Welcome to America—the land of opportunity! If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
If you’ve taken the risk of emigrating to America, chances are you are here for a slice of the American Dream. If your “American Dream” involves owning a business, you are going to need to learn the steps of applying for a business visa.
We’re going to cover everything you need to know about working with an immigration attorney to get your business visa approved.
Let’s get down to business!
What Are You Applying For?
A good place to start would be to define in detail what we’re actually applying for here. Obviously, you’re working toward obtaining a business visa, but what is the actual title?
The exact document you are looking to receive is called a B1 temporary business visa. They are issued by U.S. Embassies and Consulates around the world, both under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.
B1 vs. B2 Visas
People often confuse the B1 and B2 visas. It’s easy to do since they are closely related and sometimes they are issued as a combined, dual use document, B-1/B-2 visa.
B1 visas are a nonimmigrant visa that allow for entry into the U.S. to engage in activities solely focused on business. B2 visas are focused more on travel for tourism and family purposes. Both visas cover all major types of travel that could be associated with business or tourism.
Notably, not covered by these visas is student travel. That is covered by the F1 visa.
Business Visa Requirements
You’ll need to have a few things to apply for your temporary business visa.
The first thing you’ll need for your application is a passport. You’ll also need to show that your passport is valid for six months after the date of your return.
Next, you’ll need a recent digital photograph and documentation of your last five trips to the U.S. Your photograph needs to follow particular guidelines laid out by the U.S. State Department. You can find these guidelines on their website.
If you don’t have sufficient documentation of your last five trips to the country or haven’t traveled to the country five times previously, that’s okay. You will still be able to apply, but it does help if you can show that you have a history of traveling to and returning from the U.S. for business.
The Department of State will also want to see proof of funds showing enough money to cover the expenses of your trip. They want to make sure that this is, in fact, only a trip. Also, that you intend on going back to your home country and will not engage in unlawful employment with a U.S. employer during your trip.
To that end, the State Department will also ask for proof of “permanent ties” to your home country. You’ll need to show them that you have a job, own property, or have family back in your home country. Any of those three things would be considered “permanent ties” in the government’s eyes.
Business Visa USA Cost
The cost to apply for a temporary business visa is $160. That is the business visa filing fee. That price doesn’t include any costs of collecting your documents, having passport photos taken, etc.
Do your research, and make sure you can afford the cost of the process before you start down the path of obtaining your business visa.
Now you know the basics of getting your U.S. business visa. Having all of your documentation taken care of beforehand will make the process go much more smoothly.
Logistically, it’s not a difficult process, although meeting the standards of consular review based on the above factors can be challenging. Also, the process requires time and organization. If you have any more questions about the process or are looking for an immigration attorney to help with the process, contact us today.
We are happy to help and look forward to partnering with you on your journey toward doing business in America!