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B1 Visa Rules

Individuals who enter the United States to conduct business require a B-1, or a “Visitor for Business” visa. These visas are usually issued along with a B-2, or a tourist visa. If an individual has an old but valid tourist visa, it could probably be used for a business trip. With a B-1 visa, business visitors are allowed to perform a variety of business related activities including conducting negotiations, soliciting sales or investments, making or discussing investments or purchases, attending meetings, hiring staff, and conducting research.

Listed below are a few questions answered by immigration lawyers on B-1 visas.

I lost my H-1B visa after I lost my job and am currently out of status. Can I apply for a B-1 visa while I look for new employment?

Unfortunately, since you are already out of status, you cannot apply for any visa now. You would need to leave the country immediately as the longer you reside here, the more unlawful presence you build up. If you stay in the country for 180 days out of status, you will be banned for three years to re-enter the U.S. Unfortunately, based on your facts right now, that you have overstayed at all will probably be used against you when you do apply for a non-immigrant visa in the future.

My B-1 visa and my I-94 arrival/departure card will expire in mid-May. How much time do I have before I am required to leave the country?

You would need to leave the country on the day your departure card expires. You could try and apply to extend your B-1 visa using USCIS I-539. But you need to file this before your visa expires. However, if your extension is denied, you could face the possibility of being denied a B-1 visa in the future.

Can a B-1 visa be converted into an H-1 B visa if the B-1 visa holder is already in the U.S. and holds a valid approval of the H-1B petition?

Yes. As long as the individual is staying in the U.S. legally, they should be able to change their status from B-1 to H-1B.

My brother’s B-1 visa was rejected thrice under section 214(b). One of the rejections was for re-applying on the same day as the first rejection. Since it is six years since he last applied, what are his chances if he applies all over again?

All the information regarding visa denials is stored in this database: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/denials/denials_1361.html

One of the crucial things your brother would have to prove is strong ties to his home country. He would stand a good chance of being accepted if he can show proof of things that would bring him back to his home country. This could be factors like a good job he has had for a while that pays him well, property that cannot be easily disposed of, evidence of family in the form of a spouse or children that he can’t abandon, and so on. Therefore, while each case is different, the more proof he has, the better his chances are of getting the visa.

In certain circumstances, individuals may be able to get an employment-authorized B-1 visa where the work to be undertaken would normally need an H-1B visa. The B-1 in place of the H-1 visa usually takes 1-2 weeks to get and more supporting documentation would be required than for a regular B-1 visa. However, the rules regarding duration of stay and the extension of the visa would remain the same as a standard B-1 visa which is usually issued for six months.
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