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B-1 Business/Conference Visa

 

Travelers seeking admission into the United States to conduct business, who are not eligible to do so under the Visa Waiver Program, require a valid B-1 visa. This type of visa does not generally allow for gainful employment or productive activity. The business visitor must not be compensated by the U.S.

The business is specifically limited to the following:

  • Negotiating contracts;
  • Consultation with business associates;
  • Litigation; or
  • Participation in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences or seminars and other legitimate activities of a commercial or professional nature.

Sales 

If you are traveling to the United States to take part in an exhibition, set up an exhibition booth, display samples, sign contracts, and take orders for merchandise produced in and delivered from the United Kingdom, you may be eligible for a B-1 visa. The holder of a B-1 visa may not sell or take orders for merchandise produced in the United States.

Service Engineering 

If you are traveling to the United States to install, service or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a company in the United Kingdom to a buyer in the United States, and the purchase contract requires that the U.K. company provide such services, you may be eligible for the B-1 visa. The individuals concerned must continue to be paid by the U.K. company and the contract of sale must specifically require the seller to provide such services.

Speakers/Lecturers 

If you are traveling to the United States in connection with a speaking engagement you will qualify for a B-1 visa provided, you will receive no remuneration from a U.S. Source, other than expenses incidental to the visit. Speakers/lectures who will receive an honorarium in addition to incidental expenses may still be eligible for the B-1 visa if the following are met:

  • The activities will last no longer than 9 days;
  • At a single institution;
  • The institution is either a non-profit research or organisation, a governmental research organization, an institute of higher education, or a related or affiliated non-profit entity.

Business Venture 

If you are traveling to the United States to survey potential sites for a business and/or to lease premises, you will require a B-1 visa. You cannot, however, remain in the United States on a B-1 visa to manage the business.

Conference 

If you are a participant in a scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conference or seminar, you may qualify for a B-1 visa. The B-1 visa is also appropriate if presenting a paper at the conference, provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source other than expenses incidental to the visit. If you will receive an honorarium in addition to incidental expenses you will only be eligible for the B-1 visa or travel under the VWP if the following are met:

  • The activities will last no longer than nine days at a single institution;
  • The institution is either a non-profit research organisation or a governmental research organisation, an institution of higher education, or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity;
  • Such activities are conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity; and
  • No payment has been accepted from five such institutions during the previous six month period.

Researcher 

If you will engage in independent research you may be eligible for a B-1 visa provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source and the results of the research will not benefit the American institution.

Medical Elective 

If you are a medical student and you seek 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, you may eligible for a B-1 visa. Please note: This does not cover those seeking training as physiotherapists, dentists, nurses or vets.

Professional Athletes 

Professional athletes, such as golfers and sports car racers, who receive no salary or payment other than prize money for their participation in a tournament or sporting event, may qualify for the B-1 visa. Athletes or team members who seek to enter the United States as members of a team in order to compete with another sports team are also eligible for B-1 visas, provided:

  • Their principal place of business or activity is in a foreign country;
  • The income of the foreign based team and the salary of its players are principally accrued in a foreign country; and
  • The foreign based sports team is a member of an international sports league, or the sporting activities involved have an international dimension.

Professional Entertainers 

In general, a professional entertainer requires an O or P visa to perform in the United States regardless of the amount or source of compensation, or whether the services will involve a public appearance. However, a B-1 visa may be appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • The entertainer is participating in a cultural program sponsored by the sending country;
  • he or she will be performing before a nonpaying audience; and,
  • all expenses, will be paid by the member’s government; or 
  • The entertainer is participating in a competition for which there is no remuneration, other than a prize (monetary or otherwise) and expenses. 

Volunteer Work

If you are participating in a voluntary service program which benefits a U.S. local community, and you can establish that you are a member of, and have a commitment to, a particular recognised religious or nonprofit charitable organisation, you may be eligible for a B-1 visa.

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