Business, Temporary Employment – B1 Visa

Welcome

Nonimmigrant visas are for international travelers temporarily visiting the United States. The visa allows you to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (airport, for example) and request permission of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Customs and Border Protection immigration officer to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry.

International travelers visit the United States for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, studies, business, medical treatment, and certain types of temporary work.

Advance planning can smooth the visa application process for you. Apply for your visa well in advance of your travel! Do not make non-refundable travel purchases until you have your visa in hand!

Business – B1 Visa

Acceptable B-1 Activities

An individual traveling to the United States to take part in an exhibition, set up an exhibition booth, display samples, sign contracts, and take orders for merchandise produced in and delivered from Brazil, may be eligible for a B-1 visa or visa free travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The holder of a B-1 visa or a VWP traveler may not actually sell or take orders for merchandise produced in the United States. If the proposed activities are not as described, a temporary work (H) visa will be required.

Individuals participating in a voluntary service program which benefits a U.S. local community; or who establish that they are a member of, and have a commitment to, a particular recognized religious or non-profit charitable organization, may be eligible for a B-1 visa or visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if the work to be performed is traditionally done by volunteer charity workers; they will receive no salary or remuneration from a U.S. source, other than an allowance or other reimbursement for expenses incidental to their stay in the United State; and they will not engage in the selling of articles and/or the solicitation and acceptance of donations.

A voluntary service program is an organized project conducted by a recognized religious or nonprofit charitable organization to provide assistance to the poor or the needy, or to further a religious or charitable cause.

If your proposed activities as a voluntary worker are not exactly as described, you will require either an exchange visitor (J-1) or temporary work (H) visa.

Please Note: When applying for entry into the United States as a voluntary worker with a visa or under the VWP, you should furnish a letter from your U.S. sponsor which contains the following information:

  • Your name and date and place of birth;
  • Your foreign permanent residence address;
  • The name and address of initial destination in the U.S.; and
  • The anticipated duration of your assignment.

If the engineer(s) will install, service or repair commercial or industrial equipment or machinery sold by a company in Brazil to a buyer in the United States, and the purchase contract requires that the Brazilian company provide such services, then the B-1 visa or visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is appropriate. However, in such cases, the engineer(s) must possess the specialized knowledge essential to perform the services, receive no remuneration from a U.S. source, and the company must not receive any payment for these services in addition to that specified in the original contract of sale. If the proposed activities are not exactly as described, temporary work (H-2) visas will be required. Please note that the B-1 visa or travel under the VWP does not cover building or construction work, even if the purchase contract requires that the company provide such services. In such cases, the employees must always qualify for H-2 visas.

The B-1 visa or travel under the VWP is also appropriate for engineers traveling to the United States to train U.S. personnel in the installation, service or repair of commercial or industrial equipment or machinery as specified above. The individuals concerned must continue to be paid by the Brazilian company and the contract of sale must specifically require the seller to provide such services.

If you are traveling to the United States in connection with a speaking engagement, you may travel on a B-1 visa or visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source, other than expenses incidental to the visit. Speakers/lectures who will receive an honorarium in addition to incidental expenses may still be eligible for the B-1 visa or travel under the VWP provided all of the following are met:

  • The activities will last no longer than nine days at a single institution;
  • The institution is a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization, or an institution of higher education, or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity;
  • Such activities are conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity; and
  • The speaker/lecturer has not accepted such payment or expenses from five such institutions during the previous six-month period.

If the proposed activities are not exactly as described, an exchange visitor (J-1) or temporary work (H-1) visa will be required.

Participants in scientific, educational, professional, or business conventions, conferences or seminars may travel to the United States on B-1 visas or visa-free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) The B-1 visa or travel under the VWP is also appropriate if presenting a paper at the conference, provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source other than expenses incidental to the stay. Those who will receive an honorarium in addition to incidental expenses will only be eligible for the B-1 visa or travel under the VWP if all of the following are met:

  • The activities will last no longer than nine days at a single institution;
  • The institution is a nonprofit research organization or a governmental research organization, or an institution of higher education, or a related or affiliated nonprofit entity;
  • Such activities are conducted for the benefit of the institution or entity; and
  • The delegate has not accepted such payment or expenses from five such institutions during the previous six-month period.

