Acceptable B-1 Visa Actvities

According to the Foreign Affairs Manual: 9 41.31 a B-1 Visa may be granted to someone who plans to:

  1. Engage in commercial transactions, which do not involve gainful employment in the United States (such as a merchant who takes orders for goods manufactured abroad);
  2. Negotiate contracts;
  3. Consult with business associates;
  4. Litigate;
  5. Participate in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences, or seminars; or
  6. Undertake independent research.

The following are some examples of the above that have been found to be acceptable B-1 activities:

  • Foreign employees coming to solicit sales, negotiate contracts, or take orders from established customers for work that will be performed outside the U.S.;
  • Purchasing agent to procure goods, components, or raw materials for use outside the U.S.;
  • Foreign employee coming with regard to service of sales contracts already undertaken by their company.  The principal activity on the service contract must be performed outside the U.S.;
  • Sales contract warranty – must be for purchase of a physical product and not for performance of services;
  • Coming to U.S. to engage in consultations with U.S. business associates;
  • Coming to U.S. in conjunction with litigation;
  • Attendance at professional business conferences or conventions, or executive seminars;
  • Undertake independent research, such as market or product research, not directly connected with sales or service contracts or the solicitation of business;
  • Seeking employment;
  • Foreign investors taking steps to set up their investment;
  • Coming to open or be employed in a U.S. office, subsidiary, or affiliate of the aliens’ for employers, provided the alien will qualify for L-1 status once suitable physical premises have been obtained for the office;
  • Persons rendering professional services that would qualify them for an H-1B visa, but who are being paid for those services by a source outside the U.S.;
  • Limited to where the alien’s U.S. activities can be shown to accrue to the benefit of the employer abroad and his or her presence in the U.S. furthers the international trade or commerce of the employer;
  • Undertake an established training program that would qualify them for an H-3 visa;
  • Foreign airline employees who are engaged in productive employment in the U.S. and who are paid here, but who are not eligible for E-1 treaty-trader visas because either the airline is not from a treaty country or the airline is from a treaty country, but the employee is a national of a different country;
  • Business execs and other foreign nat’ls who are members of board of directors of U.S. corporations, who are coming to the U.S. to attend board meetings or to engage in other functions arising from board membership, and who are paid an annual fee by the U.S. company;
  • Individuals who will engage in academic activity in the U.S. and who will receive honorarial payments;
  • Personal or domestic servants coming to the U.S. with a U.S. citizen or nonimmigrant employer;
  • Preliminary business activities include: filing paperwork to incorporate the business and registering the business with the I.R.S., coordinating banking, obtaining an office lease, negotiating contracts, consulting with business associates, finalizing vendor agreements, researching, networking, and attending conferences and seminars.

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