There are many high tech companies that need to get short term work done in the U.S. that would be generally considered work, and normally, an H-1B visa would be appropriate for that. However, due to the short duration and the frequency of such work, under some limited circumstances, you may get an employment-authorized B1 visa to do H-1B type work.
This is useful in the case of:
- A U.S. company would like to bring in an employee of an overseas subsidiary, affiliate, or parent company for a short duration.
- A foreign company needs to send an employee to the U.S. for a limited period to conduct a specific project for the U.S. company.
As long as all of the following criteria are met, you can get a B-1 visa to do H-1B work in the U.S.:
- You must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
- You plan to perform H-1B caliber work or training. In other words, your work must be in a “specialty occupation”.
- You can complete the task in a short duration.
- You will not receive any salary or compensation from a U.S. source. You can still get the reimbursement of incidental travel expenses, such as housing and per diem.
- You are a permanent employee (not a contractor) of the foreign employer, and you will be paid only by your foreign employer.
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- At the time of visa interview, carry a letter from your foreign employer and the U.S. company that will specify the work to be performed, the duration of the stay, and the remuneration plans.
- You may expect more scrutiny than a normal business visa application.
- You should carry the same letter at the port of entry, and be prepared to explain your travel purpose and your source of pay.
- All other normal requirements of getting a B-1 visa apply in this case, as well, such as eligibility, strong ties to the home country, etc.
- If you receive a multiple entry B-1 visa in such a case, you can use it later even for regular B-1 visa-related activities. If you receive a multiple entry B-1/B-2 visa, you can use it later even for tourism purposes, as long as there are no special annotations on the visa stamp.
However, if you have not received “B-1 in lieu of H-1B” by explicitly specifying, be careful not to do any work which may be considered employment. It is illegal to work on a B-1 visa. If you are caught, your visa will be cancelled, and you will be deported. Additionally, you will face major difficulties in getting another visa in the future.