certain visa classifications
- Professional athletes receiving only tournament winnings and no salary, eg golfers, tennis players
If the reason for your visit to the USA is both work and leisure related (attending a business convention then holidaying in the USA, for instance), the combined B1/B2 visa would be the appropriate route.
B-1 visa prohibited activities
Conversely, a number of activities are prohibited under the B-1 visa. Alternative visa routes should be considered.
Gainful employment in the US
A B1 visa cannot be used for permanent employment purposes, for the purpose of obtaining and engaging in employment within the US, or to participate on a professional and paid basis as a performer or athlete, or by members of the press.
A number of alternative temporary worker visas available, depending on eligibility, including:
- H1B for temporary workers in a speciality occupation
- I for foreign press members
- L1A and L1B for intracompany transferees
- O for persons with extraordinary ability in the arts, education, sciences, business, athletics and film or TV production
- P visa for artists, athletes and entertainers
B1 visa holders are prohibited from undertaking skilled or unskilled labor. Any payment to the B-1 visa holder relating to the business travel activity should generally occur abroad and the main place of business where profits are also accrued must be in a foreign country.
Enrolling in study
You cannot enrol in study while in the US under the B-1 visa. You should instead apply for and secure a student visa, F-1 or M-1 visa. This can be applied for either from overseas or as a Change of Status from within the US.
Perform building of construction work
The only exception is for supervising or training for business or construction where you are not carrying out actual building work.
How to make a B-1 visa application
You apply online by completing form DS-160 and paying the application fee. You will be required to upload a photograph, which must be in the required format.
The DS-160 form is extensive and will ask for the following information:
This section will ask for your full name, sex, marital status, date and place of birth, original nationality and any other nationality you have ever held, and whether you are a permanent resident in any country other than your country of birth.
You will also be asked for your personal contact details, address and phone information, as well as your passport information.
The purpose of your visit to the USA, your travel plans (travel dates and details), where you will stay while in the USA, the person or business who is paying for your visit.
Travel companions information
This section will ask for details of anyone who is travelling with you.
Previous US travel information
Have you visited the USA before? Have you ever been issued with a US visa? If so, details of that visa and any biometric information you provided. Have you ever lost a US visa or had one stolen? Have you been issued a US visa which has then been cancelled or revoked? Have you ever been refused access to the USA? Has an immigrant petition ever been filed on your behalf with the US Immigration Service?
US point of contact information
Provide details of any person in the USA who knows you and can confirm your identity, or the company or organisation that you plan to visit whilst in the USA.
You will be asked for details of your parents and spouse.
Present work/education/training information
Your primary occupation, present employer, monthly income and a brief description of your duties.
Past work/education/training information
Previous employment details and education.
Additional work/education/training information
Have you travelled to other countries during the last 5 years and if so where? Have you belonged to, contributed to, or worked for any professional, social or charitable organisation? Do you have specialised skills or training? Have you ever served in the military? Have you ever served in, been a member of, or been involved with a paramilitary unit, vigilante unit, rebel group, guerrilla group, or insurgent organisation?
Security and background
This section asks for medical and health information, whether you have been involved in criminal activities, security information (espionage, war crime and terrorism involvement), immigration law violation information and several miscellaneous information questions.
Preparer of application
Has anyone assisted you in making your application? If so, provide details of that person.
Once you have completed the application form, print out the confirmation sheet for your information and to provide at your interview.
The next step is to visit the US Visa Information and Appointment Services website, pay the machine-readable visa (MRV) application fee (don’t forget to keep a copy of your payment receipt) and schedule your interview.
There is a Business Fast Track option available, should you need to visit the US urgently but whether your reasons for such a request are accepted is down to the discretion of the US immigration authorities and the Embassy or Consulate involved, and will require supporting documentation.
B-1 visa application documents
To demonstrate that you meet the above criteria, you may be asked to provide the following information at your interview:
- A letter from your employer outlining the reasons for the business trip and communication from the business or organisation in the USA that you are visiting
- Property related documents such as a mortgage statement
- Employment or professional documents such as a company registration certificate or your business card
- Financial documents, for instance, a bank statement of your most recent tax return
- Documents regarding your family such as birth certificates or family photographs
- Travel documents including details of where you will stay while in the USA and your return travel ticket
B-1 visa interview preparation
Your interview will be held at your local US Embassy or Consulate.
Before you attend, you should ensure you have all the relevant documents, including the confirmation page of your DS-160 form and your appointment instruction letter.
Arrive no later than 30 minutes before your interview time. Arriving late may result in your appointment being cancelled, however, you will not be admitted into the Embassy or Consulate more than 30 minutes before your interview.
You will generally be at the Embassy or Consulate for 2 to 3 hours.
Either before or during the interview, your biometric information will be taken. This includes your fingerprints, photograph and signature.
