Business Executive Program for USA Business Visa
The Business Executive Program (BEP) is designed to facilitate frequent and legitimate business travel to the United States and make it efficient. BEP exists because the U.S. government welcomes trade and commerce between the U.S. and India, and it wants to accommodate legitimate business travelers with a minimum of delay and inconvenience.

Advantages:
  • BEP allows the consular officer to make more informed decisions about adjudicating the case for U.S. visas.

  • Each applicant must go through a personal interview. However, an applicant carries a teal-colored folder that identifies to the consular officer that he/she is a well-established business's employee.

  • Expedited visa processing for employees on the day of the visa interview.

  • Access to a priority visa interview appointment calendar.

  • Member companies receive frequent updates on visa processing and annual conferences with visa processing officials.

  • Member companies have access to a dedicated help desk and email:
    New Delhi BEP
    Chennai BEP
    Mumbai BEP
    Kolkata BEP
    Hyderabad BEP

Dedicated employees within the U.S. Consulates manage the BEP for their respective Consular sections.

Major shipping and airline companies are registered with the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in India under the Shipping Executive Program (SEP).

Eligibility & Enrollment
The BEP program is available to major well-established companies within India that process a high volume of U.S. visa applicants. To participate in BEP, a company must be well established, have a significant workforce and have a demonstrated need for at least 25 visas a year at a given U.S. consulate. You don't qualify for BEP if you have 10 business visa applications in Chennai and 15 in New Delhi in a given year.

Such companies that are seeking B-1 (business) visas for their employees would normally send their employees either to a branch in the U.S. Apointment can be scheduled under BEP program only for professinal, permanent, full-time employees. Casual, tempoary, part-time or contract staff are ineligible. Also such companies can't use BEP system for their clients, bsuiness associates, customers, domestic servants, friends, or other relatives.

Participation in the BEP program is by invitation.

However, companies that have not been invited may request participation by contacting the appropriate U.S. Consulate in their region. Such companies would be subject to rigorous prescreening.

In order to enroll your company in BEP, you need to send an email to BEP requesting a BEP application package. During the application process, you will be required to prove that your company has obtained at least 25 business visas from the U.S. Consulate in the last one year. If you are not able to prove this level of travel, you are strongly advised to wait until your company is able to establish that level of travel and apply later if still interested.

As BEP is a national program, once a company becomes a member in BEP at one consulate, they can request membership in any other Consulate where they have a physical presence.

The BEP program is not meant for companies that are based solely in the U.S. Subsidiaries of member companies need to qualify and apply on their own.

There is no charge to be a member of the BEP. It is free.

Companies that have been approved to participate in the BEP will be provided the BEP user ID and password by the Consulate. These are required while scheduling an appointment with the consulate.

Login to the BEP/SEP Appointment System

If your company has previously been invited to join BEP and has not responded to the U.S. Consulate's invitation, and if you believe that your company may qualify because of its size, number of business transactions with the U.S., stability, and number of business visa applications in the last year, you can contact the consulate for further information.

Authorized Signatories
Each BEP participant company can designate a maximum of four signing authorities. The U.S. Consulate requires a hard copy of the list of the current authorized signatories, including names, designation, contact phone number, email address, and respective sample signatures.

Any change in the authorized signatories must be communicated to the Consulate immediately.

Strict Standards
All member companies that have enrolled in the BEP must adhere to strict standards to continue to remain the program, such as:
  • It must provide their applicants with specific documents bearing agreed-upon security features. This helps ensure the legitimacy of all applications.

  • It must ensure that all visa applications are limited to genuine employees of the company who are being sent for a temporary stay in the U.S. on company business.

  • Records of all employees who receive a visa through the BEP must be kept and provided to the respective U.S. Consulate's BEP team, upon request.

  • It must provide its letterhead and signatures of designated company representatives for comparison purposes.

  • It must allow site visits by the BEP team. Site visits are often critical in determining a company's eligibility and are useful to understand the nature of the company's business.

Getting a Visa
Even though it is helpful to be an employee of a company that participates in BEP, every applicant must qualify on his/her own for a U.S. visa. Being an employee of a BEP participant company does not guarantee a U.S. visa. Being an employee of a BEP participant company does not increase your chance of getting a U.S. visa.

Even if your company is not a member of the BEP program or has been rejected for membership in the program, it will not hurt your chances of getting a visa. Issuance of visas is based on many factors. You must be able to cogently explain the nature and purpose of your business trip to the U.S.

Business Visa Details
U.S. Visa Application

If you are applying for a business visa for company work, you must indicate that you want a BEP appointment in order to receive the benefits.

If you have a business emergency situation, send an email to BEP.

Generally, a person from your HR (Human Resources) Department or Travel Department will assist you by making the appointment for you, and by guiding you regarding what documents you will need to carry with you. In addition to the regular documents required for the U.S. visa application, you will also require a cover letter signed by two authorized signatories from your company detailing the reason for your travel and the expected length of stay in the U.S. The cover letter must indicate your name.

At the time of interview, you must be prepared to answer questions regarding basic information about the trip, duration of employment with the company, and your qualifications. The answers and documents you provide during the interview are very critical in considering the validity of your visa application.

If you are applying for a tourist visa for your own personal travel, you have to apply on your own and may not make a BEP appointment.

If you were working for a BEP company before and you receive a valid B1/B2 from that company, even if you are not working with that company any longer, you can travel to the U.S. as long as the visa has not expired. However, you may be stopped at the port of entry by the immigration officer. If so, you may have to give a detailed explanation regarding this.