If the proposed activities are not exactly as described, an exchange visitor (J-1) or temporary work (H-1) visa will be required.

Note: The applications of those seeking visas to attend a technical conference may be subject to additional administrative processing. We are unable to provide you with any guidance on how long it may take. Therefore, do not make any final travel plans until you have received your passport with a visa in it.

An individual who will engage in independent research may be eligible for a B-1 visa or visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) provided there is no remuneration from a U.S. source and the results of the research will not benefit the American institution. If you will receive payment from a U.S. source and/or the U.S. institution will benefit from the results of the research, you will require an exchange visitor (J-1) or temporary work (H) visa.

The B-1 visa or visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is the appropriate visa classification to travel to the United States to survey potential sites for a business and/or to lease premises. However, the holder of a B-1 visa may not remain in the United States to manage the business. An L-1 (intra-company transferee) visa is required. This would enable the holder to travel to the United States for a temporary period to open up and operate a branch, subsidiary or affiliate office of the business there. To qualify, the new U.S. operation is required to file a petition on the employee’s behalf with the nearest office of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States.

A medical student studying at a foreign medical school and who seeks to enter the United States temporarily in order to take an “elective clerkship” at a U.S. medical school’s hospital without remuneration from the hospital may be eligible for a B-1 visa or visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Note: The medical clerkship is only for medical students pursuing their normal third or fourth year internship in a U.S. medical school as part of a foreign medical school degree and does not cover those seeking training as physiotherapists, dentists, nurses or vets. (An “elective clerkship” affords practical experience and instructions in the various disciplines of medicine under the supervision and direction of faculty physicians at a U.S. medical school’s hospital as an approved part of the alien’s foreign medical school education. It does not apply to graduate medical training, which normally requires an exchange visitor (J-1) visa).

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following to join an employer in the United States are eligible for B-1 visas. This category of persons includes, but is not limited to, cooks, butlers, chauffeurs, housemaids, nannies, gardeners, and paid companions. Please refer to the appropriate section for further information.

Accompanying a Nonimmigrant Visa Holder

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following to join an employer who seeks admission to, or who is already in, the United States in B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or R nonimmigrant status may be eligible for the B-1 visa classification provided:

  • The employee has been employed outside the United States by the employer for at least one year prior to the date of the employer’s admission to the United States, or if the employer-employee relationship existed immediately prior to the time of application, the employer can demonstrate that he has regularly employed (either year-round or seasonally) domestic help over a period of years preceding the time of application;
  • The employee has at least one year’s experience as a personal or domestic servant as attested to by statements from previous employers;
  • The employee has a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning;
  • The employer and the employee have signed an employment contract (english/portuguese), which contains statements that the employee is guaranteed the minimum or prevailing wage, whichever is greater (further information is available in the employment contract- link above), free room and board, and the employer will be the only provider of employment to the employee.

Accompanying an American Citizen

Personal or domestic servants who are accompanying or following to join their United States citizen employer in the United States may be eligible for the B-1 visa classification if their employer ordinarily resides outside the United States and is traveling to the United States temporarily, or the employer is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more and who, as a condition of employment, is going to reside in the United States for a stay not to exceed four years.

Note: It is not possible to qualify for a B-1 visa if the United States citizen will reside permanently in the United States, even if the individual concerned has previously been in the United States citizen’s employ abroad. In addition,

  • the employer-employee relationship must have existed for at least six months prior to the employer’s admission to the United States or, alternatively, that the employer has regularly employed a domestic servant in the same capacity while abroad;
  • the employee has had at least one year experiences as a personal or domestic servant by producing statements from previous employers attesting to such experience;
  • the employer will be the only provider of employment, and will provide the employee free room and board and round trip airfare as indicated under the terms of the employment contract.

At the time of applying for the visa, the employee is required to furnish an employment contract (English) (Portuguese) that has been signed and dated by the employer and employee and contains a guarantee from the employer, that in addition to the provisions in item (3), the employee will receive the minimum or prevailing wages, whichever is greater for an eight-hour work day (further information is available from the Department of Labor’s website). The employment contract must also reflect any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment. The employer will give at least two-weeks notice of his or her intent to terminate the employment, and the employee need not give more than two-weeks notice of intent to leave the employment.