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Basics of B Visa

B Visa Basics

The B visa category is a nonimmigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the U.S. temporarily for business (B-1) or pleasure (B-2). Nationals of certain countries are also eligible to enter temporarily for business or pleasure under the Visa Waiver Program.

  • Temporary stay
  • Must have a residence in a foreign country with no intention of abandoning
  • Length of stay limited to intended activities
  • Maximum 6 months initial with 6-month extension (unless entering through visa waiver program)
  • B visa: Related to Business (B-1) or Pleasure (B-2)
  • Primary concerns: Not employed or paid by a US entity/organization (with exceptions), and not enrolled in credit-bearing courses at a U.S. institution.

The B-1 category is appropriate for visitors who wish to come to the U.S. to engage in temporary business or professional activities related to their employment or business abroad, provided that the U.S. activity does not constitute “employment” in the U.S. What kind of business is permitted? (9 FAM 402.2-5(B))

  • Engage in commercial transactions, which do not involve gainful employment in the United States (such as a merchant who takes orders for goods manufactured abroad);
  • Negotiate contracts;
  • Consult with business associates;
  • Litigate;
  • Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or
  • Undertake independent research.

Common B-1 Activities

  • Visiting international students participating in clerkships
    • Medical Clerkship: An alien who is studying at a foreign medical school and seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to take an “elective clerkship” at a U.S. medical school’s hospital without remuneration from the hospital.
  • Physicians engaging in observation
    • A medical doctor whose purpose for coming to the United States is to observe U.S. medical practices and consult with colleagues on latest techniques, provided no remuneration is received from a U.S. source and no patient care is involved.
  • Business or other Professional or Vocational Activities:
    • An applicant who is coming to the United States merely and exclusively to observe the conduct of business or other professional or vocational activity may be classified B-1, provided the applicant pays for their own expenses.