Often, a client will need to take trip to the U.S. to attend a conference, a meeting, or survey a potential business site. If they intend to travel on a B-1 business visitor visa it is important they are aware of which types of activities are allowed and prohibited while holding this visa status.
What is a B-1 visa?
The B-1 is a visitor visa intended for temporary business travel. This visa is suitable for someone who has a planned business trip or needs to enter the U.S. for business, scientific, or professional-related reasons such as a trade show.
Can clients use a B-visa for business and tourist purposes?
Generally you can combine the B-1 business visa with the B-2 visa designed for tourist or recreational travel. If the client plans to attend a business meeting one day and head to the Grand Canyon or visit Hawaii the day after, a combination B-1/B-2 visa might be best for the client.
Can clients use a B-1 visa if they are an invited speaker or lecturer?
In some circumstances a client can use the B-1 visa to give a lecture or speech in the U.S. While the client cannot accept a salary or income from any U.S. based company/entity, incidental travel costs may be permitted. Determining whether a particular activity of this nature is permitted can require a careful analysis of the facts on a case by case basis.
Can a U.S. entity pay for the client’s business travel?
Generally, a U.S. based entity may pay for incidental expenses such as basic travel expenses. However, all salary or other work-based profits must be paid by the foreign employer in the client’s home country.
This is not an exhaustive list, but a few examples of permitted activities include negotiating a contract, consulting with business clients, conducting a site visit for investment purposes, and attending a professional seminar.