Being the hub for global trade & commerce the United States of America attracts a host of business travellers every year. India, the world’s 5th largest economy, shares a huge chunk when it comes to business travellers to the USA. Recently during his visit to the US, Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi has interacted with several Silicon Valley CEOs and has urged for strengthening of the Indo-US strategic partnership.
So, it is worth knowing what are the diplomatic requirements to make a business visit to the United States. The most essential requirement for business travel to the US is the B-1 visa for the USA.
This article will explain what a B-1 visa is for the USA and the procedure to apply for the same.
What is a B-1 visa?
B-1 visa is a type of US non-immigrant visa, which is alloted to those visiting to the United States for a business purpose.
Before understanding what a B-1 visa is, you must know the different types of non-immigration visa.
Who is Eligible for a B-1 Visa?
Now that the meaning and purpose of the B-1 visa is clearly understood, you must know the requisite criteria to get eligible for a B-1 visa:
- Your visit to the United States must be of a temporary nature, or for a limited period only.
- Justify that the purpose of your visit to the US is a ‘legitimate business trip’.
- You must have adequate financial standing to support the cost of your trip and stay in the United States.
- Your place of permanent residence must be outside the United States, preferable in your home country, which you are not planning to leave anyway. Besides, you must have a concrete association to your home country such as your employment. This ensures that your return is fixed once the purpose of the visit is fulfilled.
- If only you are legally allowed to enter the United States of America.
Which Business Activities are Allowed with a B-1 Visa in the USA?
A B-1 Visa authorises the business visitor to do the following business activities in the USA:
- Organise business meetings and conferences.
- Execute some key business decisions as a board member of a U.S. based corporation, such as purchase of supplies or raw material.
- Participate in the process of recruitment of personnel in a US corporation.
- Perform autonomous research by surveying potential markets with a business motive.
- Creation of an artwork, unless the creative artist is not under any contract with a U.S. based employer. Such a visitor bearing the B-1 visa is not allowed to sell his/her artwork in the U.S.
- Represent a foreign exhibitor at an international trade fair, unless the visitor's employment is not inside the United States.
Which Activities are Prohibited with a B-1 Visa in the USA?
A B-1 Visa prohibits the business visitor to do the following type of activities in the USA:
- Involve in any paid or unpaid job in the U.S. There are some exceptional jobs that are temporary in nature and are allowed with a B-1 visa in the USA, such as undertaking research, litigating a legal suit, participating in seminars and workshops or picking orders from the U.S. as a merchant.
- Pursue any degree education that requires a study visa.
- Perform at a concert as a paid artist.
- Land in the U.S. as a crew member of a ship or a flight.
- Indulge in an information media platform as a journalist.
- Lead a U.S. based corporation as an executive.
- Set up a new branch, franchise, or an affiliate of any foreign employer.
- Performing emergency response services in the USA.
- Obtaining U.S. citizenship for your ward born in the USA.
How to Apply for a B-1 Visa USA from India?
The entities sponsoring the business trip for their employees have to file the application for the B-1 visa on their behalf. The application will be filed in Form DS-160, which will be processed and approved by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP).
Here are the steps to file the application in Form DS-160:
- Visit the official website of the US Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. From the menu navigate U.S. Visas > Tourism & Visit > Visitor Visa.
- The current window will describe the detailed procedure for non-immigrant visa application. Click on the link— DS-160 under the heading "Complete the Online Visa Application".
- You will now be directed to the US non-immigrant visa application window. Enter your country-name as “INDIA, NEW DELHI” in the text box. The page will be refreshed.
- Now, enter the captcha code and click on the “Start an Application” button. The system will direct you to the next window.
- In this next window, select the checkbox against the “I Agree” option under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act Notices clause. Next, you will have to enter the valid answer for a security question given below. Click the Continue button.
- The succeeding window will ask you for your personal details. Fill in the boxes as required. Click the Continue button.
- Next window will ask the details of your nationality. Fill in the boxes as required. Click the Continue button.
- In the next window, you have to enter your travel information. Here, you must specify your purpose of US visit as Business Pleasure Visitor (Visa Category- B).
- Under the type of visa, three options are available: B1/B2: Business & Tourism; B1: Business/Conference; B2: Tourism/Medical Treatment.
- Additionally, you have to specify the length of your stay in the US and expected date of arrival. Besides, you need to specify the address of your stay in the US and who will be sponsoring your US business tour. Now, Proceed to the travel companions' details.
- On the successive window, specify whether or not you will be accompanied with any travel companions. Then, proceed.
- In the new window, specify whether or not you have previously applied for the US visa or stayed in the US, and proceed.
- In the next window, enter your valid address and phone number and email address.
- Now, you have to specify your passport details such as passport number and date & place of issue of passport.
- Finally, in the concluding window, enter the US contact details and proceed to pay the application fee.
How Much is B-1 Visa Fees for the USA from India?
The application for filing the B-1 visa for the USA from India is US$ 185. This is the increased amount of fee that has come into effect from 17th June 2023.
However, if a sponsor is filing a petition-based application on the applicant’s behalf, s/he has to pay US$ 205 as the B-1 visa fee. There is absolutely no visa issuance fee for the Indian business visitors.
When will I get the B-1 Visa after Paying the Fee?
After you pay your B-1 visa fee, the next important step is the visa interview, which takes place at a US Embassy. Due to the Embassies’ workload, it is advised for you to schedule your interview well in advance. This will avoid huge delays in the interview process. Soon after scheduling your interview, you must prepare all your documents for the B-1 Visa.
What are Documents Required for the B-1 Visa?
Here is the complete checklist for the B-1 visa documents:
- The confirmation page of the filed Form DS-160 with the ARN.
- Your confirmation of interview
- Your valid passport. The validity of your passport must be at least 6 months beyond your planned US stay.
- A letter describing the purpose of your trip.
- Details of your social media accounts.
- Your passport size photo complies with the US Visa photo requirements.
- Bank statements substantiating your financial ability to stay in the US.
- Evidence of your relations in your home country e.g. family, employment, rent agreement or property deed, confirming your return.
- Authoritative Criminal records, clarifying that you do not have legal cases against you.
- Valid documents of your prior US visits (if any).
- Appointment letter from your employer along with payslips of the last 3 months.
How long will it take to Process my B-1 Visa Confirmation?
The B-1 Visa Confirmation process can take place from a few weeks to a few months depending on the workload of the US Embassy.
What is the validity of a B-1 Visa?
The validity of B-1 Visa for Indian business visitors is 10 years. Besides, a business visitor may enter multiple times in the US, and the maximum period of stay in the US on each entry is six months .
With that, it’s time to fly to the US for a plethora of business opportunities. But wait!
Is your trip secured from unforeseen circumstances?
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