While Canadian citizens are visa-exempt and generally do not require visas to enter the United States, for a visit, tourism, or temporary business purposes, Canadian business visitors and other foreign nationals under the B-1 Visitor Visa classification are granted a stay in the US for up to six (6) months at the time of entry, as long as they comply with the limits of stay as a business visitor.
What is a “business visitor?”
You may be eligible for a B-1 Temporary Business Visitor Visa if you will be participating in business activities of a commercial or professional nature in the United States, including, but not limited to:
- Consulting with business associates
- Traveling for a scientific, educational, professional or business convention, or a conference on specific dates
- Settling an estate
- Negotiating a contract
- Participating in short-term training
- Transiting through the United States (certain persons may transit the United States with a B-1 Visa)
- Deadheading (certain air crewmen may enter the United States as deadhead crew with a B-1 Visa)
The following basic criteria must be met to enter the US as a business visitor:
- Limited duration of time to stay in the United States
- Intent to depart the United States
- Maintenance of a foreign residence
- Adequate financial arrangements
- Participating in legitimate business activities
- The activity must preclude productive employment in the United States (activity for a US-based company or its affiliate can be considered employment)
What activities are considered “legitimate business” as a business visitor?
The following basic criteria define “legitimate business activities” for a B-1 Visitor Visa holder:
- The US entity does not accrue any benefit from the proposed activity.
- The nonimmigrant’s salary is received abroad from a company with no US affiliates.
- The nonimmigrant is coming to the United States to solicit sales, negotiate contracts, or take orders from established customers for work that will be performed outside the United States.
- The nonimmigrant is a purchasing agent for a foreign employer coming to the United States to procure goods, components, or raw materials for use outside the United States.
- The nonimmigrant is an employee of a foreign company coming to the United States with regard to service or sales contracts already undertaken by their company.
- The nonimmigrant is coming to supervise or train others in construction work.
- The nonimmigrant is an employee of a foreign-based company or office of a US company coming to the United States to engage in consultations with US business associates.
- The nonimmigrant is coming to the United States in conjunction with litigation.
- The nonimmigrant is coming to attend a professional or business conference, convention, or executive seminar.
- The nonimmigrant is an employee or independent businessperson coming to the United States to undertake independent research such as market or product research, not directly connected with sales or service contracts or the solicitation of business.
- The nonimmigrant is a professional coming to arrange employment in this country (Interview for a job).
- A foreign investor coming to the United States to take steps to set up their investment.
- Coming to open or be employed in a US office, subsidiary, or affiliate of the foreign employer in order to qualify for an L-1 Visa.
What activities are NOT considered “legitimate business” as a business visitor?
Here are some activities that fall outside the lines of “legitimate business” for a B-1 Visitor Visa holder:
- A nonimmigrant professional that would qualify for an H-1B visa but is employed abroad.
- A nonimmigrant member of a religious or charitable organization (normally an R-1 Visa).
- A nonimmigrant coming to the United States to undertake an established training program that would qualify him/her for an H-3 visa.
- A business executive, a member of a board of directors of a US company, or the employee of a company with a US affiliate.
- A personal or domestic servant coming to the United States with a US citizen or nonimmigrant employer
What else should I know about B-1 Visas?
Here are some other important things to know if you are considering applying for a B-1 Visa.
- Your spouse and children are not eligible for a dependent visa. Each of your dependents who will be accompanying or following to join you must apply separately for a B-2 visa and must follow the regulations for that visa.
- An individual on a B-1 Visa or B-2 Visa is not permitted to accept employment or work in the United States.
- There is no guarantee you will be issued a B-1 or B-2 visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
- A valid US visa in an expired passport is still valid. Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.
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