US B-1 in Lieu of H-1B Visa

US B-1 in Lieu of H-1B Visa

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.


  • 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.

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