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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.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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...

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