B1/B2 Visa for Business or Tourism
The B visa is the one most business people will ever need because it allows the international executive to travel to the United States for to conduct a number of business purposes. These may lawfully include any of the following examples of proper business activities during a temporary business visit to the U.S.:
- Negotiating and executing contracts;
- Interviewing prospective vendors and suppliers;
- Conducting research toward a future business plan, such as determining in which city the business will launch its enterprise;
- Meeting with U.S. business associates or partners.
It is important, however, that the business traveler never cross the line between coming to the U.S. for a temporary business purpose and even appearing that she or he will remotely be residing in the country. Any of the following may cause a Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer to revoke a traveler’s B1/B2 visa upon entry if suspicions arise that the visa holder is not strictly within the auspices of a temporary visit for business or pleasure—regardless of whether or not one has stayed beyond the typical six month term granted by the CBP officer upon entry (the term of authorized stay is indicated on form I-94):
- Working in the U.S. on a job that the company typically would have hired a U.S. worker to perform the job, even if one is paid only in the foreign country;
- Purchasing a home and enrolling children in school;
- Routine use of a U.S. bank account;
- Not maintaining sufficient ties and presence in one’s home country.
In most cases, you will approach the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country and file the DS-160 form online. Do not have your travel agent or foreign attorney complete this document for you—either you personally or an experienced U.S. licensed immigration attorney only should handle this application. If you have violated the terms of your B1/B2 visa and have lost the privilege to travel to the U.S. there may be a solution for you, such as filing for an I-192 waiver of electing to pursue a different visa path. The I-192 waiver balances the benefit to the U.S. vs. the loss of a deterrent effect of the past wrong being forgiven. When meeting with clients on this issue, we sometimes refer to the analogy that you don’t want to “set an elephant on top of a glass table” meaning that if you have a serious blemish on your record and want to again seek a B1/B2 visa, you may be asking for too big of a favor for a visa that provides a negligible benefit to the U.S. If instead you are filing for an E-2 visa and investing a several hundreds of thousands of dollars in a U.S. market and hiring U.S. workers, the consular officer may be more likely to recommend approval of your waiver.