Is the B-1/B-2 the right visa to enter the U.S. to participate in a business meeting? Attend a conference or convention? Negotiate a contract?
Yes on the B-1, but no on a B-2 only.
If you have a combination B-1/B-2 visa, you should inform the U.S customs officer of the main purpose of your visit. Get admitted in the right classification. The B-1 is more flexible than the B-2 classification. You may engage in business activities and tourism with a B-1. But the B-2 is for tourism and social visits only, with very limited exceptions in special circumstances.
The B-1 visa or combined B-1/B-2 visa is for nonimmigrants who seek to enter the U.S. temporarily for business reasons and tourism. To get the visa or gain entry to the U.S. on this visa, you need to show you will participate in only permitted activities.
Episode 10 of The Legal Immigrant podcast summarizes:
(A) What you can do in the U.S. as a B-1 visitor –
1) Business activities of a commercial nature. Examples:
- engage in commercial translations
- negotiate a contract
- participate in business meetings
- litigate, including to participate in a lawsuit, take a claim to court, or settle an estate
- attend a conference
- do independent research
2) Professional activities that do not lead to compensation or employment in the United States. Examples:
- ministers of religion and missionaries doing missionary work
- volunteers participating in a recognized voluntary service program
- professional athletes competing in a tournament or sporting event of international dimension
- investors seeking investments in U.S.
3) Limited activities that do not amount to substantive performance of work. Examples:
- commercial or industrial workers needed to install, service or repair equipment as required by contract of sale
- certain foreign airline employees in an executive, supervisory or highly technical role who travel to the U.S. to join an aircraft for onward international flight
- third/fourth-year medical students pursuing medical clerkship at U.S. medical school’s hospital (without remuneration) as part of a foreign medical school degree
(B) U.S. immigration problems that might arise if you do remote work (including work for a foreign employer) while you are in the U.S. as a visitor
- the connection between U.S. tax law and U.S. immigration law
- the risk of being found to have violated status if you perform activities that are not entirely consistent with the terms and conditions of the visa
(C) The eligibility requirements for the visitor visa
- maintain a residence abroad that you do not intend to abandon
- intend to stay in the U.S. for a specific, limited period
- seek entry solely to engage in legitimate activities permitted on the visa
- have no U.S. immigration violations or criminal offenses that make you inadmissible or otherwise qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility
While the B-1 visa and status allow a wider range of visitor activities in the U.S. — compared to the B-2 visa — it has its limits.
A visitor visa holder is not guaranteed admission to the U.S. for temporary stays. At the U.S. port of entry, the U.S. Customs & Border Protection may issue an expedited removal order if it determines the person intends to engage in activities outside the purpose of the visitor visa, or has previously violated status during earlier visits.
The expedited removal order itself creates a 5-year bar to re-entry under INA 212(a)(9)(A). If the CBP also charges the person with fraud or willful misrepresentation of material fact to obtain a visa or other U.S. immigration benefit, this leads to a permanent bar under INA 212(a)(6)(C)(i).
To request a consultation on visitor visa problems, you may submit an inquiry by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by online message at www.dyanwilliamslaw.com.
For more information, see:
- B-1 Visitor Visa: Traveling to the U.S. for Business
- B-1 Visitor Visa: Traveling to the U.S. for Work as a Personal or Domestic Employee
- B-2 Visitor Visa: Traveling to the U.S. for Tourism or a Temporary Visit
- Birth Tourism, Frequent/Extended Trips, Immigration Status Change: 3 Things that Often Prevent Entry to the U.S. (even though they are not strictly prohibited)
- Common Reasons for Visa Refusal or Visa Denial
- Expedited Removal: When Does it Apply and What are the Consequences?
- Expedited Removal: How Does the Process Work at the U.S. Port of Entry and What are the Main Concerns?
- Expedited Removal: How Do You Avoid, Challenge or Overcome It?
Dyan Williams, Esq.
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The Legal Immigrant podcast and this article provide general information only. It is based on law, regulations and policy that are subject to change. Do not consider it as legal advice for your situation. The sharing or receipt of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship.