Jewish Journal

The B visa (Part 1)

by Cedric M. Shen

February 22, 2011 | 1:44 pm

OK, since this blog is called the “ABC’s of Coming to the USA,” I figure the best place to kick it all off is with the “A.”  Unfortunately, that would be a very short post, since the A visa is reserved for diplomats and heads of state. This probably constitutes a small minority of JJ readers. So let’s talk about the B-1 visa.

Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain an appropriate visa. The most common visa for visitors is the B visa. This applies to people entering the United States temporarily for business (B-1), or for pleasure or medical treatment (B-2).  Today we’ll talk about the B-1 visa.

B-1:  What does “business” mean? In lay terms, it basically means coming to the U.S. to engage in business.  Examples including traveling to the U.S. to consult with business associates; to attend a scientific, educational, professional or business convention; to settle an estate; or to negotiate a contract.  The best way to think about it is that you can come to the U.S. to conduct business, but you should not be employed by a U.S. employer, or take a wage/salary while you are down here.  If you do, then a B-1 may not apply, and you should consider something else like an L, O, TN, or H visa.  Professional athletes coming to the U.S. to compete for prize money can enter on a B-1 visa.  While you are receiving compensation, it is not really a salary or employment that would require another type of visa.  You may be required to pay U.S. taxes on any prize money you win.

I will discuss the B-2 visa in the next post.  In the meantime, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Tracker Pixel for Entry


View our privacy policy and terms of service.




Cedric M. Shen is a Los Angeles-based immigration attorney experienced in helping foreign nationals enter the United States. His law practice focuses on employment-based green...

Read more.