February 22, 2011
The B visa (Part 1)
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.