Take your supporting documents with you, including the confirmation page from your DS-160 form and a copy of your appointment instruction page. Without this last document, you will not be allowed access to the Embassy or Consulate.
At the interview, the officer will ask you questions about your completed form, the documents you have provided, your personal situation and your investment venture to check that you are eligible to be granted a B1 visa.
Unless further information is required, you will receive a decision on the day of your interview.
Avoiding a refused B-1 visitor visa
A visa application may be rejected if:
- You didn’t provide sufficient documents and proof.
- The purposes of the visit are not eligible for a B1 visa.
- You have a criminal record.
- You cannot prove that your intention to visit the USA is only for a temporary time.
- You cannot prove that you have sufficient funds to pay for the visit.
- Evidence provided in the application is later found to be fraudulent.
- You previously stayed in the USA for longer than you had permission to do so.
US immigration officials have significant discretion to question travellers at the border. Those travelling under the B-1 visa should prepare to be questioned about their plans and intentions while in the US. It is often helpful to carry documentation with you to evidence that you meet the B-1 requirements and allow for your entry into the US.
A common issue for B-1 travellers is the reason for travel and intended activities, and whether these fall within the permissible activities. If you are unsure if your planned activities come under the B-1 visa, take advice as you may have to consider alternative visa options to avoid issues at the border.
NNU Immigration are specialist immigration attorneys based in London. We can support you with your B-1 visa application, including guidance on compiling the necessary documentation and preparing for the B-1 visa interview.
If you have a question about making a B-1 visa application, please contact us.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.
What documents are needed for B1 B2 visa? ›
Generally, the only documents needed for a B1/B2 visa interview are your current passport and your DS-160 interview appointment confirmation page. It is often helpful to bring expired passports which show your prior travel history.How much bank balance is required for US B1 visa? ›
The amount of bank balance you should have for applying to the US tourist visa depends on the duration. If it is a 15-day trip, you must have $ 5,000-10,000 in your bank. Is travel insurance compulsory for the US travel visa? No, travel insurance is not compulsory for the US travel visa.How much money do I need to show for B1 B2 visa? ›
There is no minimum balance requirement for your bank account, however, based on the experience of others we recommend anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 will be sufficient.What documents do I need for B1 visa interview? ›
- Confirmation of your meeting (you will have it when you schedule the interview).
- A letter declaring the reasons for your trip.
- Proof of financial support while in the US.
- Proof you have strong local ties, such as your family, a job, among others.
The main reason for denying the B-1 visa application is based upon failure to meet the eligibility criteria. The following are the main requirements for the visa: Business Purpose - Demonstrate that you are coming the US for a business purpose.Is a B1 B2 visa hard to get? ›
Nonetheless, the US B1/B2 visa offers one of the simplest options for visiting the United States for business or tourism purposes. The B1/B2 Visa is an important requirement for many travelers wishing to enter the U.S. Luckily, everyone is eligible to apply for it in the easiest way possible using iVisa.How long does it take to get a B1 B2 visa approved? ›
As of November 2022, the median worldwide wait time for a tourist visa (B1/B2) interview appointment is about two months, and applicants with urgent travel needs who meet certain criteria can apply for an emergency appointment, usually available within days.How many months bank statement is required for US visa? ›
Although, it is required that visa applicants provide a current bank statement of at least 6 months. Even so, you should make sure that the account has a regular cash flow. This is one of the criteria's visa officers check when going through a bank statement.How much does a US B1 visa cost? ›
The application fee for the most common nonimmigrant visa types is US$160. This includes tourist, business, student, and exchange visas.Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a friend for a tourist visa? ›
Can a U.S. citizen sponsor a non-family member for immigration? Unfortunately, no, you can't petition for a foreign national's visa or green card if they aren't a family member.
Do visa officers check bank statements? ›
Yes, most embassies verify the bank statements visa applicants submit alongside their visa applications. According to our research with banks, this is how they normally phrase their emails. "Kindly confirm for us the transactions of the attached copy of scanned bank statement from Mr. /Mrs.How do I prove sufficient funds for visa? ›
You can provide:
- bank statements.
- building society passbooks.
- certificates of deposit.
- a letter from your bank or building society.
