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  • Permissible activity on B1 visa

    Hi,

    I'm a sole proprietor of an export business in India. I recently applied for a B1 visa to attend a trade fair in January 2015. I was issued a B1/B2 multiple entry visa for 10 years.

    I am now unable to go for the trade show as I have some other production work that needs my immediate attention. My wife will be going for the trade show in my place.

    My question is:

    Is it ok to personally visit (cold call) businesses in my field in the USA during March 2015. I intend to go for 3 weeks and meet about 30 shops (potential customers) during this time. I have a detailed list of where i'm going, but since I'm cold calling them, I do not have any prior appointments.
    I will not be making any sales which require handing over money, but I will be encouraging them to place orders
    Is this a permitted business activity on this visa?

    Any help/advice from senior members will be much appreciated!

    Many thanks!
    Last edited by zp123; 12-20-2014, 10:53 PM.

  • #2
    Ideal Sol, Bummerman, Mickey Mouse, Peace, where are you? Guys, please give some suggestions!
    Last edited by zp123; 12-20-2014, 10:54 PM.

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    • #3
      Generally you will not get good response for cold calls or direct marketing in USA. Mostly they won't entertain anybody without prior appointment. Marketing (not selling products phisically and or getting money) and making business agreements are a legal activities on B1.

      It is better to keep an invitation or an appointment from any of your client to show immigration officials, if necessary.

      If you want to do cold calls when you are in the USA, why don't you do it from India and fix few meetings with the clients? it is much better and simplify your job, after entering into US and easier to plan your trip.

      By the way, what is your product?

      This is my opinion, not a legal advice.
      Last edited by Ideal sol; 12-22-2014, 12:51 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Phone solicitations without invitations are getting a very bad reputation, especially if from callers with Indian accents. There has been a plethora of such solicitations from various spamming schemes reaching U.S. phones, commonly on the West Coast (California). One of the most frequent is for "PC repair," and the callers always sound "Indian," and claim to be associated with Microsoft, but will say they are calling from "Brooklyn."

        --Ray B





        Originally posted by Ideal sol View Post
        Generally you will not get good response for cold calls or direct marketing in USA. Mostly they won't entertain anybody without prior appointment. Marketing (not selling products phisically and or getting money) and making business agreements are a legal activities on B1.

        It is better to keep an invitation or an appointment from any of your client to show immigration officials, if necessary.

        When you want to do cold calls when you are in the USA, why don't you do it from India and fix few meetings with the clients? it is much better and simplify your job, after entering into US and easier to plan your trip.

        By the way, what is your product?

        This is my opinion, not a legal advice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ideal sol View Post
          Generally you will not get good response for cold calls or direct marketing in USA. Mostly they won't entertain anybody without prior appointment. Marketing (not selling products phisically and or getting money) and making business agreements are a legal activities on B1.

          It is better to keep an invitation or an appointment from any of your client to show immigration officials, if necessary.

          When you want to do cold calls when you are in the USA, why don't you do it from India and fix few meetings with the clients? it is much better and simplify your job, after entering into US and easier to plan your trip.

          By the way, what is your product?

          This is my opinion, not a legal advice.
          Thanks for your reply, Ideal Sol, Rayb , much appreciated!! Thanks for the clarification regarding marketing/business agreement being a legal activity under B1.
          I manufacture a hobby craft product and I intend to visit independent art and craft retailers to ask them to consider placing orders and stocking my product. We already supply a big US distributor and I thought that I could do some direct marketing on my own to augment sales. Phone calls are problematic, because of the Indian accent and so i thought that physically visiting art stores in California (for example) would be a good way to promote awareness of our product and collect orders.
          Is it ok from a POE point of view to have one appointment with our existing distributor (2 days duration)and a list of all shops I plan to visit (18 days duration), making it a total of about a 3 week visit?

          Thanks in advance for any suggestions/comments!

          Comment


          • #6
            Yes. You can carry one appointment letter with your existing client.

            But if you target individual shops, how can you manage logistics for smaller quantities?

            Now a days every one looking for cheaper price. So even if you get orders, can you compete with Chinese products which available for cheaper prices? If you say yes, then you may give a try.

            Otherwise you better participate in any trade fair related to your product. Because all the big buyers source material through trade fairs only.

            If you register with any export promotion counsel in India, like FIEO and MSME ( govt. Of India organizations)
            You may get more support like stall fee and travel charges reimbursement and many more.

            All the best.

            This is my opinion, not a legal advice.
            Last edited by Ideal sol; 12-22-2014, 01:21 PM.

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            • #7
              The B-1 non immigrant visa category is not meant for extended, its a long-term activity.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ideal sol View Post
                Yes. You can carry one appointment letter with your existing client.

                But if you target individual shops, how can you manage logistics for smaller quantities?

                Now a days every one looking for cheaper price. So even if you get orders, can you compete with Chinese products which available for cheaper prices? If you say yes, then you may give a try.

                Otherwise you better participate in any trade fair related to your product. Because all the big buyers source material through trade fairs only.

                If you register with any export promotion counsel in India, like FIEO and MSME ( govt. Of India organizations)
                You may get more support like stall fee and travel charges reimbursement and many more.

                All the best.

                This is my opinion, not a legal advice.
                Thanks, Ideal Sol, very helpful of you... am looking into FIEO and MSME!

                Georgegoode, may I ask what you mean?

                Thanks

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you are in the United Status in non-immigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status..
                  Visa Australia Immigration

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mark anderson1 View Post
                    If you are in the United Status in non-immigrant status, you may be eligible to change to B-1 status..
                    Thanks Mark Anderson1, however I'm not sure I understand. I currently have a B1/B2 visa and the primary reason for my visit to USA will be for business. So won't I already have B1 status?

                    Comment

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