It can be very confusing when it comes to applying for the right visa to enter the US depending on how long you need to stay, if you’re eligible for one visa or another and the activities you wish to undertake whilst in the US. Read on to find out more about who needs the B1 Visa, what is it’s purpose and how to apply!
The B1 Visa is a Business visitor visa for entry into the USA for a determined period of 6 months to a maximum of one year, depending on the requirements of each applicant.
The B1 Visa allows foreign citizens to undertake certain business activities in the USA such as taking part in meetings, conventions or congresses, conducting research, negotiating, discussing and making investments, purchases or sales, hiring staff, taking exams and participating in non-professional sports events.
Applicants for the B1 Visa are foreign citizens looking to travel to America for commercial or professional activities including training and attending seminars etc. thus it could be very useful to you or your company.
Not sure if you need the B1 visa for your trip to the States? With so many different options for US tourist visas, we’ve clarified the differences between three of the most popular visas for the USA.
After understanding the intricacies of the B1 Visa, you may ask yourself now what is ESTA? But not to worry, it’s not complicated! ESTA is available for members of 39 eligible countries as a travel authorization visa waiver for the US. Foreign citizens of these 39 countries, including Australia, the UK, the Netherlands and New Zealand, can apply for the visa waiver to travel to the US for a total of 90 days by applying through a simple online application process which requires personal information, details of the travel document and finally answering some security questions.
Applicants, from these eligible countries, who wish to take part in business activities such as those described in the B1 visa, can do so with the ESTA visa without the need to apply via the US embassy, speeding up and simplifying the process immensely.
In addition to the B1 visa, there is also a tourist-only visa: the B2 Visa which allows foreign nationals to travel to the US under a nonimmigrant temporary visa, for tourism and personal activities, permitting travelers to visit friends and relatives, attend ceremonies, weddings, take recreational courses or sightsee. The B2 Visa is not applicable for those who wish to travel for business purposes.
You may ask who needs B2 Visa if the ESTA is used for the same thing, but in actual fact, the B2 visa is available for all foreign nationals who are not eligible to apply for the ESTA. However there are some differences because the B2 Visa is a single-entry visa whilst the ESTA allows holders to enter the US multiple times during its validity.
The application process for the B2 visa is very similar to the B1 visa application process and will require a face-to-face interview as well as payment of the visa fee after an online visa application form and finally supporting documents to provide evidence for the reasons you wish to visit the US.
Applying for a B1 Visa takes time, so we strongly recommend getting started straight away if you have a business trip to the US planned! It is necessary to begin the application process at least 60 days prior to traveling, or 90 in case of scientific purposes. As the B1 Visa application process requires a face-to-face interview at the US Consulate or Embassy in the applicant’s country of residence and waiting times can vary depending on a number of factors, it is always advisable to begin the process as soon as possible.
The steps for processing your B1 Visa are as follows:
It is important to consider that it may be necessary and also helpful for the B1 visa applicant to take along additional supporting documentation to the interview in order to provide evidence for his/her trip, the purpose for wanting to visit the US and support with regards the return journey.
Once you have completed the B1 visa application process including the interview, a consular officer will be in contact to let you know the result and when you can collect your visa in order to start planning your next visit to the USA.