The below documents are required to prove that you will return to the home country after your temporary visit in the United States: Bank statement of last 6 months with sufficient balance; updated and attested. Income Tax Returns/Form 16 for last 3 years. Travel Itinerary explaining the trip.Do I need a sponsor for a B2 visa? ›
No Sponsor Required: Any foreign person may file an application for a B-2 tourist visa without the necessity of a United States sponsor. Ease of Application: The B-2 visa application itself is filed directly at the United States consulate abroad and typically a decision is made on an immediate or short term basis.Can I get B1 visa without interview? ›
Please note applicants are only required to schedule their in-person or interview waiver appointment within the 365-day period. There is no requirement the interview or VAC appointment must occur during the 365-day period.Does B1 visa require interview? ›
For instance, B1/B2 visa holders can enter the country multiple times within 10 years. Therefore, individuals willing to apply for these visas must make sure to prepare for B1/B2 visa interview questions beforehand.Is there an interview for B1 visa? ›
Traveling into the United States for a company means you will have to make an application for a US Business Visa, also known as a B1 visa. You will need to schedule and attend an interview after you fill out your program. The interviewer will ask for some documents, but you will be asked many questions as well.Is it difficult to get B1 visa? ›
Since there is no quota on the B1 visa, the documentation required is not as strenuous as for migrant visas. Typically, your application package must contain: Your passport. Proof of funds.How long is B1 processing time? ›
Duration of Stay and Processing Time for a B-1 Visa
In general, B-1 visa processing time is about three months (90 days) for USCIS to process work permit applications but has been taking longer recently-often 4.5-5 months (135-150 days) to process.
B1 and B2 visa holders are allowed to stay in the US for up to 6 months at a time. Each visa application will be assessed on its own merit, and the adjudicating officer may grant a stay of less than 6 months – this is the maximum period for an initial stay under the B classification.
Why would a B2 visa be rejected? ›
There could be many reasons why your B-2 visa was denied for immigrant intent. If, for instance, you traveled to the U.S. in the past and overstayed the time permitted under your visa or extended that stay, this might indicate to the consular officer that you do not intend to comply with the visa requirements.Why would a tourist visa be denied? ›
An applicant's current and/or past actions, such as drug or criminal activities, as examples, may make the applicant ineligible for a visa. If denied a visa, in most cases the applicant is notified of the section of law which applies.What documents do I need to invite someone to the USA? ›
- Scanned copy of host's ID or passport.
- Evidence of means of financial subsistence.
- Proof of homeownership or rental contract.
- An itinerary of the planned visit.
- Documentation of the host's time off from work for the visit.
While B-1 or B-2 visas may be valid up to 10 years, visitors on B-1 or B-2 will only be permitted to stay in the United States for a short duration (maximum 6 months), as granted by US Customs and Border Protection upon arrival.How many times can you visit U.S. on b1 B2 visa? ›
You may travel to the U.S. as many times as you like during the period of validity of the visa. There is no restriction on the number of times you may visit.How long does it take to get U.S. B1 visa after interview? ›
If you are found eligible to receive a visa on the day of the interview you should allow approximately 10-15 working days for your application to be processed.Why do banks verify 3 months of bank statements? ›
The aim is to make sure that you have enough money to service your monthly repayments without sinking under mortgage stress. A part of how lenders assess your financial situation is by reviewing your bank statement of at least the past couple of months.What kind of bank statement is required for visa? ›
Your bank statements must be from the last three to six months, and they must be issued by the bank, signed, and stamped by the financial institution. You should obtain your bank statements at least three to four days before submitting your application.Is US B1 visa easy to get? ›
Nonetheless, the US B1/B2 visa offers one of the simplest options for visiting the United States for business or tourism purposes. The B1/B2 Visa is an important requirement for many travelers wishing to enter the U.S. Luckily, everyone is eligible to apply for it in the easiest way possible using iVisa.How long B1 visa can stay in US? ›
While B-1 or B-2 visas may be valid up to 10 years, visitors on B-1 or B-2 will only be permitted to stay in the United States for a short duration (maximum 6 months), as granted by US Customs and Border Protection upon arrival.
How long does it take to get a B1 visa for USA? ›
B1 Visa FAQs
In general, B1 visa processing time takes around 3 months (90 days) for USCIS to process work permit applications but has been taking longer recently—often to 4.5–5 months (135–150 days) to process.
For instance, B1/B2 visa holders can enter the country multiple times within 10 years. Therefore, individuals willing to apply for these visas must make sure to prepare for B1/B2 visa interview questions beforehand.Is B1 visa better than B2? ›
B1 and B2 visas are generally referred to as “B visas”, and they are the most common types of visa issued for a wide range of uses in the United States. The B1 visa is issued mainly for short-term business trips, while the B2 visa is issued mainly traveling for tourism purposes.What is B1 visa good for? ›
Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), for tourism (visa category B-2), or for a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2).Why is B1 B2 visa rejected? ›
Common ineligibilities leading to Visa Refusal
You did not establish eligibility for the Visa category. You were convicted of a crime that involves moral turpitude. You were convicted of drug violation. You have two or more criminal convictions for which you may have a total sentence of 5 years in prison.
A B1 visa and B2 visa do not grant permanent resident status — they are temporary visas – but the holder can apply for a green card.Can you buy a house in the US on a B1 visa? ›
Yes, you are legally permitted to do it. In the United States, permanent residency or U.S. citizenship is not a legal requirement for real estate ownership.